Definition of sketchy in English:



  • 1Not thorough or detailed.

    ‘the information they had was sketchy’
    • ‘I think there are a lot of flaws in this study calculating - it's so hard to calculate profits in Hollywood because the numbers are always so sketchy and there's a lot of fuzzy accounting.’
    • ‘While the history of this participation remains sketchy and incomplete, individual contributions have not escaped notice.’
    • ‘All of our actions are dictated by intelligence reports and sometimes it can be sketchy.’
    • ‘But, in a few days, the Pentagon will issue a release with some sketchy details.’
    • ‘The details are sketchy at this stage, but I understand that both Desmond and Murray are to be interviewed about the plan on this evening's Scotsport Plus.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, the information available on this issue has been extremely vague and sketchy.’
    • ‘Details are sketchy but the lightening fast operation, lasting all of 5 hours, stunned France and the world.’
    • ‘The apparently deep relationships between Aaron and Hugh or between Hugh and Becky remain superficial, the minor characters frustratingly sketchy.’
    • ‘While programming details are sketchy, it is understood that the new channel would offer a diet of sitcoms, drama and soaps and will have no news or current affairs content.’
    • ‘The story is sketchy and vague about where the funds went.’
    • ‘Now I was faced with my dad's inadequate PC, complete with sketchy Internet connection and Microsoft Word.’
    • ‘The person who has sat next to me every day for the last 18 months is just a jumble of sketchy features and vague associations.’
    • ‘She was one of five children, and even in this sketchy history of her fragmented life, with its breakdowns, delusions and stays in hospital, we can see echoes of the privilege to which she was born.’
    • ‘Rather than keenly tuning into the in-depth coverage of Newsnight or Channel 4 News, the only reports I'm hearing are the brief and sketchy bulletins on Xfm in the morning, as I get ready for work.’
    • ‘She continued with a vague, sketchy synopsis of what she planned to be doing, and how long she planned to stay.’
    • ‘I have limited, sketchy information on my forebears.’
    • ‘The details are sketchy at the moment but i'm certain there is money to be made…’
    • ‘Information regarding the death is, at present, sketchy, with the police report being frustratingly vague.’
    • ‘While details are still sketchy, the show looks to be a very extended and extremely sensational commercial.’
    • ‘Brando's part is too slight, his character too sketchy, to allow him to show any acting chops at all.’
    incomplete, inadequate, limited, patchy, scrappy, bitty, fragmentary, rudimentary
    superficial, cursory, perfunctory, slight, scanty, skimpy, meagre, insufficient
    vague, imprecise, fuzzy
    hurried, hasty, provisional
    on the back of an envelope
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1(of a picture) resembling a sketch; consisting of outline without much detail.
      • ‘The second page was a sketchy outline of a woman, but you couldn't really see anything.’
      • ‘Tara looked at her sketchy outline repeatedly until the whole page became a huge blur to her.’
      lacking in detail, incomplete, outline, inadequate, insufficient, fragmentary, patchy, bitty, scrappy, broad-brush, superficial, perfunctory
      View synonyms
  • 2North American informal Dishonest or disreputable.

    ‘once the story does come out, the fact that you tried to hide it will seem sketchy’
    ‘a sketchy neighborhood’
    • ‘I had a client the other day whose PC was practically dead because they clicked on one of those pop up ads while on some sketchy website.’
    • ‘The search generally yields the same results: live/work studio space is expensive, unless you're willing to look in sketchy neighborhoods.’
    • ‘LAPD described both men as having sketchy pasts.’
    • ‘Nationals kicks off with Mercedes contracting food poisoning from a sketchy taco joint.’
    • ‘He sounds more like a sketchy drunk guy yelling in your ear at a show, asking if you know where to buy drugs, than like the frontman of the band onstage.’
    • ‘Although I wasn't in the habit of talking to strangers, he didn't seem sketchy, so I walked over to the car and bent down to get to his eye level.’
    • ‘I spotted this mural on the side of a big Goodwill facility in a sketchy part of east Long Beach.’
    • ‘If you're in a club, chances are there's going to be a sketchy guy in a track suit trying to get you to buy coke.’
    • ‘If you think that Facebook is boring you need to make sketchier friends.’
    • ‘A slightly sketchy town on the edge of the lake, it had none of Copacabana or Isla del Sol's charm.’
    • ‘In retrospect, the recruitment email sounded pretty sketchy.’
    • ‘He talks about contexts where you wouldn't want to use a tablet, such as for snapping a picture or for checking directions in a slightly sketchy neighbourhood.’
    • ‘Those guys were sketchy, I always thought they were.’
    • ‘My roommate went to the basement to do her laundry late one night and came back with news that there was a sketchy character in the basement.’
    • ‘There were far fewer sketchy characters on the streets and it was a calmer and more conservative city.’
    • ‘The train has never seemed as sketchy as the one I'm on from Athens to Patras.’
    • ‘Ossington Avenue was a crumbling street of dodgy garages and boarded-up business, sketchy strip clubs and bullet-ridden karaoke joints.’
    • ‘We did see a sketchy guy in the corner riffling through used MetroCards, which made me think twice about whipping out a $300 smartphone.’
    • ‘The whole organization seems a bit sketchy.’
    • ‘This seriously good novel tells the story of M, a man with a sketchy past and even sketchier morals.’