Definition of


  1. (noun, artifact) a multicolored woolen fabric woven of mixed threads in 14th to 17th century England
  2. (noun, artifact) a garment made of motley (especially a court jester's costume)
  3. (noun, group) a collection containing a variety of sorts of things
    he had a variety of disorders
    a veritable smorgasbord of religions
  4. (verb, change) make motley; color with different colors
  5. (verb, change) make something more diverse and varied
  6. (adj, all) having sections or patches colored differently and usually brightly
    the painted desert
    a particolored dress
    a piebald horse
    pied daisies
  7. (adj, all) consisting of a haphazard assortment of different kinds
    assorted sizes
    miscellaneous accessories
    a mixed program of baroque and contemporary music
    a motley crew
    sundry sciences commonly known as social

via WordNet, Princeton University

Origin of the word Motley

  1. late 14c., from Anglo-Fr. motteley, probably from O.E. mot "speck" (see mote). "Diversified in color," especially of a fool's dress. Hence, allusively, "a fool" (1600). more

via Online Etymology Dictionary, ©2001 Douglas Harper

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