From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From earlier patten, paterne, from Middle English patron (patron; example), from Old French patron, from Medieval Latin patrōnus (patron). Doublet of padrone, patron, and Patronus.



pattern (plural patterns)

  1. Model, example.
    1. Something from which a copy is made; a model or outline. [from 14th c.]
      Synonyms: original, stencil, template
      • 1923 June 18, ‘President Wilson’, Time:
        There is no reason why all colleges and universities should be cut to the same pattern.
    2. Someone or something seen as an example to be imitated; an exemplar. [from 15th c.]
      • 1793 March 19, Hester Piozzi, Thraliana:
        Well! the King of France died pardoning & pitying all those who had tortured his Soul & Body, a great Pattern for us all.
      • 1852 March – 1853 September, Charles Dickens, Bleak House, London: Bradbury and Evans, [], published 1853, →OCLC:
        I write this to repeat most earnestly for myself all that she said to you and to let you know how sure I am that you will sooner or later find our cousin John a pattern of truth, sincerity, and goodness, when you will deeply, deeply grieve to have done him (without intending it) so much wrong.
      • 1946, Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy, I.16:
        The Platonic Socrates was a pattern to subsequent philosophers for many ages.
    3. (now rare) A copy. [from 15th c.]
    4. (now only numismatics) A sample; of coins, an example which was struck but never minted. [from 16th c.]
    5. A representative example. [from 16th c.]
    6. (US) The material needed to make a piece of clothing. [from 17th c.]
    7. (textiles) The paper or cardboard template from which the parts of a garment are traced onto fabric prior to cutting out and assembling.
    8. (metalworking, dated) A full-sized model around which a mould of sand is made, to receive the melted metal. It is usually made of wood and in several parts, so as to be removed from the mould without damage.
      • 1944 November and December, A Former Pupil, “Some Memories of Crewe Works—II”, in Railway Magazine, page 341:
        From this point those who became pupils went on to a further series of shops, usually commencing with the pattern shop. [] However, some of us did make quite reasonable patterns and had the satisfaction of seeing castings produced from them but, sad to say, many of these efforts were used as firewood after they had left the shop.
      • 2022 December 14, Robin Leleux, “A royal occasion as heritage projects honoured: Kettering”, in RAIL, number 972, page 56:
        But instead, the distinctive ironwork and glass platform awnings have been carefully refurbished, while making them compatible with the overhead wiring. Kettering's island Platform 2/3 is especially noteworthy. Although it dates from 1879, when the station was enlarged to four platforms, the same original (1857) patterns for the delicate cast-ironwork seem to have been used - [] .
    9. (computing) A text string containing wildcards, used for matching.
      There were no files matching the pattern *.txt.
    10. (software engineering, in compounds) A design pattern.
  2. Coherent or decorative arrangement.
    1. A design, motif or decoration, especially formed from regular repeated elements. [from 16th c.]
      Synonym: (when formed from regular repeated elements) tessellation
      • 2003, Valentino, ‘Is there a future in fashion's past?’, Time, 5 Feb 2003:
        On my way to work the other day, I stopped at a church in Rome and saw a painting of the Madonna. The subtle pattern of blues and golds in the embroidery of her dress was so amazing that I used it to design a new evening dress for my haute couture.
    2. A naturally-occurring or random arrangement of shapes, colours etc. which have a regular or decorative effect. [from 19th c.]
      • 2011 June 19, Rachel Cooke, The Observer:
        He lifted the entire joint or fowl up into the air, speared on a carving fork, and sliced pieces off it so that they fell on the plate below in perfectly organised patterns.
    3. The given spread, range etc. of shot fired from a gun. [from 19th c.]
    4. A particular sequence of events, facts etc. which can be understood, used to predict the future, or seen to have a mathematical, geometric, statistical etc. relationship. [from 19th c.]
      • 1980 October 6, ‘Shifting Targets’, Time:
        The three killings pointed to an ugly new shift in the enduring pattern of violence in Northern Ireland: the mostly Protestant Ulster police, or those suspected of affiliation with them, have become more prominent targets for the I.R.A. than the British troops.
      • 2003 August 14, Kate Hudson, The Guardian:
        Look again at how the US and its allies behaved then, and the pattern is unmistakable.
    5. (linguistics) An intelligible arrangement in a given area of language.
    6. (computing, music) A sequence of notes, percussion etc. in a tracker module, usable once or many times within the song.
      • 2008, Karen Collins, Game Sound, page 59:
        Pattern 10 is open in figure 3.9, showing the 64 notes in the pattern (each pattern in this song has 64 beats).
      • 2017, Gerard Goggin, Mark McLelland, The Routledge Companion to Global Internet Histories, page 444:
        A MOD file contains a number of short audio samples, and instructions or a “pattern” for how and when those samples are to be played.
    7. (cellular automata) A configuration of cells in a cellular automaton universe.
      Hyponyms: breeder, eater, Garden of Eden, gun, methuselah, oscillator, puffer, rake, reflector, replicator, sawtooth, spacefiller, spaceship, spark, still life
      • 1989 May 6, Alan Hensel, “Looking for Life Newsletter”, in comp.theory.cell-automata[1] (Usenet):
        For example, at one point it claims that in order to view a pattern capable of reproduction and evolution, one would need a computer with a screen the size of the solar system, and the pattern would be so sparse anyway as to be almost unobservable.
      • 2010 March 20, Adam Goucher, “What is CA for?”, in comp.theory.cell-automata[2] (Usenet):
        The state of the pattern after 1.25 * 10^12 generations is here:
      • 2022 February 11, Mateon1, “Game of Life with real 8 neighbors”, in comp.theory.cell-automata[3] (Usenet):
        The isotropy means all patterns behave the same regardless of orientation in space, they can be flipped or rotated without changing their behavior.
    8. (MLE) Any arrangement or agreement, or way of conducting business.
      • 2023 June 18, “100mph Freestyle x3”, Clavish (lyrics)‎[4], 2:44:
        I got so much of it, my cousins think I've got a pattern with Celine
        And that I'm lyin', when I say that I do no get it for free
  3. (Singaporean, informal) A wont or habit to cause an annoyance or bother; to stir up trouble
    This guy always chut pattern like badminton.


