spot·​ty | \ ˈspä-tē How to pronounce spotty (audio) \
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 How to pronounce spottily (audio) \ adverb
spottiness \ ˈspä-​tē-​nəs How to pronounce spottiness (audio) \ 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

The traditional method, where service members or expatriates request ballots by mail and submit absentee votes, isn’t tamper-proof and relies on sometimes-spotty postal services. Caitlin Ostroff, WSJ, "Blockchain at the Ballot Box? Maybe Someday," 1 Aug. 2018 Although the methodology behind such calculations is spotty, economists estimate that slavery and the years of discrimination that followed deprived the African-American community of more than $10 trillion. Michael Tanner, National Review, "The Wrenching Reparations Question," 26 June 2019 Staying power has been spotty for the 29-year-old this season. Maria Torres,, "Angels’ Felix Pena would have liked to pitch one more inning against Cardinals," 22 June 2019 Armour’s career at TPC River Highlands has been spotty. Shawn Mcfarland,, "Ryan Armour, Abraham Ancer lead six-way tie at top of crowded leaderboard after Travelers Championship first round," 21 June 2019 His prospects for confirmation have been spotty due in large part to questions about his lengthy work as former Boeing executive and persistent questions about possible conflicts of interest. Lolita C. Baldor,, "Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan steps down to avoid ‘painful’ family situation," 18 June 2019 The cellphone service is spotty, so even uploading something to social media can take 15 or 20 minutes, and the dream of uploading videos to show customers what's available or grow interest in the farm seems unattainable right now. Mallory Simon, CNN, "America's infrastructure is crumbling and these people are suffering because of it," 17 June 2019 Before this, recycling data in Alabama was spotty at best. Dennis Pillion |,, "Alabama hits recycling milestone, keeping quarter of all trash from landfills," 16 June 2019 Phone lines jammed and even police radios were spotty after a major earthquake, but his cellphone was recently equipped with a national wireless network dedicated to first responders. Author: Rachel D'oro, Anchorage Daily News, "Big earthquake let Anchorage police test new national broadband network for first responders," 13 June 2019

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

15 Jul 2019

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

chiefly US : not always good : good in some parts or at some times but not others
: marked with spots


spot·​ty | \ ˈspä-tē How to pronounce spotty (audio) \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on spotty

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spotty

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for spotty

Spanish Central: Translation of spotty

Nglish: Translation of spotty for Spanish Speakers

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).


food or victuals

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