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

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 The new Project Fi also does a great deal to combat spotty Wi-Fi connectivity. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Google's Project Fi Now Comes with a VPN," 13 Nov. 2018 Most of them appear to have occasional opportunities to exercise outdoors, though the data are spotty and prison officials have a lot of discretion. Adam Liptak, New York Times, "Will the Supreme Court Scrutinize Solitary Confinement? One Justice Offers a Map," 14 May 2018 Three-point shooting in the last three games – 13 of 51 for 25.5% – has been awful and productivity from the bench has been spotty and at times anemic. Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Badgers look to bounce back against struggling Illini," 18 Jan. 2018 Indonesia has had a spotty record in aviation safety over the past two decades. Barbara S. Peterson, Popular Mechanics, "How Could a Brand New Boeing Jet Crash Without Warning?," 31 Oct. 2018 But for investors hoping to expand and rake in more cash — or for investors with a spotty track record, and who are therefore more desperate — the Saudi funds are some of the biggest pools of capital around. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "Why Silicon Valley investors just can’t quit Saudi money," 25 Oct. 2018 All of this paints a picture that's consistent with the spotty historical record. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Using Medieval DNA to track the barbarian spread into Italy," 14 Sep. 2018 Power has been restored to more than 95 percent of customers, although Internet and cellphone service remains spotty. Tim Craig, Washington Post, "Shredded roofs, shattered lives," 6 Feb. 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

11 Feb 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).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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