spot·ty | \ˈspä-tē \
spottier; spottiest

Definition of spotty 

1 : marked with spots : spotted

2 : lacking uniformity especially in quality the performance was spotty also : irregularly or sparsely distributed spotty attendance spotty data

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Other Words from spotty

spottily \ˈspä-tə-lē \ adverb
spottiness \ˈspä-tē-nəs \ noun

Examples of spotty in a Sentence

Her work has been spotty. The service at that restaurant is a little spotty. students with spotty attendance records
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Recent Examples on the Web

That explains the heightened interest in hedge funds, despite higher fees and the funds’ spotty record of meeting their stated goal of making money under any market conditions. Kosaku Narioka, WSJ, "Japan’s Institutional Investors Seek Reliable Returns in Hedge Funds," 3 June 2018 Cubana has struggled with a spotty safety record in the past — including several crashes in the late 1990s that left scores dead. New York Times, "Hand-Me-Down Plane That Crashed Reflects a Cuban Air Industry in Crisis," 19 May 2018 The airline blames its spotty record on a lack of parts and airplanes because of the U.S. trade embargo against the communist-run country. Washington Post, "Airliner with 110 aboard crashes in Cuba, 3 said to survive," 18 May 2018 Miller, 46, has had a spotty discipline record while at the Osceola County Jail. David Harris,, "Accused Kissimmee cop killer moved to Orange jail after officer uses force on him," 17 Apr. 2018 Area residents reported power outages and spotty cellphone coverage as the flows destroy power lines. Trevor Hughes, USA TODAY, "New evacuations ordered as fast-flowing Hawaii lava blocks major volcano escape route," 30 May 2018 Meanwhile, as news of the flood spread, sheriff's switchboards were deluged with calls from people whose relatives only seemed to be missing because of spotty cell coverage and traffic jams. azcentral, "Into the water," 15 May 2018 My journey ended at Travaasa Hana, where cell phone service was spotty at best, and the crashing waves of Hana Bay acted as a euphoric amenity to the picturesque sea cottages. Jenn Rice, Vogue, "How to Vacation in Maui for Self-Guidance and Healing This Summer," 8 July 2018 Cell phone service was spotty at best, and honestly, I was delighted by a break from the digital world. Helena Oliviero, ajc, "Plan your trip: A guide to the Okefenokee swamp," 2 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spotty.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of spotty

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for spotty

Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for spotty

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

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More Definitions for spotty



English Language Learners Definition of spotty

: not always good : good in some parts or at some times but not others

: marked with spots


spot·ty | \ˈspä-tē \
spottier; spottiest

Kids Definition of spotty

1 : having spots

2 : not always the same especially in quality Your work has been spotty.

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Comments on spotty

What made you want to look up spotty? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that holds something together

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