checkered

The author who sells a million copies of her first book, four of the second, wins a prize for the third and dies at the ceremony has had a checkered career: it's got bright spots and dark ones, like a checkerboard.

Checkered is a funny word; it can be used to describe the red and white pattern on a classic tablecloth or the up's and down's of someone's past. You could describe the flag that's waved at a Nascar event as checkered. And if the winning Nascar driver used to work at a car wash, you could say he has had a checkered career.

Definitions of checkered
1

adj patterned with alternating squares of color

Synonyms:
checked, chequered
patterned
having patterns (especially colorful patterns)

adj marked by changeable fortune

“a checkered business career”
Synonyms:
changeable, changeful
such that alteration is possible; having a marked tendency to change

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