Definition of pattern in English:



  • 1A repeated decorative design.

    ‘a neat blue herringbone pattern’
    • ‘Blocks of colour work better than patterns and neat tailoring works better than layers.’
    • ‘Clothing is made of cloth that repeats thousands of tiny patterns, with decorations such as silver hoops added.’
    • ‘Bricks, slabs and decking can be laid in patterns for decorative effect.’
    • ‘The fabric is baby blue with a pattern of assorted donuts.’
    • ‘These aspects then become ornamented with Islamic-inspired decorative patterns and Islamic cultural artifacts.’
    • ‘Symmetric and geometric designs are the most common features of Belarusan decorative patterns.’
    • ‘It featured exuberant decorative patterns, designs in the brickwork and wooden attachments.’
    • ‘A long sword hung from his belt, which was covered with various decorative patterns.’
    • ‘One strategy he often employed was to create repeating patterns of interlocking figures.’
    • ‘A fairly normal vase, the kind one would buy at the market: blue with swirly patterns, depicting some pastoral scene in creamy colours.’
    • ‘Using a pastry brush, paint a decorative pattern on the inside of each cantaloupe with the green chocolate.’
    • ‘Arabic inscriptions appear on most types of decorative patterns except those with representations of people.’
    • ‘It can be rustic or traditional, with decorative tops, patterns, curves and arches adding to the fence design.’
    • ‘The two posts on each side are filled with decorative, abstract patterns.’
    • ‘Included are geometrics, florals and foliates, animals and nature motifs and other decorative repeat patterns.’
    • ‘Pipe some frosting in a decorative pattern on top of each and set aside.’
    • ‘Support columns for the bridge will feature textured cast stone, with a cast concrete inset stamped with decorative patterns of prairie grasses.’
    • ‘She picked up a pair of scissors at the age of eight and started cutting traditional decorative patterns - common practice among country women.’
    • ‘Decorative patterns, repetition, alternation and progression were reviewed at this point.’
    • ‘The motifs shared by the petroglyphic art include circles, cruciform shapes, star motifs and herringbone patterns.’
    design, decoration, motif, marking, ornament, ornamentation, device, figure
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    1. 1.1 An arrangement or design regularly found in comparable objects.
      ‘the house had been built on the usual pattern’
      • ‘In regular dense connective tissue, collagen bundles are arranged in a definite pattern, making the tissue greatly resistant to stress.’
      • ‘If conventional arrangements and patterns are made more scarce, other arrangements and patterns will spring up.’
      • ‘The fossils indicate the wings had feathers, arranged in a similar pattern to that of modern birds.’
      • ‘The hair-cells within the spiralling cochlear duct are arranged in a pattern like the bristles of a brush.’
      • ‘An asexual adult colony is made up of just two cell types arranged in an orderly pattern.’
      • ‘Programming the assembly of nanocrystals using DNA linkers might provide one way of arranging them into circuit patterns.’
      • ‘The development of a plant depends on the generation of diverse cell types arranged in predictable patterns.’
      • ‘In the absence of individual gene analysis, these methods can reveal the overall patterns of gene network systems.’
      • ‘These are normally arranged in a polygonal pattern.’
      • ‘Quasicrystals are unusual metallic alloys whose atoms are arranged in orderly patterns that are not quite crystalline.’
      • ‘Wedge biopsy of the lesion showed benign spindle cells arranged in a whorled pattern.’
      • ‘For our prototype instrument, we use three pinholes, arranged into a triangular pattern.’
      • ‘External root hairs occur in a pattern governed by the arrangement of underlying cortical cells.’
      • ‘The pattern of arrangement of the stamens was found to be conservative.’
      • ‘These things can't be built or opened or operated without making changes to existing travel arrangements and patterns.’
      • ‘The lesion was composed of mononuclear cells and plump spindle cells arranged in a plexiform pattern.’
      • ‘The walls were arranged in an octagonal pattern, giving the impression of a tower or fortification of some sort.’
      • ‘There were fascicles of spindle cells sometimes arranged in a whorled pattern or admixed with thick collagen fibers.’
      • ‘Photonic structures are created from a block of transparent dielectric material that contains a number of tiny holes arranged in a lattice pattern.’
      • ‘Structurally, the tumor cells were arranged in a medullary pattern composed of polygonal tumor cells.’
      model, example, criterion, standard, basis, point of reference, gauge, norm, formula, guide, scale, guideline, yardstick, touchstone, benchmark, ideal, exemplar, paradigm, canon
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    2. 1.2 A regular and intelligible form or sequence discernible in the way in which something happens or is done.
      ‘a complicating factor is the change in working patterns’
      ‘the murders followed a repeated pattern’
      ‘the school is located a few kilometers away and is run on the pattern of other army schools’
      • ‘First, readings are collected over an interval that takes into account regular tidal patterns.’
      • ‘This was the pattern, his lordship regularly exposing a gap in the government armour, only to plug it soon afterwards.’
      • ‘However, similar patterns were repeated in the multivariate analysis designed to account for such factors.’
      • ‘Now, if I can stay awake until tonight I might just be able to get back into a regular pattern again.’
      • ‘You may restructure office routines, busy schedules, travel plans, work systems, food habits, fitness programs and regular patterns.’
      • ‘At the same time, there were discernible patterns of thought that gave a distinct personality to what I had written.’
      • ‘It's high time I experimented with regular sleeping patterns.’
      • ‘Until recently, ocean scientists believed that waves acted only in regular, predictable patterns.’
      • ‘By the early 70s, the pattern was becoming quite discernible.’
      • ‘Then activate the timer, and the patterns automatically sequence and repeat.’
      • ‘Although no clearly discernible patterns of theory seem to be present, there is a clear choice of what part of development to study.’
      • ‘Have a regular pattern of going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, whether you are tired or not.’
      • ‘Specimens have been found all over the world, but it's not clear if they have regular migration patterns.’
      • ‘This series of steps is hypothesized to produce the regular, long-distance migratory patterns observed in many species around the world.’
      • ‘An ECG also shows doctors how fast your heart is beating and whether it's beating in a regular pattern.’
      • ‘Basically, a clock depends on something that repeats a pattern at a very regular rate.’
      • ‘Reducing stress, establishing regular sleep patterns, following a healthy diet, and getting regular exercise may help prevent tension headaches.’
      • ‘In it, the authors attempt to discern broad patterns in the health measures, both across groups and over long stretches of time.’
      • ‘There is a discernible pattern in Indian politics and economics which shows that change has tended to take place only very slowly and gradually.’
      • ‘We had to examine interorganizational arrangements to understand patterns of interaction and results.’
      system, order, arrangement, method, sequence, structure, scheme, plan, form, format, framework, composition, constitution, shape, make-up, configuration
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  • 2A model or design used as a guide in needlework and other crafts.

    ‘make a pattern for the zigzag edge’
    • ‘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.’
    sample, specimen, swatch
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    1. 2.1 A set of instructions to be followed in making a sewn or knitted item.
      ‘the bag contained wool, needles, and a pattern for a sweater’
      • ‘The weather has turned chilly here in Calgary, and I find myself turning to new patterns for knitting.’
      • ‘I sit beneath my mother while she reads the pattern's instructions, see her eyebrows contract through a crack in the table.’
      • ‘Funny how shopping for knitting patterns led to memories of working with Chris.’
      • ‘Last year Teresa spent time in Ethiopia where she set up a knitting project, teaching children and young women how to knit and read patterns.’
      • ‘These follow a similar pattern to the later instructions.’
      • ‘She was standing alone, dressed in a woolly, knee-length jacket, the kind of thing you see in Seventies knitting patterns.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This is the very first time I've seen knitting patterns published under a CC license, and I think it's splendid!’
      • ‘I have not knit a pattern from this book yet, however, all the patterns seem to be very well-written and easy to understand.’
      • ‘I did come back with some sock yarn and another book of sock patterns, though, and an Addi Turbo needle.’
      • ‘It's not a difficult pattern to knit, but it's not going as fast as I would had imagined.’
      • ‘In theory, the replenishing of the body's supplies of water and glucose should not be beyond the abilities of someone who can follow a knitting pattern.’
      • ‘I pulled the sewing machine and my wood trunks full of patterns and materials.’
      • ‘Scrolling a little further I came across the pattern and instructions to make these wonderful fisherman's pants.’
      • ‘Students learn about quality control, dress designing, pattern making, merchandising and administrative work in a garment factory.’
      • ‘Find instructions and free patterns on the Internet.’
      • ‘I have used the pattern as a guide, and I think I am going to change the neckline, but so far it is working out very well.’
      • ‘The organisers would appreciate any donations of knitting wool, patterns, knitting needles, crochet hooks or any old material.’
      • ‘At a very young age, I made a donkey, by knitting the pattern, stuffing it with wool and sowing it all together.’
    2. 2.2 A 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’
      • ‘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.’
      mould, die, form, matrix, shape, casting, template, frame
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    3. 2.3 A sample of cloth or wallpaper.
      as modifier ‘it is easier to choose carpets from the roll than from a pattern book’
      sample, specimen, swatch
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  • 3An example for others to follow.

