something made up of an incongruous variety of pieces or parts; hodgepodge: a patchwork of verse forms.
work made of pieces of cloth or leather of various colors or shapes sewed together, used especially for covering quilts, cushions, etc.
resembling a patchwork, especially in being makeshift, irregular, or improvised: a patchwork policy of dispensing foreign aid.
verb (used with object)
to make as patchwork: She specializes in patchworking skirts.
to assemble or connect in making patchwork: to patchwork neckties into bedspreads.

1685–95; patch1 + work

patchworky, adjective

1. medley, jumble, mélange. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
patchwork (ˈpætʃˌwɜːk)
1.  needlework done by sewing pieces of different materials together
2.  something, such as a theory, made up of various parts: a patchwork of cribbed ideas

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1690s, from patch (1) + work.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


the process of joining strips, squares, triangles, hexagons, or other shaped pieces of fabric (also called patches), by either hand or machine stitching, into square blocks or other units. It is one of the primary construction techniques of quilting and is often combined with applique. In constructing the quilt top the pieced blocks may be stitched together, alternated with blocks cut from a single fabric, or separated by long strips of fabric known as sashing. The blocks may be arranged in a wide variety of settings, including rotated 90 degrees "on point." Pieced or plain border strips are often added to complete the quilt top. In the crazy quilt the patches are of irregular size and shape; like crazy blocks, string-pieced blocks, formed of strips of fabric, are sewn to a fabric or paper foundation

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Our pledge was not merely to do a patchwork job with secondhand materials.
But a continent which was already a patchwork of principalities became in some
  places a patchwork of calendars.
Ethnic or group differences give way to a homogenized patchwork of unbridled
  individual variety.
Regulatory oversight was a confusing patchwork, full of holes.
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