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motley

[ mot-lee ]
/ ˈmɒt li /
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adjective

noun, plural mot·leys.

QUIZZES

QUIZ YOURSELF ON “THEIR,” “THERE,” AND “THEY’RE”

Are you aware how often people swap around “their,” “there,” and “they’re”? Prove you have more than a fair grasp over these commonly confused words.
Question 1 of 7
Which one of these commonly confused words can act as an adverb or a pronoun?

Origin of motley

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English motele, motlay, mottelay “mixture of colors, variegated; a parti-colored garment”; of uncertain origin; perhaps akin to mote1.See -ly

Definition for motley (2 of 2)

Motley
[ mot-lee ]
/ ˈmɒt li /

noun

John Lo·throp [loh-thruhp], /ˈloʊ θrəp/, 1814–77, U.S. historian and diplomat.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for motley

British Dictionary definitions for motley

motley
/ (ˈmɒtlɪ) /

adjective

made up of elements of varying type, quality, etc
multicoloured

noun

a motley collection or mixture
the particoloured attire of a jester
obsolete a jester

Word Origin for motley

C14: perhaps from mot speck, mote 1
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
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