    ‘he set the pattern for subsequent study’
    • ‘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 regard to disease processes, the chapters follow the same layout and provide an excellent pattern for learning.’
    precedent, lead, guide, model, blueprint, template, paradigm, exemplar, ideal, standard
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[with object]
  • 1usually as adjective patternedDecorate with a recurring design.

    ‘rosebud patterned wallpapers’
    • ‘The labyrinth is a maze-like path similar to those patterned on to the floors of European cathedrals in the Middle Ages.’
    • ‘Her Highness was wearing a white pique dress patterned with pink roses, a white hat and white accessories.’
    • ‘I dressed in a knee-length white skirt patterned with a layer of pink lace and a pink tank top over a white bikini.’
    • ‘French cuffs make the difference, whether the shirt is solid or patterned.’
    • ‘Brides from the Asian subcontinent have their hands patterned with henna.’
    • ‘Lola herself has doffed her shabby robe and is wearing a gaudy dress patterned with large flowers.’
    • ‘It is typically French in plan: formal and neatly patterned, with rows of trees and gravel paths.’
    • ‘They're black, and white, and patterned with stripes around the bottom.’
    • ‘Although patterned wallpaper is coming back into fashion, it's now being applied only sparingly.’
    • ‘Craftspeople of today weave intricately patterned cloth and carpets with complex designs.’
    • ‘This one was wrapped in white paper patterned with red lipstick kisses.’
    • ‘The skirt you describe is colourful and strongly patterned, so it's best to keep it simple and fairly plain up top.’
    • ‘Delilah dressed in a large dress that was light green and was littered with bows and patterned with rosebuds.’
    • ‘Who is the elegant maiden dressed in silk with a vermilion inner-robe patterned with golden butterflies?’
    • ‘The two were draped completely in dark robes patterned with runes and ancient text.’
    • ‘Amy turns around in her pastel pink frilly-laced top, patterned with small flowers.’
    • ‘The cool indigo of the subtly patterned wallpaper and the basin complements the honey tones of the fir cabinetry and trim.’
    • ‘Around her waist was a wrap skirt that tied in the front, brightly patterned with dark and sky blue flowers.’
    • ‘While shirts are described as pastel and patterned, pants are available in clean lines.’
    • ‘These items were genuine, intricately patterned, handmade works of art, taking about six months to complete.’
    decorated, ornamented, figured, tessellated, mosaic
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  • 2Give a regular or intelligible form to.

    ‘the brain not only receives information, but interprets and patterns it’
    • ‘These visible alterations in chromosome structure do not affect polarity by altering transcription of key patterning genes.’
    • ‘He patterns their foreign noise to the sound of himself.’
    • ‘I can't help but think we are still looking to secular models to pattern our thinking rather than to revelation.’
    • ‘These innovations all involve evolutionary changes in the regulation of polyp and colony-wide patterning systems.’
    shape, influence, form, model, fashion, mould, style
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    1. 2.1pattern something on/after Give something a form based on that of (something else)
      ‘the clothing is patterned on athletes' wear’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Does that bother you at all, or do you try and pattern your style after a guy like him?’
      • ‘I have tried very hard to pattern my own life after the profound spirit of love and compassion for all things that I saw within this beautiful woman.’
      • ‘Plus, league bowlers pattern their styles after their favorite player.’
      • ‘That would be great, having a health care system patterned after the foster care system.’
      • ‘Pets will pattern their moods after yours, so love what you are doing!’
      • ‘And if you would, who would you want to pattern yourself after?’
      • ‘Staff members will pattern their leadership after those above them - not after what others say as much as what they do.’
      • ‘In 1974 our uniform was patterned on the one that had been worn by the BC Provincial Police Force before it was taken over by the RCMP in the early 1950s.’
      • ‘While polyphonic tones were better than monotones, they still sounded more like an old video game than the music they were patterned after.’
      • ‘I had patterned my own behavior after his, and when I began to identify some of those same qualities in myself, I knew I had to take action.’
      • ‘It is undoubtedly true that many of us are living in new houses that are patterned on interior designs a hundred or even two hundred years old.’
      • ‘Jews count the months by the moon; western civilization patterns its calendar after the sun.’
      • ‘And man, he was something to watch, a college All-American whose style of ball I patterned my game after.’
      • ‘Your car's headlights and spotlights are patterned after that design.’
      • ‘Her ambitions are patterned on images absorbed from old movies and gleaned from her favourite reading matter, celebrity autobiographies.’


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.