The terms below need to be checked and allocated to the definitions (senses) of the headword above. Each term should appear in the sense for which it is appropriate. For synonyms and antonyms you may use the templates {{syn|en|...}} or {{ant|en|...}}.


Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


pattern (third-person singular simple present patterns, present participle patterning, simple past and past participle patterned)

  1. To apply a pattern.
  2. To make or design (anything) by, from, or after, something that serves as a pattern; to copy; to model; to imitate.
    • 1634, T[homas] H[erbert], A Relation of Some Yeares Trauaile, Begunne Anno 1626. into Afrique and the Greater Asia, [], London: [] William Stansby, and Jacob Bloome, →OCLC:
      [A temple] patterned [] from that which Adam reared in Paradise.
  3. To follow an example.
  4. To fit into a pattern.
  5. (transitive) To serve as an example for.
  6. (hunting, transitive) To observe an animal closely over time in order to discern its habitual movements and behaviours.
  7. (MLE) To arrange, to organise, to fix.
    • 2022 June 2, Gabrielle Wood, 21:20 from the start, in Teddy Nygh, director, PRU (1), episode 2 (TV), spoken by Malachi (Billy Myagi):
      MALACHI: Are you two fucking mad? Listen, you need to pattern up, you know?




pattern (not comparable)

  1. Of or in accordance with a usual pattern, or type; model; ideal.
    • 1838 (date written), L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], chapter I, in Lady Anne Granard; or, Keeping up Appearances. [], volume I, London: Henry Colburn, [], published 1842, →OCLC, pages 168-169:
      "Not to me," interrupted his sister. "I will have no straw-bonneted, gingham-gowned pattern wives in my acquaintance. I shall make a point of cutting you."
    • 1861, Anthony Trollope, Framley Parsonage:
      The parish duty was better attended to, and perhaps domestic duties also. At such period he was a pattern parson and a pattern husband, atoning to his own conscience for past shortcomings by present zeal.