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[pach-wurk] /ˈpætʃˌwɜrk/
something made up of an incongruous variety of pieces or parts; hodgepodge:
a patchwork of verse forms.
work made of pieces of cloth or leather of various colors or shapes sewed together, used especially for covering quilts, cushions, etc.
resembling a patchwork, especially in being makeshift, irregular, or improvised:
a patchwork policy of dispensing foreign aid.
verb (used with object)
to make as patchwork:
She specializes in patchworking skirts.
to assemble or connect in making patchwork:
to patchwork neckties into bedspreads.
Origin of patchwork
First recorded in 1685-95; patch1 + work
Related forms
patchworky, adjective
1. medley, jumble, mélange. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for patchwork
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A glass cat is a useless sort of thing, but a patchwork Girl is really useful.

    The Patchwork Girl of Oz L. Frank Baum
  • The calico pieces went into the rag-bag, and that was the last of Prudy's patchwork.

    Little Prudy Sophie May
  • The "Young Man's Ramble" was patchwork of a most intricate design, in which it seemed that one might ramble about fruitlessly.

    A Little Girl in Old Boston Amanda Millie Douglas
  • In this exhibit the display of patchwork is sure to arouse the liveliest enthusiasm.

    Quilts Marie D. Webster
  • It was, to a considerable extent, a patchwork of compromises, and many doubted its being ratified by a majority of the states.

British Dictionary definitions for patchwork


needlework done by sewing pieces of different materials together
something, such as a theory, made up of various parts: a patchwork of cribbed ideas
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for patchwork

"work composed of patches," 1690s, from patch (n.1) + work (n.). As an adjective from 1713.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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