a. A usually repeating artistic or decorative design: a paisley pattern. See Synonyms at figure.
b. A natural or accidental arrangement or sequence: the pattern of rainfall over the past year.
a. A plan, diagram, or model to be followed in making things: a dress pattern.
b. A model or original used for imitation or as an archetype. See Synonyms at ideal.
3. A consistent, characteristic form, style, or method, as:
a. A composite of traits or features characteristic of an individual or a group: one's pattern of behavior.
b. Form and style in an artistic work or body of artistic works.
a. The configuration of gunshots upon a target that is used as an indication of skill in shooting.
b. The distribution and spread, around a targeted region, of spent shrapnel, bomb fragments, or shot from a shotgun.
5. Enough material to make a complete garment.
6. A test pattern.
7. The flight path of an aircraft about to land: a flight pattern.
8. Football A pass pattern.
v. pat·terned, pat·tern·ing, pat·terns
1. To make, mold, or design by following a pattern: We patterned this plan on the previous one. My daughter patterned her military career after her father's.
2. To cover or ornament with a design or pattern.
To make a pattern.
[Middle English patron, from Old French; see PATRON.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.