- to mark or diversify with spots or blotches of a different color or shade.
- a diversifying spot or blotch of color.
- mottled coloring or pattern.
Origin of mottle
First recorded in 1670–80; probably back formation from motley
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for mottle
Let God make His sunsets: I will mottle my little fading cloud.Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood
Ginsburg put up his gloved hand and wiped clean a face that with passion had turned a mottle of red-and-white blotches.From Place to Place
Irvin S. Cobb
Gangs of buffalo, herds of antelope, and droves of wild horses, mottle the far vistas.The Scalp Hunters
- (tr) to colour with streaks or blotches of different shades
- a mottled appearance, as of the surface of marble
- one streak or blotch of colour in a mottled surface
C17: back formation from motley
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for mottle
1670s, probably a back-formation from motley.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper