pattern

1 of 2

noun

pat·​tern ˈpa-tərn How to pronounce pattern (audio)
1
: a form or model proposed for imitation : exemplar
2
: something designed or used as a model for making things
a dressmaker's pattern
3
: an artistic, musical, literary, or mechanical design or form
the geometrical pattern of the carpet
the strict pattern of rhythm and rhyme for a sonnet Gigi Marino
4
: a natural or chance configuration
frost patterns
the pattern of events
5
dated : a length of fabric sufficient for an article (as of clothing)
6
a
: the distribution of shrapnel, bombs on a target, or shot from a shotgun
b
: the grouping made on a target by bullets
7
: a reliable sample of traits, acts, tendencies, or other observable characteristics of a person, group, or institution
a behavior pattern
spending patterns
the prevailing pattern of speech
8
a
: the flight path prescribed for an airplane that is coming in for a landing
b
: a prescribed route to be followed by a pass receiver in football
9
10
: a discernible coherent system based on the intended interrelationship of component parts
foreign policy patterns
11
: frequent or widespread incidence
a pattern of dissent
a pattern of violence
patterned adjective
patternless adjective

pattern

2 of 2

verb

patterned; patterning; patterns

transitive verb

1
dialectal, chiefly England
a
: match
b
2
: to make, adapt, or fashion according to a pattern
3
: to furnish, adorn, or mark with a design

intransitive verb

: to form a pattern
Choose the Right Synonym for pattern

model, example, pattern, exemplar, ideal mean someone or something set before one for guidance or imitation.

model applies to something taken or proposed as worthy of imitation.

a decor that is a model of good taste

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

pattern suggests a clear and detailed archetype or prototype.

American industry set a pattern for others to follow

exemplar suggests either a faultless example to be emulated or a perfect typification.

cited Joan of Arc as the exemplar of courage

ideal implies the best possible exemplification either in reality or in conception.

never found a job that matched his ideal

Example Sentences

Noun The dishes have a floral pattern around the rim. The fabric comes in different colors and patterns. The rug is decorated with a geometric pattern. The shadows made a pattern of lines on the ground. They are studying behavior patterns among high-school students. Analysts are noticing different spending patterns by consumers. The trees followed a characteristic pattern of growth. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Our thinking is more complex than just pattern recognition, of course; dozens of cognitive functions animate our brain. Kevin Kelly, WIRED, 17 Nov. 2022 Cut star shapes from old sweater fabric using our free pattern. Sarah Martens, Better Homes & Gardens, 15 Nov. 2022 Despite its colorful pattern, the floral rug feels neutral enough to blend into kitchen dining areas, offices, and even living rooms. Jessie Quinn, Peoplemag, 8 Nov. 2022 Trace our pattern on heavy paper or lightweight cardboard, or use cookie cutters in any shape. Sunset Staff, Sunset Magazine, 27 Oct. 2022 Each version features its own distinctive gem setting pattern, incorporating anywhere from 51 to 251 diamonds depending on the model. Cait Bazemore, Robb Report, 21 Oct. 2022 The genre of dembow — a Dominican style of music identified by its playful, rapid drum pattern and carefree energy — began as a musical pariah, rejected by both mainstream and underground communities in its birthplace. Neena Rouhani, Billboard, 18 Oct. 2022 Technology and speed are the key to Getir's business model, to its success to date and to its rapid pattern of growth. Fiona Simpson, Forbes, 11 Oct. 2022 The father-son conflict between Pierce’s Willy and Davis’ Biff is at once universal in its pattern and freshly particular in its pathos. Charles Mcnulty, Los Angeles Times, 9 Oct. 2022
Verb
Next, the researchers had to figure out how to pattern a surface with thousands of their artificial cilia. Saugat Bolakhe, Scientific American, 11 July 2022 Defenders including Tony Allen, Shane Battier, Bruce Bowen, Michael Cooper and Derek Harper would become guys that young players might pattern themselves after. Greg Moore, The Arizona Republic, 4 Feb. 2022 Focus on the only number that VCs can pattern match off, which is revenue growth. Diana Tsai, Forbes, 20 Oct. 2021 The most effective way to kill a giant whitetail is to pattern him on trail camera and hunt him to the exclusion of all others. Will Brantley, Field & Stream, 5 Jan. 2021 Cox explained that this partnership unfolded as the state tried to pattern its handling of the pandemic after South Korea’s example. Taylor Stevens, The Salt Lake Tribune, 2 Sep. 2020 When scouting, remember that the goal is not to bump and push hogs out of an area, but simply to pattern their movements in order to formulate a hunting strategy. Mike Dickerson, Outdoor Life, 4 Aug. 2020 The community is now a destination for art lovers and people wanting to learn to make the exquisite, colorfully patterned quilts. Kelly Kazek | Kkazek@al.com, al, 1 June 2020 Maisonette has brightly printed and patterned cotton face masks in small, medium and large sizes. oregonlive, 15 May 2020 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun and Verb

Middle English patron, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin patronus

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

circa 1586, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of pattern was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near pattern

Cite this Entry

“Pattern.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pattern. Accessed 29 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

pattern 1 of 2

noun

pat·​tern ˈpat-ərn How to pronounce pattern (audio)
1
: something worth imitating or using as a guide
2
: a model or guide for making something
a dress pattern
3
: an artistic form, figure, or design
chintz with a small pattern
4
: a set of characteristics that are displayed repeatedly
behavior patterns
patterned
-ərnd
adjective

pattern

2 of 2

verb

: to make or design by following a pattern

Medical Definition

pattern

noun

pat·​tern ˈpat-ərn How to pronounce pattern (audio)
1
: a model for making a mold used to form a casting
2
: a reliable sample of traits, acts, tendencies, or other observable characteristics of a person, group, or institution
patterns of behavior
3
: an established mode of behavior or cluster of mental attitudes, beliefs, and values that are held in common by members of a group

Legal Definition

pattern

noun

pat·​tern ˈpa-tərn How to pronounce pattern (audio)
1
: a form or model proposed for imitation
2
: a recognizably consistent series of related acts
found a pattern of discrimination in that company
a pattern of racketeering activity

More from Merriam-Webster on pattern

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