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

Many other companies already purport to forecast stock prices with similar techniques, although the track record of firms investing real money in artificial-intelligence strategies is spotty at best. Jason Zweig, WSJ, "How to Talk Back to Those Spam Investment Pitches in Your Inbox," 9 Nov. 2018 But despite its very sleek user experience, PS Vue is hindered a bit by iffy performance on some platforms and spotty availability of all big four broadcast networks; many markets just have one or two. Chris Welch, The Verge, "The best streaming TV apps," 12 Oct. 2018 But at the end of February, the spacecraft broke off communications again, and since then, the signal from the satellite has been spotty or nonexistent. Meghan Bartels,, "Long-Lost Spacecraft That NASA Rediscovered This Year Is Incommunicado," 30 Aug. 2018 There are still places in the islands where the power’s a little spotty, the internet isn’t consistent. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "How Country Music Star Kenny Chesney Is Helping to Rebuild the Hurricane-Battered Virgin Islands," 1 Aug. 2018 Today, power remains spotty on the island and some homes remain without roofs. Cristela Guerra,, "Stay or go? Decision time nears for displaced Puerto Rican families," 28 June 2018 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

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

2 Dec 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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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

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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