var·​ie·​gat·​ed | \ ˈver-ē-ə-ˌgā-təd How to pronounce variegated (audio) , 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 Rafting through the Grand Canyon More than six million tourists visit the Grand Canyon each year, but only about 20,000 of them get to see its variegated rock cliffs and dramatic, hardscrabble scenery from the water. Jennifer Barger, National Geographic, "Trips of a lifetime: Secrets from our readers," 19 Dec. 2019 Through it all, the variegated landscape has been painstakingly revived, building by building, trail by trail, and so much in between. San Francisco Chronicle, "But the trust can do only so much at a time.," 7 Jan. 2017 Some are round, others torpedo-shaped, big and small and with rinds that are variously black-green, golden, variegated or striped. Washington Post, "Flood followed by drought equals a good year for melons," 5 Nov. 2019 Like Kelley, too, Ms. Benz is uncommonly good at conjuring the perspectives of a variegated cast. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: The Great Migration North," 28 June 2019 This plant has glossy, variegated foliage with lime edges that become golden in late summer. Arricca Sansone, Country Living, "20 Best Boxwood Shrubs to Plant in Your Garden," 14 Feb. 2019 This is in any case an extremely assorted collection, as befits a crew of variegated weirdos, each with a diagram pulsating above his or her head. Luc Sante, Harper's magazine, "A Crew of Variegated Weirdos," 10 Jan. 2019 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 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

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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Time Traveler for variegated

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The first known use of variegated was in 1615

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Statistics for variegated

Last Updated

28 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Variegated.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 January 2020.

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More Definitions for variegated


How to pronounce variegated (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of variegated

: having patches, stripes, or marks of different colors
formal : 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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Comments on variegated

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good-natured easy friendliness

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