patchwork quilt

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patchwork quilt (plural patchwork quilts)

  1. (literally) A decorative quilt made of pieces of cloth having diverse sizes, colors, and shapes, sewn together either to form a regular pattern or in a deliberately mismatched fashion without a pattern.
  2. (figuratively, by extension) Something having a haphazard or disorganized structure; something composed of seemingly random parts.
    • 1989, Susan Tifft et. al., "Sticker Shock at the Ivory Tower," Time, 25 Sep.:
      Despite a patchwork quilt of aid that includes scholarships, loans and an on-campus job, Kenner's father, a train conductor, must now pay $6,000 out of pocket to send his daughter to school.


  • (Something having a haphazard or disorganized structure or random composition): hodgepodge, jumble


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