\ ˈpa-chē How to pronounce patchy (audio) \
patchier; patchiest

Definition of patchy

1 : marked by, consisting of, or diversified with patches
2 : irregular in appearance, makeup, or quality

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Other Words from patchy

patchily \ ˈpa-​chə-​lē How to pronounce patchily (audio) \ adverb
patchiness \ ˈpa-​chē-​nəs How to pronounce patchiness (audio) \ noun

Examples of patchy in a Sentence

The lawn is kind of patchy this year. Patchy fog made driving difficult. His knowledge of the language is patchy. She has only a patchy understanding of his condition.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Early morning clouds and patchy drizzle will give way to mostly sunny skies later in the afternoon on Thursday and warming temps to 70 degrees. Rosemarie Stein | The Oregonian/oregonlive,, "Portland metro Thursday weather: Morning clouds give way to afternoon sun; high of 70," 17 May 2018 And Germany has work to do, too, to improve patchy coverage. Elisabeth Behrmann,, "Teslas Are Finally Replacing Porsches on the Autobahn," 13 Feb. 2018 Getting a perfect application that doesn't come out gloopy, patchy, uneven, or take hours to dry can feel nearly impossible. Julianne Carell, Glamour, "This Genius Trick Makes Putting On Glitter Nail Polish So Much Easier," 12 Dec. 2018 Unfortunately the passing, individual episodes amount to more of a patchy sampler than a theatrical arc. Robert Greskovic, WSJ, "‘ABT Women’s Movement’ Review: Creative Empowerment," 23 Oct. 2018 The ghost lobster’s look is likely due to a genetic condition called leucism, which causes a partial loss of pigmentation in an animal, resulting in white, pale and patchy coloration. Alexandra Deabler, Fox News, "Maine fisherman catches rare 'ghost lobster'," 30 Aug. 2018 By the end of the day, my lips look faintly colored, rather than patchy, faded, or smudged. Ruby Buddemeyer, Marie Claire, "Burberry's Lip Velvet Crush Is the Perfect Lipstick for Lipstick Haters," 6 Aug. 2018 In areas under the Taliban control now, the group’s record is patchy. Saeed Shah, WSJ, "U.S. Faces Newly Muscular Taliban in Peace-Talk Efforts," 5 Nov. 2018 If patchy spots are the problem, a colored powder works best. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "The Ultimate Guide to Better Brows, from Microblading to Miracle Gel," 28 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'patchy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of patchy

1583, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near patchy

patch up


patchwork quilt



pat down


Statistics for patchy

Last Updated

10 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for patchy

The first known use of patchy was in 1583

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More Definitions for patchy



English Language Learners Definition of patchy

: having some parts that are good and some that are bad
: existing or seen in some areas but not others
: not thorough or complete enough to be useful

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More from Merriam-Webster on patchy

Spanish Central: Translation of patchy

Nglish: Translation of patchy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of patchy for Arabic Speakers

Comments on patchy

What made you want to look up patchy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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