hit a rough patch

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Senior Member
In one email from my friend economist I saw this idiom in the following sentence:

Being previously attractive for investors, both of those countries hit a rough patch in 2011.

Please, help me to understand why would you say hit a rough patch when something goes not very well. Is it because a patch means a piece of cloth or other material used to mend or strengthen a torn or weak point and when it is rough or badly mended you might scratch yourself or get another unpleasant feeling?

Thank you!
  • perpend

    American English
    Before googling it, I think of a "patch" like something in a field (as in nature). Maybe you have a pumpkin/watermelon patch, and some parts of it don't produce very many pumpkins/watermelons.

    I guess that's how I've always thought of it.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I also perceive the metaphor as pertaining to terrain. A piece of rough (stony, uneven) ground, maybe encountered while ploughing. My mind wouldn't go to a patch on a piece of cloth.
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