\ 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

More patchy, drizzly rain is expected into the week Monday morning along with more clouds, but temperatures are expected to stay warm in the mid- to high- 70s., "Portland metro Sunday weather: Partly sunny with a high near 75," 7 July 2019 And selling electrics remains a struggle without major incentives as consumers balk at patchy charging infrastructure, high prices and limited driving range., "Slow transition to electric cars dooms BMW chief Harald Krueger," 6 July 2019 Though patchy throughout, Madame X has a claim as the most adventuresome, politically bold work in her catalogue. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "The Paradox of Madonna’s Gun-Control Music Video," 3 July 2019 Weaning farmers away from water-intensive crops is a clear challenge under the IWMP, which has also been plagued with patchy implementation, said the state official. Aarefa Johari, Quartz India, "An investigation into how India dismantled its main defence against drought," 1 July 2019 The bear was skeletal, with a patchy coat, and weak to the point of collapsing. Michele Moses, The New Yorker, "Why the Polar Bear Is the Undisputed Image of Climate Change," 23 June 2019 The water level topped off this week and patchy snow continues circling the lake. Tom Stienstra,, "Snow thaw means Sierra campgrounds finally opening for summer," 20 June 2019 The preflash cleanser felt a little tingly and made my skin look patchy and dry. Shalwah Evans, Essence, "I Tried The DERMAFLASH To See If It's Worth My Coins, Or Yours," 18 June 2019 The Dylan of Rolling Thunder Revue is a surly troubadour in eyeliner and patchy white face paint, which was possibly, or quite probably not, inspired by the stage makeup worn by Kiss. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Martin Scorsese’s Bob Dylan Film Rolling Thunder Revue Is One of the Most Truthful Movies You’ll See in 2019," 12 June 2019

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

14 Jul 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

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