noun, plural mot·leys.
- motive power,
- motley, john lothrop,
- moto perpetuo,
Origin of motley
Examples from the Web for motley
A motley crew of former sailors led by Commodore Joshua Barney mounted the only real resistance to the British.The Presidential Hopeful Obsessed With the War of 1812|Ben Jacobs|September 9, 2014|DAILY BEAST
A motley crew, to be sure: Islamic states, sub-Saharan Africa, China.At the United Nations, It’s Human Rights, Putin-Style|Jay Michaelson|June 26, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The motley crew cast participates in an illegal cross-country car race, while doing anything to win.
And a motley cast of characters—is that a guy in a chicken costume?
Works beautifully with lids of any size, and fits under one of our motley assortment of work islands with no trouble.
The motley passengers were all sound asleep; no one had been disturbed by the fracas.Pirates of the Gorm|Nat Schachner
The irruption of this motley crew with beat of drum, according to ancient custom, was the consummation of uproar and merriment.The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.|Washington Irving
Along that gorge rode a motley throng—bearded men on half-wild horses, five hundred strong, bristling with weapons.The People of the Black Circle|Robert E. Howard
It clothed itself in motley flesh, and passed through green meadows and shady forests.
We believe these to have been sincere expressions—inside his motley garb he had a heart of tenderness.History of English Humour, Vol. 2 (of 2)|Alfred Guy Kingan L'Estrange
Word Origin for motley
late 14c., "parti-colored" (originally of fabric), from Anglo-French motteley, probably from Old English mot "speck" (see mote). But Klein's sources say probably from Gaulish. "Diversified in color," especially of a fool's dress. Hence, allusively, "a fool" (1600). As a noun meaning "cloth of mixed color" from late 14c.