mottle

[ mot-l ]
/ ˈmɒt l /
See synonyms for: mottle / mottled on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object), mot·tled, mot·tling.

to mark or diversify with spots or blotches of a different color or shade.

noun

a diversifying spot or blotch of color.
mottled coloring or pattern.

QUIZZES

DISCOVER THE INFLUENCE OF PORTUGUESE ON ENGLISH VIA THIS QUIZ!

We’ve gathered some interesting words donated to English from Portuguese … as well as some that just don’t translate at all. Do you know what they mean?
Question 1 of 11
Which of the following animal names traces its immediate origin to Portuguese?

Origin of mottle

First recorded in 1670–80; probably back formation from motley

OTHER WORDS FROM mottle

mot·tle·ment, nounmottler, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for mottle

  • 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
  • Let God make His sunsets: I will mottle my little fading cloud.

  • Gangs of buffalo, herds of antelope, and droves of wild horses, mottle the far vistas.

British Dictionary definitions for mottle

mottle
/ (ˈmɒtəl) /

verb

(tr) to colour with streaks or blotches of different shades

noun

a mottled appearance, as of the surface of marble
one streak or blotch of colour in a mottled surface

Word Origin for mottle

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