Definition of pattern in English:


Line breaks: pat|tern
Pronunciation: /ˈpat(ə)n


  • 3A model or design used as a guide in needlework and other crafts: make a pattern for the zigzag edge
    More example sentences
    • Using a T-shirt and an A-line skirt as guides, make paper patterns.
    • Using your pattern, the cloth is then cut and trimmed, along with the finest linings and silks available.
  • 3.1A set of instructions to be followed in making a sewn or knitted item: the bag contained wool, needles, and a pattern for a sweater
    More example sentences
    • These follow a similar pattern to the later instructions.
    • Find instructions and free patterns on the Internet.
    • I wish I could list out the Christmas knitting patterns, but three out of the four intendees occasionally peruse the blog, and it's not much fun if they know in advance.
  • 3.2A wooden or metal model from which a mould is made for a casting: to make a split mould a wooden pattern has to be made first
    More example sentences
    • It involves using a special type of sand and a wooden pattern.
    • Visual inspection of the quality of the metal pattern was carried out using a 20x lens on an upright light microscope.
  • 3.3A sample of cloth or wallpaper: [as modifier]: it is easier to choose carpets from the roll than from a pattern book
  • 4An excellent example for others to follow: he set the pattern for subsequent study
    More example sentences
    • With regard to disease processes, the chapters follow the same layout and provide an excellent pattern for learning.
    • If this can be achieved, the pattern and example that he sets will be not just for Scotland, but a light to the world.
    • Therefore, the 1937 treaty set the pattern for the subsequent flurries of activities.


[with object] Back to top  
  • 1 (usually as adjective patterned) Decorate with a recurring design: rosebud patterned wallpapers
    More example sentences
    • Delilah dressed in a large dress that was light green and was littered with bows and patterned with rosebuds.
    • Amy turns around in her pastel pink frilly-laced top, patterned with small flowers.
    • Lola herself has doffed her shabby robe and is wearing a gaudy dress patterned with large flowers.
    decorated, ornamented, figured, tessellated, mosaic; goffered, crimped, watered, moiré, fancy, adorned, embellished, intricate
  • 2Give a regular or intelligible form to: the brain not only receives information, but interprets and patterns it
    More example sentences
    • I can't help but think we are still looking to secular models to pattern our thinking rather than to revelation.
    • These visible alterations in chromosome structure do not affect polarity by altering transcription of key patterning genes.
    • These innovations all involve evolutionary changes in the regulation of polyp and colony-wide patterning systems.
    shape, influence, form, model, fashion, mould, style; affect, determine, direct, control, guide, lead
  • 2.1 (pattern something on/after) Give something a form based on that of (something else): the clothing is patterned on athletes' wear
    More example sentences
    • Staff members will pattern their leadership after those above them - not after what others say as much as what they do.
    • Today it is not uncommon for some of the so-called replica firearms to be of better quality and performance than the originals they were patterned after.
    • While polyphonic tones were better than monotones, they still sounded more like an old video game than the music they were patterned after.


Middle English patron 'something serving as a model', from Old French (see patron). The change in sense is from the idea of a patron giving an example to be copied. Metathesis in the second syllable occurred in the 16th century By 1700 patron ceased to be used of things, and the two forms became differentiated in sense.

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