- 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 mottling
It lands with mischievous accuracy, mottling the crotch of my jeans.Leaky Ceilings, Catcalls, and Uncaged Pythons: 4 Hours on NYC’s Worst Subway
August 8, 2014
No polishing of sandstone will reveal the mottling of marble.A Dish Of Orts
The game was in plenty at the spring, and mottling the grassy plain.The Scalp Hunters
The mottling of the basal and median areas on this side is reddish-brown.The Butterfly Book
William Jacob Holland
Every vein and crack and mottling of that face of rock remained forever stamped upon his memory.The White Company
Arthur Conan Doyle
The mottling may, therefore, be considered as a crystallisation of the soap, in which the impurity forms the colour.The Handbook of Soap Manufacture
W. H. Simmons
- (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 mottling
1670s, probably a back-formation from motley.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper