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See more synonyms for patchy on Thesaurus.com
adjective, patch·i·er, patch·i·est.
  1. characterized by or made up of patches.
  2. occurring in, forming, or like patches.
  3. of inconsistent or irregular quality, texture, etc.; not uniform: patchy acting; patchy areas of fog.
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Origin of patchy

First recorded in 1790–1800; patch1 + -y1
Related formspatch·i·ly, adverbpatch·i·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

unequally, erratically, intermittently, chaotically, patchily

Examples from the Web for patchily

Historical Examples

  • Her patchily grey hair is crisp; she still has a few pretty gestures.

    A Poor Man's House

    Stephen Sydney Reynolds

  • The hair, curly, matted all over his body, patchily rubbed away.

British Dictionary definitions for patchily


adjective patchier or patchiest
  1. irregular in quality, occurrence, intensity, etca patchy essay
  2. having or forming patches
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Derived Formspatchily, adverbpatchiness, noun
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

Word Origin and History for patchily



1798, from patch (n.1) + -y (2).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper