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

Greater Boston was rainy and cool Saturday, however, with spotty, light rain through the afternoon and into the evening hours, hitting a high of just 52 degrees, meteorologist Bill Simpson said. Lucas Phillips,, "After a rainy Saturday, sun is expected for Mother’s Day," 12 May 2018 Model forecasts range from just some spotty light rain (0.1 inches) to a drenching (over 1.0 inches) in the immediate D.C. area, mostly between late Saturday afternoon and Saturday night. Jason Samenow, Washington Post, "Saturday afternoon and night likely to be focus of weekend rain, and it could be heavy," 4 May 2018 Thursday though some spotty light rain is expected again at the coast, and also the northern interior, and along the Cascades., "Portland metro Wednesday weather: Partly sunny after morning fog; high of 57," 7 Feb. 2018 In its 584-page report released Jan. 5, the forensic team cited a series of geological surveys revealing spotty conditions where the spillways were built. Dale Kasler And Ryan Sabalow, sacbee, "Oroville Dam spillway built on crumbling rock, warned contractor that built it," 22 Jan. 2018 Aid distribution and medical care is often spotty—stalled by violence, bureaucracy and dwindling donor money. Raja Abdulrahim, WSJ, "Battle to Oust Islamic State Takes Toll on Syrian Civilians," 13 Feb. 2019 Congress mandated the technology by the end of last year, but compliance has been spotty and the deadline has been extended. David Koenig, The Seattle Times, "Safety board highlights need for transportation improvements," 4 Feb. 2019 However, wind damage reports were spotty all along the track. Jeff Halverson, Washington Post, "Monday’s nasty line of storms wasn’t quite a derecho, but was impressive by many measures," 15 May 2018 Check out Her Platform's latest shoot below, showing you just how to embrace the spotty prints this season. Rajni Lucienne Jacques, Teen Vogue, "How to Wear Leopard Print from Head-to-Toe," 19 Nov. 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

6 May 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).


using a distributed computer network

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