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  1. something made up of an incongruous variety of pieces or parts; hodgepodge: a patchwork of verse forms.
  2. work made of pieces of cloth or leather of various colors or shapes sewed together, used especially for covering quilts, cushions, etc.
  1. resembling a patchwork, especially in being makeshift, irregular, or improvised: a patchwork policy of dispensing foreign aid.
verb (used with object)
  1. to make as patchwork: She specializes in patchworking skirts.
  2. to assemble or connect in making patchwork: to patchwork neckties into bedspreads.

Origin of patchwork

First recorded in 1685–95; patch1 + work
Related formspatch·work·y, adjective

Synonyms for patchwork

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for patchwork

Contemporary Examples of patchwork

Historical Examples of patchwork

British Dictionary definitions for patchwork


  1. needlework done by sewing pieces of different materials together
  2. something, such as a theory, made up of various partsa 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

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