\ 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 Testers loved the glovelike fit, Gore-Tex, and grippy lugs, which hold traction on patchy snow, mucky trails, and ice. Anna Callaghan, Outside Online, "10 Things to Keep You Moving Outside This Winter," 7 Feb. 2020 This is where GeForce Now's patchy games library comes into bright relief. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "RIP Stadia? Nvidia’s newly launched cloud-gaming service is (mostly) a stunner," 4 Feb. 2020 But in some parts of the health care system, supplies are already patchy. Maryn Mckenna, Wired, "Amid Coronavirus Fears, a Mask Shortage Could Spread Globally," 4 Feb. 2020 When a new infectious disease begins to spread, decisions on how to stop it are based on patchy data that change by the hour. The Economist, "Prepare for the worst How do you contain a global epidemic such as coronavirus?," 30 Jan. 2020 And while more clinical-stage antibiotics are supported by plans to ensure better access, most efforts remain patchy. Ed Silverman, STAT, "Pharma is making some effort to fight superbugs, but progress is ‘patchy’," 21 Jan. 2020 The patchy quality of the show itself only heightens the drag-like question you’re left with: What’s real and what’s fantasy? Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "AJ and the Queen Says Drag Will Make America Okay Again," 15 Jan. 2020 Every year, vast areas of the continent’s central grassland and savannahs burn during seasonal fires and those set by farmers to clear fields in a patchy band of fires (this past year was above average). Daniel Wolfe, Quartz, "Where nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 300-times stronger than CO2, is being emitted," 14 Jan. 2020 There are practical reasons for this sidelining: a patchy archive, a fading from public view in the 1920s, and a life cut short at the age of 48 by kidney damage from a childhood illness. Joanna Scutts, The New Republic, "How Crystal Eastman Fought for Equality," 13 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for patchy

Time Traveler

The first known use of patchy was in 1583

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Statistics for patchy

Last Updated

10 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Patchy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for patchy


How to pronounce patchy (audio)

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

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