Definition of mottle in English:


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


[with object]


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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
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    • 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
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    • 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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a small amount; a little