motley

adjective
mot·​ley | \ ˈmät-lē How to pronounce motley (audio) \

Definition of motley

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : variegated in color a motley coat
2 : made up of many different people or things a motley crowd a motley collection of junk

motley

noun

Definition of motley (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a woolen fabric of mixed colors made in England between the 14th and 17th centuries
2 : a garment made of motley especially : the characteristic dress of the professional fool
3 : jester, fool
4 : a mixture especially of incongruous elements

Motley

biographical name
Mot·​ley | \ ˈmät-lē How to pronounce Motley (audio) \

Definition of Motley (Entry 3 of 3)

John Lothrop 1814–1877 American historian

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Motley Might Have Roots in Middle English

Adjective

Motley made its debut as an English adjective in the 14th century, but etymologists aren't completely sure where it came from. Many think it probably derived from the Middle English mot, meaning "mote" or "speck." The word is also used as a noun identifying a multicolored fabric, a garment made from such a fabric, or-perhaps the best known sense of all-the fool who often wore such outfits in the European courts of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Examples of motley in a Sentence

Adjective

a motley collection of junk a motley crew of musicians

Noun

the motleys with their colorful outfits a motley of old junk stored in the attic
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First Known Use of motley

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for motley

Adjective

Middle English, perhaps from mot mote, speck

Noun

Middle English, probably from motley entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near motley

motive power

motivity

mot juste

motley

Motley

motley crew

motmot

Statistics for motley

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Time Traveler for motley

The first known use of motley was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for motley

motley

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of motley

usually disapproving : made up of many different people or things

motley

adjective
mot·​ley | \ ˈmät-lē How to pronounce motley (audio) \

Kids Definition of motley

: composed of various often unlike kinds or parts a motley collection of junk

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More from Merriam-Webster on motley

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with motley

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for motley

Spanish Central: Translation of motley

Nglish: Translation of motley for Spanish Speakers

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