from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Needlework consisting of varicolored patches of material sewn together, as in a quilt.
  • n. A collection of miscellaneous or incongruous parts; a jumble.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A work, such as a blanket, composed of many different colors and shapes, sewn together to make an interesting whole.
  • n. Any kind of creation that utilizes many different aspects to create one, whole piece.
  • v. To create a patchwork from pieces of fabric
  • v. To assemble from a variety of sources; to cobble together

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Work composed of pieces sewed together, esp. pieces of various colors and figures; hence, anything put together of incongruous or ill-adapted parts; something irregularly or clumsily composed; a thing patched up.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Work composed of pieces of various colors or figures sewed together, especially a combination of many small pieces of stuff, sewed together edge to edge, to form a curtain, bedspread, or the like.
  • n. Work composed of pieces clumsily put together; anything formed of ill-assorted parts.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a theory or argument made up of miscellaneous or incongruous ideas
  • n. sewing consisting of pieces of different materials sewn together in a pattern
  • n. a quilt made by sewing patches of different materials together


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • To describe existing federal policies and regulatory approaches on obesity as a patchwork is an insult to quilts everywhere.

    Beating Obesity

  • In a direct swipe at his brother, Ed, who used a Guardian article on Monday to lambast Nick Clegg for selling out Liberal principles, the shadow foreign secretary will criticise what he calls a patchwork approach to building electoral support.

    David Miliband takes 'comfort zone' swipe at Ed in Labour leadership fight

  • Barack Obama wants the Federal Reserve to have more authority over regulating financial insitutions, reducing what he calls the patchwork of regulatory authorities that contributed to this crisis. The Ad-Free Personal Finance Blogs Aggregator

  • He called the patchwork of transportation modes he used this week—driving, taking the PATH train and riding on NJ Transit—a lesson in "creative commuting."

    A Commuter's Week to Forget

  • The uneven contrasting patchwork is a little surprising.

    Wolfram Blog : Flag Analysis with Mathematica

  • Etsy seller Takeahalliday's "Human Anatomy Science Patchwork T-Shirt" uses "different colored and textured fabric used in patchwork to represent the different human organs and rib cage."

    Boing Boing

  • Seeing that patchwork is "in" this season, I thought I'd try my hand at making a patchwork purse, since I can't decide on a color.

    Archive 2008-05-01

  • Making patchwork is likewise a quiet amusement; and if a child is taught to fit it herself, it may be made really useful.

    The Mother's Book

  • Some kind of patchwork, which is almost completely ineffective, goes on.

    Recently Uploaded Slideshows

  • Having largely avoided the global financial crisis, Australia is being torn between a red hot mining boom and a surging currency that is hammering the manufacturing, retail and tourism industries, creating what the government describes as a "patchwork" economy.

    Gillard Faces Big Test in Australian Budget Battle


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  • Second definition: WeirdNet!

    October 10, 2008

  • I began musing on the state of my affairs, which were sufficiently out at elbows to require all my skill in patch-work, but the time for reflection as well as for repentance were cut short.

    - Lesage, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, tr. Smollett, bk 10 ch. 12

    October 10, 2008