1. a series of actions or events that together show how things normally happen or are done
2. a set of lines, shapes, or colours that are repeated regularly
a. a set of sounds that are repeated regularly, for example in a poem
b. a set of movements that are repeated regularly
3. a drawing or shape that you use when you are making something, so that you get the shape and size correct
4. in linguistics, the words, phrases, groups, and clauses that are regularly associated with a particular verb, noun, or adjective.
Origin and usage
The word pattern comes from the Latin word ‘patronus’ meaning ‘defender, advocate, model’. In English, the word eventually became ‘patron’ meaning ‘a model to be imitated’. This is where the modern meaning of the word pattern is derived from. The first instance of the word being used in reference to a drawing to aid in the making of something was in 1792, in a work by English author Jane Austen.
Pattern is a word that commonly refers to something that is repeated over and over again.
Formal dances are a pattern, with the same set of steps repeated to form the complete dance. Poetry or song lyrics generally follow a pattern of rhyming words or repetitive imagery. Popular decorative patterns in art and design include polka dots, plaid and stripes.
In psychology, behavioural patterns are used in analysis to in order to predict personality traits and help with diagnoses.
“His talent was as natural as the pattern that was made by the dust on a butterfly’s wings. At one time he understood it no more than the butterfly did and he did not know when it was brushed or marred.”
design, motif, model
View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.