To mottle is to speckle or dapple with dots. An artist might mottle a canvas by dripping splotches of paint on it.

You can also use mottle as a noun, for a patchy arrangement of color or light: "The dog's fur was a mottle of brown and black." The adjective mottled is more common than mottle for describing things marked with spots or blotches, and both words come from motley, which today means "mismatched" but was originally defined as "multicolored."

Definitions of mottle

v mark with spots or blotches of different color or shades of color as if stained

blotch, streak
Type of:
color, color in, colorise, colorize, colour, colour in, colourise, colourize
add color to

v color with streaks or blotches of different shades

cloud, dapple
variegate with spots or marks
speckle, stipple
produce a mottled effect
Type of:
mark with a spot or spots so as to allow easy recognition

n an irregular arrangement of patches of color

“it was not dull grey as distance had suggested, but a mottle of khaki and black and olive-green”
Type of:
color, coloring, colour, colouring
a visual attribute of things that results from the light they emit or transmit or reflect

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