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Line breaks: mot¦tle
Pronunciation: /ˈmɒt(ə)l

Definition of mottle in English:


[with object]
Mark with spots or smears of colour: green leaves that are heavily mottled with chocolate and maroon (as adjective mottled) a bird with mottled brown plumage
More example sentences
  • The Upland Sandpiper is a black, brown, and white mottled bird with a long neck and tail and yellow legs.
  • The bald skin is mottled with age spots, which have gone crusty.
  • The woman was wearing a short sleeved beige top and her bare arms were mottled red from the cold.


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1An irregular arrangement of spots or patches of colour: the ship was not dull grey as distance had suggested, but a mottle of khaki and black and olive green
More example sentences
  • Cold Mountain was a mottle of colour, rising behind the house.
1.1A spot or patch forming part of a mottled arrangement: a pale grey with lighter grey mottles
More example sentences
  • Peanuts will grow in clay loam, but small clay particles stick to the textured surfaces of mature peanut pods, leaving mottles that mar the beauty of the shells.
  • People like the original glass, even if it does have a few mottles.
  • Remarkably, however, the rooms on the second floor below show little sign of decay, bar some mottles on the ceiling.


late 18th century: probably a back-formation from motley.

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