American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- adj. Having elements of great variety or incongruity; heterogeneous: "Most Ivy League freshman classes are chosen from a motley collection of constituencies . . . and a bare majority of entering students can honestly be called scholars” ( New York Times).
- adj. Having many colors; variegated; parti-colored: a motley tunic.
- n. The parti-colored attire of a court jester.
- n. A heterogeneous, often incongruous mixture of elements.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A habit made of pieces of cloth of different colors in glaring contrast: the usual dress of the jester or professional fool.
- n. A jester; a fool.
- n. Any mixture, as of colors.
- Party-colored; variegated in color; consisting of different colors: as, a motley coat.
- Composed of or exhibiting a combination of discordant elements; heterogeneous in composition; diversified.
- To variegate; give different colors to.
- adj. Comprising greatly varied elements, to the point of incongruity; heterogeneous
- adj. Having many colours; variegated
- n. A jester's multicoloured clothes
- n. An incongruous mixture
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. Variegated in color; consisting of different colors; dappled; party-colored.
- adj. Wearing motley or party-colored clothing. See Motley, n., 1.
- adj. Composed of different or various parts; heterogeneously made or mixed up; discordantly composite.
- n. A combination of distinct colors; esp., the party-colored cloth, or clothing, worn by the professional fool.
- n. obsolete Hence, a jester, a fool.
- adj. consisting of a haphazard assortment of different kinds
- adj. having sections or patches colored differently and usually brightly
- n. a collection containing a variety of sorts of things
- n. a garment made of motley (especially a court jester's costume)
- v. make something more diverse and varied
- n. a multicolored woolen fabric woven of mixed threads in 14th to 17th century England
- v. make motley; color with different colors
- Middle English motlei, variegated cloth, variegated, probably from Anglo-Norman, probably from Middle English mot, speck; see mote1. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“That Hazlitt learned to express his thoughts “in motley imagery or quaint allusion”, that his understanding “ever found a language to express itself, I owe to Coleridge”, he later wrote.”
“First, Chinese males became effeminate fops, who dressed in motley silk costumes and sported ridiculously long fingernails.”
“International motley is not limited to any continent, nor did it originate in any theory or concept of dress.”
“The people in motley processions surge toward the center of attraction in the courtyard of the Golden Tiled Temple, where in a pavillion erected as a temporary shrine stands the great butter image they have come to worship.”
“On another occasion he entitled his motley force the Sans”
“I use the word motley in the sense of incongruous or nonsensical, as evidenced by the protest signs they were carrying.”
“Who would prefer that Coleridge be Schelling?), but his career as a writer in motley genres and sundry places was enabled by his vacillation, his apostasies, the intractable irritability of his text.”
“I think, recalling a motley bunch of candidates in past U.S. elections, including former stars of the big screen and even muscle-bound athletes.”
“It was in whimsical parody of those gay and somewhat promiscuous assemblages that Goldsmith used to call the motley evening parties at his lodgings “little Cornelys.””
“This was the beginning of the Rowley fiction -- which might be metaphorically described as a motley edifice, half castle and half cathedral, to which Chatterton all his life was continually adding columns and buttresses, domes and spires, pediments and minarets, in the shape of more poems by Thomas Rowley (a secular priest of St. John's, Bristol); or by his patron the munificent William Canynge”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘motley’.
A complete Barron's Wordlist for GRE preparation. Your online flashcard replacement.
A list of bejumble and minglement.
words from the world of Bas-Lag
135 Offensive Shakespearean Terms =)
From Notre Dame de Paris by good ole Victor Hugo. (Also called The Hunchback of Notre Dame.)
Looking for tweets for motley.