\ 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 patchy (audio) \ adverb
patchiness \ ˈpa-​chē-​nəs How to pronounce patchy (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 The Weather Service says there have been several reports of patchy black ice on roads in Cuyahoga, Lake, Geauga, Medina, Portage and Summit counties. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, "Warning of black ice on roads issued for Northeast Ohio," 22 Apr. 2021 In Central America public services tend to be poor, patchy or absent altogether. The Economist, "No longer top of the class Costa Rica is struggling to maintain its welfare state," 17 Apr. 2021 Some states have only gathered patchy information on the severity of their breakthrough cases. Caroline Chen, ProPublica, "A Tiny Number of People Will Be Hospitalized Despite Being Vaccinated. We Have to Learn Why.," 14 Apr. 2021 Researchers can map an increase in some birds’ numbers to the patchy boundaries of a cicada emergence area, however. Jillian Mock, Scientific American, "Brood X Cicadas Could Cause a Bird Baby Boom," 9 Apr. 2021 The springhare — whose coat glows a patchy pinkish-orange under UV light — joins the platypus and other mammals with this perplexing trait. New York Times, "Meet the Newest Member of the Fluorescent Mammal Club," 18 Feb. 2021 In 2019, a report found oversight of the fracking industry’s wastewater disposal procedures and permits has been patchy and inconsistent in West Virginia, potentially endangering drinking water. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "The Fracking Shill Local Newspapers Love to Publish," 25 Mar. 2021 The defending champions are in the midst of a patchy start to the 2021 season, at least by their own standards. Sean Collins, Dallas News, "‘iLLeY’ saves Dallas Empire in 3-2 win over Seattle, looks to continue search and destroy improvement," 20 Mar. 2021 The appeal of NFTs to collectors is obvious: instead of relying on forensics or patchy document records to prove that a piece of art or a trading card is the real deal, the authentication is coded into the NFT file itself. Sam Dean, Los Angeles Times, "$69 million for digital art? The NFT craze, explained," 11 Mar. 2021

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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Statistics for patchy

Last Updated

9 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Patchy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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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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