var·​ie·​gat·​ed ˈver-ē-ə-ˌgā-təd How to pronounce variegated (audio)
: 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 This donation, announced in conjunction with the Arkansas Razorbacks homecoming football game last month, will allow pantry staff to increase accessibility to fresh produce, foods reflective of their cultures, and more variegated products, according to the university. Ryan Anderson,, 25 Nov. 2023 The tree is nice and full and doesn’t require much fluffing, all thanks to extra long branches with variegated needles. Erin Johnson, Peoplemag, 10 Nov. 2023 Three particularly pretty varieties to keep in mind when you seed-source for spring are the flamboyant variegated cockscomb, Celosia ‘Orange Peach’, and Celosia ‘Flamingo Feather,’ which would all add incredible color and texture to both fresh and dried arrangements. Sunset Magazine, 27 Sep. 2023 Some hardy choices in this red planter include 'Baby Blue' false cypress, 'Goldcrest' Monterey cypress, 'Taylor' juniper, and 'Emerald Gaiety' variegated wintercreeper. Andrea Beck, Better Homes & Gardens, 27 Sep. 2023 The variegated Japanese sedge has striped, yellow-green blades that arch elegantly among fellow plants. Karen Hugg, Washington Post, 19 Sep. 2023 The rock-like interiors are fabricated via shotcrete, the method used to construct the curving concrete forms of skateparks and swimming pools; the tones are the variegated colors of sand. Carolina A. Miranda, Los Angeles Times, 29 Aug. 2023 Then add the variegated pittosporum, and place trailing ivy on one side for a modern, asymmetrical look. 02 10-Minute Votives Collect a bunch of mini pumpkins from your grocery store for a low-price, high-impact decorating choice. Katherine Owen, Southern Living, 28 Aug. 2023 Inside the structure, dozens of rows of plants — monstera albos, variegated alocasias and anthuriums — enjoy the warm, humid air that surrounds them. Anna Braz, Los Angeles Times, 10 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'variegated.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


from past participle of variegate

First Known Use

1615, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of variegated was in 1615


Dictionary Entries Near variegated

Cite this Entry

“Variegated.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


: having patches, stripes, or marks of different colors
variegated flowers
: full of variety
a variegated career

More from Merriam-Webster on variegated

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