Definition of swatch in US English:



  • 1A small sample of fabric intended to demonstrate the look of a larger piece.

    • ‘The Designer and the Buyer then source swatches of fabrics, trims and visual images, pooling together in order to come up with finished garments.’
    • ‘This area includes an archive of more than 4,500 swatches of cotton fabrics, which designers can browse when creating new lines.’
    • ‘Place the same variety of fabric swatches in each batch of dye ad let them soak for several hours.’
    • ‘From a middle distance, they could be of anything - the inside of an oyster, a swatch of fabric.’
    • ‘Included are samplers, embroidered pictures, portraits, sewing implements and patterns, quilts, clothing, linens, fabric swatches, photographs, and other documents.’
    • ‘A smile touched his lips as he recalled how bored and frustrated he was with her drapery samples, carpet swatches, and catalogs of furniture and linens.’
    • ‘She'd been going over fabric swatches with his mother and he'd walked in after playing a game of tennis.’
    • ‘I sent him tie samples, fabric swatches, photos, the whole nine yards.’
    • ‘I also managed to find some small and cheap swatches of a couple of the 1930s fabrics which will do very nicely for clothing for upcoming dolls.’
    • ‘If you have been analysed in your clothes, then bring your colour swatches with you, ensuring the correct choice of outfits.’
    • ‘The book can also be used in conjunction with McCloud's website,, where you can match any colour swatch in the book to an available paint brand.’
    • ‘Although her offices in Chelmsford, MA, are cluttered with piles of fabric swatches, she tries to encourage better use of new technology at companies around the world.’
    • ‘The ladies went to work selecting their favorite, trying them on, picking the right color to match fabric swatches.’
    • ‘We come to the house with all our materials, colour and fabric swatches and can usually go through each room within the one session.’
    • ‘She likes to play peekaboo behind the different cabinet doors, and she's really into fabric swatches and tassels.’
    • ‘Bring color samples, fabric swatches, photos, and room measurements to the shop or showroom.’
    • ‘Use cotton swabs or cloth swatches draped over foam makeup wedges to get into corners.’
    • ‘I was filling my new spare time with some overdue house renovation: Rooms were stripped bare and littered with paint chips and fabric swatches, furniture stacked on end in my living room.’
    • ‘Always test for stiffness or discoloration by dabbing sealant on a fabric swatch or a seamline before applying it to your project.’
    • ‘Carry everything from fabric swatches to paint chips in this sturdy box with handy pocket folders.’
    sample, example, bit, snippet, illustration, demonstration, exemplification, instance, selection, representative piece
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A collection of fabric samples, especially in the form of a book.
      • ‘Other services you can buy in are interior designers, who will help you ‘design ‘a decor using colour swatches and mood charts.’’
      • ‘Throughout the preceding weeks, McDonald and Moore have given us color boards of fabric swatches, surface materials, and paint chips to help us reach final decisions on furniture and paint colors.’
      • ‘I was both a cool and deep dude, but predominantly cool - and a swatch book of 33 of these qualifying hues was ‘my colour.’’
      • ‘She measures them up and they look through a style portfolio and swatch book.’
      • ‘Complete with details of colours, fabrics, fashion silhouettes and other trends that will be seen in the coming season, the book analyses the trends through colour swatches, material swatches and coloured sketches.’
      • ‘I come with my swatch books and some drawing paper.’
      • ‘Most retailers can get you a sample swatch or will allow you to check out the book for an evening.’
      • ‘As a further incentive, include a swatch of material (in gold, red, or tweed, for example) from which to base individual outfits.’
    2. 1.2 A sample of paint, makeup, etc. applied to a surface or one's skin to test or demonstrate the color.
      ‘red lipstick swatches’
      ‘the walls were covered with multicoloured paint swatches’
      • ‘The swatches you’re seeing here are the second attempt at swatching these lipliners on the lips.’
      • ‘I created this blog so I could upload more in-depth pictures and swatches of any products I am talking about.’
      • ‘I’m not an expert at lippie swatches but I tried and hopefully they help a little tiny bit.’
      • ‘There probably isn't a soul in the world (who is interested in makeup, that is) that hasn't already seen a million swatches of the Urban Decay Book of Shadows.’
      • ‘With these larger samples, you'll have more paint available to create larger paint swatches.’
      • ‘I'm about to go and get swatches of duck egg blue paint for the bedroom.’
      • ‘This trio of eyeshadows from Illamasqua’s latest collection landed on my desk this week and I thought I’d post up some swatches.’
      • ‘In the picture above you can see the swatches of each color.’
      • ‘Of the shades I tried, Rose Boudoir and Rose Thé are the most opaque, which you can hopefully see in the swatches above.’
      • ‘I hope the swatches are helpful to those considering this palette.’
      • ‘I don't know why the cheek colour swatches are so sheer, because the blush actually has plenty of pigment.’
      • ‘I thought that maybe a couple of swatches could be useful, especially for those of you who are going to shop online without seeing the actual products first.’
      • ‘As you can see from the swatches, it almost seems like you’re buying three tubes of the same gloss.’
      • ‘If you're looking for reviews, beauty, swatches, and more, whether it's haircare, skincare or've come to the right place!’
    3. 1.3 A patch or area of a material or surface.
      ‘the sunset had filled the sky with swatches of deep orange’
      • ‘Prior to the debut, the Newfoundland author is grafting bits of his skin onto swatches of paper for a limited number of promotional covers.’
      • ‘The several paintings titled Night Sky are swatches of impenetrable black texturing.’
      • ‘She was a lean charcoal sketch, swatches of bright orange swabbed behind her alert feline ears.’
      • ‘They were about to throw out a swatch of material they found in my remaining sneaker, but I grabbed it and stuffed it back in my fancy leather shoes before they could open it and find my heart.’
      • ‘On her left shoulder was a swatch of bright woolen fabric woven in the colors of white, red, blue and green.’
      • ‘Bright swatches of fuchsia, orange and yellow tend to advance before cooler passages of lavender, violet and blue.’
      • ‘There were tears running down my cheeks as I tore off a swatch from my trusty old shirt and wrapped the pieces inside.’


[with object]
  • Apply a sample of (paint, makeup, etc.) to a surface or one's skin to test or demonstrate the color.

    ‘I got the polishes yesterday, and I've swatched them all’
    • ‘I did pick up the Le Vernis in May and the Rouge Coco in Paradis, which I totally fell for when I swatched them in store.’
    • ‘I swatched all the colors in this palette for the sake of this review.’
    • ‘Swatch the different BB creams onto the back of your hand or arm.’
    • ‘I'm actually considering swatching all my lipsticks (50+) and posting them on here for people to look at.’
    • ‘When you're out lipstick shopping, swatch the different ones on the back of your hands, and have a look at how it affects the appearance of the skin around it.’
    • ‘At first glance I didn't think this palette was anything special but after I swatched the colors in the store I knew I HAD to have it!’
    • ‘The lovely sales assistant swatched a couple of shades on my hand.’
    • ‘I seem to have a fairly healthy collection of brown pencil liners but I've never swatched them all side by side.’
    • ‘Last time I swatched NARS’ new Larger Than Life eyeliners, I was missing two shades.’
    • ‘Pink Tea is a satin rose-pink, and if I’d realized how similar it was going to look to Lovecloud, I would have swatched them side by side.’
    • ‘I actually applied and swatched this twice, because it looked so awful on my lips.’


Early 16th century (originally Scots and northern English, denoting the counterfoil of a tally, and later a tally fixed to a piece of cloth before dyeing): of unknown origin.