Word of the Day : August 6, 2011


adjective VAIR-ee-uh-gay-tud


1 : having discrete markings of different colors

2 : various, diverse, varied


The flower has bright variegated petals.

"Both directors, committed to close psychological observation and day-to-day realism, also draw on a rich and variegated native tradition that is evident in their work without being obvious." -- From a film festival review by A. O. Scott in The New York Times, March 23, 2011

Did You Know?

"Variegated" has been adding color to our language since the mid-17th century. It has been 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 "variegated cutworm"). It can be used by the general speaker to refer to anything marked with different colors ("a variegated silk robe") 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."

Word Family Quiz

Fill in the blanks to create a probable relative of "variegate" that means "smallpox": ail. The answer is ...


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