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as in motif
a unit of decoration that is repeated all over something (as a fabric) a coverlet with a nosegay of tiny pink roses as the pattern

Synonyms & Similar Words

as in design
the way in which the elements of something (as a work of art) are arranged many of the artist's paintings use the same pattern of a lone figure surrounded by a vast landscape

Synonyms & Similar Words

Synonym Chooser

How does the noun pattern differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of pattern are example, exemplar, ideal, and model. While all these words mean "someone or something set before one for guidance or imitation," pattern suggests a clear and detailed archetype or prototype.

American industry set a pattern for others to follow

When is it sensible to use example instead of pattern?

In some situations, the words example and pattern are roughly equivalent. However, example applies to a person to be imitated or in some contexts on no account to be imitated but to be regarded as a warning.

children tend to follow the example of their parents

Where would exemplar be a reasonable alternative to pattern?

Although the words exemplar and pattern have much in common, exemplar suggests either a faultless example to be emulated or a perfect typification.

cited Joan of Arc as the exemplar of courage

In what contexts can ideal take the place of pattern?

The meanings of ideal and pattern largely overlap; however, ideal implies the best possible exemplification either in reality or in conception.

never found a job that matched his ideal

When might model be a better fit than pattern?

The words model and pattern are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, model applies to something taken or proposed as worthy of imitation.

a decor that is a model of good taste

Thesaurus Entries Near pattern

Cite this Entry

“Pattern.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on pattern

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