Definition of patchy in US English:



  • 1Existing or happening in small, isolated areas.

    ‘patchy fog’
    • ‘Take a look at your lawn and write about the patchy areas of crabgrass and bald spots found.’
    • ‘Gross examination of the liver can reveal patchy white areas scattered on the capsule or cut surface surrounded by hemorrhagic tissue.’
    • ‘Soon, that very large - and brightly yellow - moon will rise over the bay and the patchy layers of fog that have been clinging to the ridges south of the ridges of the hills of my neighborhood.’
    • ‘Mozambique's drought is patchy, with some areas enjoying good rainfall or able to use old Portuguese colonial-era irrigation schemes to boost production.’
    • ‘Graziers tell stories of good years when the grass is up to their waists, but at the moment, only patchy areas have enough rain to put a nice bit of grass on the ground.’
    • ‘On examining the heart there was some patchy areas of scar tissue which may in part be related to old age and partly due to some mild narrowing of the coronary arteries that supply the heart.’
    • ‘However if there is some warm air located near the ground, some air may rise and form areas of patchy or high cloud.’
    • ‘This patient had a similarly colored bright blue colon and some less intensely stained patchy blue areas in the small intestine.’
    • ‘Chest x-ray showed bilateral focal patchy areas of infiltrate at the bases of both lungs, which was interpreted to be consistent with pneumonitis.’
    • ‘Temperatures are predicted to be near or just above average, with a plenty of dry, bright weather and the possibility of a colder snap and patchy fog.’
    • ‘His chest X-ray findings and pulmonary function tests demonstrated patchy areas of fibrosis and evidence for restrictive lung disease.’
    • ‘The over sowing of old patchy lawn areas can also be tackled at this time.’
    • ‘Most common finding is bronchopneumonia with patchy air-space areas of increased opacity.’
    • ‘The surface of the lesions was mostly ulcerated with patchy areas lined by metaplastic squamous epithelium that showed pseudoepitheliomatous hyperplasia.’
    • ‘The treated limb will show patchy areas of pallor caused by arteriolar constriction.’
    • ‘It may affect patchy areas or long segments of arteries.’
    • ‘In relation to the small patchy areas on Packhouse Field, I think you are thinking, are you not, mainly of the patterns in the Fraises de Bois crop?’
    • ‘Witnesses and the police estimated that his BMW three-series car was travelling at up to 120 mph in patchy fog without fog lights.’
    • ‘Later, in mature somatic embryos, the CHIA4 - Pa signal became at first limited to small patchy areas localized at the surface of the embryo, and finally declined.’
    • ‘The remainder of the pancreas showed patchy areas of atrophy admixed with thick bands of fibrous tissue that separated the few remaining acini.’
    uneven, bitty, varying, variable, variegated, dappled, mottled, speckled, multicoloured
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    1. 1.1 Not of the same quality throughout; inconsistent.
      ‘your coursework was patchy’
      ‘my knowledge of Egyptology is patchy’
      • ‘Incredibly, the 9300 found strong GPRS signals in areas with only a patchy, or no electricity supply such as Tsunami-hit islands in the south of the country, or by the Burmese border.’
      • ‘Evidence based on research within Ukraine is patchy and its quality varies between regions (oblasts).’
      • ‘Also, the stuff is never cheap and quality is patchy.’
      • ‘However, the illustrations are a bit patchy, varying in quality and style.’
      • ‘The RNIB report shows that eye tests are not routinely carried out in all schools - and where they are, provision ranges from patchy to high quality.’
      • ‘The authors are the first to admit that much of the information is patchy and of variable quality, reflecting the often parlous state of official data.’
      • ‘We should be aware that the existing collections are patchy.’
      • ‘Some progress has been made, but overall this remains patchy and inconsistent.’
      • ‘As the only team not to suffer at least one really poor result throughout the patchy series they must surely secure a place in the semi-finals.’
      • ‘The novel's language is patchy in quality and it is hard to know whether this is the fault of the author or the translator.’
      • ‘It has suffered at the hands of the Japanese 4x4 pick-ups, though, due to its reputation for patchy quality.’
      • ‘His accomplishment is all the more remarkable in view of Allied strength, the poor weather, and the patchy quality of his own army.’
      • ‘Information on quality of life was patchy, with no common outcome measures.’
      • ‘This was partly due to the patchy audio quality, but the cast's collective lack of acting ability and a stunted storyline didn't help either.’
      • ‘On the alternative side the evidence was patchy and inconsistent.’
      • ‘And organisation is patchy in rural areas where there are transport problems.’
      • ‘The wind was ruffling through her patchy fur and he realised she was as naked as he was, the exposed patches of hide glaringly obvious and peculiar-looking.’
      • ‘Networks to overcome isolation and fragmentation are patchy and uneven.’
      • ‘Research at present is patchy and inconsistent especially for rowing.’
      • ‘Six minutes and a fraction over 20 seconds later, and the British four were contemplating a row of latent promise but patchy quality.’
      fragmentary, deficient, inadequate, insufficient, lacking, rudimentary, limited, sketchy
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