var·​ie·​gat·​ed | \ˈver-ē-ə-ˌgā-təd, ˈver-i-ˌgā-\

Definition of variegated 

1 : having discrete markings of different colors variegated leaves

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The Colorful History of Variegated

Variegated has been adding color to our language since the 17th century. It is used in botany to describe the presence of two or more colors in the leaves, petals, or other parts of plants, and it also appears in the names of some animals (such as the variegated cutworm). It can be used by the general speaker to refer to anything marked with different colors ("a variegated silk robe," for instance) or to things that are simply various and diverse ("a variegated collection"). Variegated has a variety of relatives in English—it is ultimately derived from the Latin root varius, meaning "varied," which also gave us vary, various, and variety.

Examples of variegated in a Sentence

the variegated costumes of the dancers in the nightclub a variety of variegated tulip that is highly prized by gardeners

Recent Examples on the Web

Many have fuzzy, variegated leaves in colors ranging from light pink to dark purple and yellow to dark green. Collier Sutter, House Beautiful, "The One Plant You Need In Your Home This Fall," 1 Oct. 2018 In cooler areas, combine white-flowered H. plantaginea with variegated Japanese silver grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Cabaret'), garden phlox, and other perennials in borders protected from the hottest afternoon sun. Kris Wetherbee, Good Housekeeping, "How to Grow the Most Stunning Hostas," 7 Aug. 2018 The sound of the ensemble itself, its very personality, bound the movements together even as the variegated compositional styles flickered by. Peter Dobrin,, "The Crossing choir premieres vivid new Kile Smith work," 1 July 2018 In cooler areas, combine white-flowered H. plantaginea with variegated Japanese silver grass (Miscanthussinensis 'Caberet'), garden phlox (Phlox paniculata), and other perennials in borders protected from the hottest afternoon sun. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "How To Grow The Most Stunning Hostas," 16 May 2017 The sunlight, passing through it, became variegated and dazzling, dancing, enchanting. Lu Yang, The New Yorker, "Silver Tiger," 4 June 2017 Also, look at the color of the foliage: golden, gray and variegated leaves add pops of color and draw the eye through the garden., "6 vibrant, colorful shrubs to spruce up Oregon gardens," 9 Apr. 2018 There’s a mesmerizing appeal to many of its panoramas, with their variegated colors, dense vegetation and drifting, swirling white mist. Manohla Dargis, New York Times, "Review: ‘Legend of the Mountain,’ a Magical Mystery Marathon in Ancient China," 1 Feb. 2018 Potted plants and hanging baskets from 21 cultivars - red, pink, maroon, orange, white and variegated - are available. Adrian Higgins, Houston Chronicle, "Dreaming of a white (or pink) poinsettia?," 15 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'variegated.' 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 variegated

1615, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for variegated

from past participle of variegate

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Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for variegated

The first known use of variegated was in 1615

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English Language Learners Definition of variegated

: having patches, stripes, or marks of different colors

: including many different things : full of variety


var·​ie·​gat·​ed | \ˈver-ē-ə-ˌgā-təd, ˈver-i-ˌgā-\

Kids Definition of variegated

1 : having patches, stripes, or marks of different colors variegated leaves

2 : full of variety

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