Definitions for motleyˈmɒt li
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word motley
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
mot•leyˈmɒt li(adj.; n.)(pl.)-leys.
(adj.)exhibiting great diversity of elements; heterogeneous.
being of different colors combined; parti-colored.
wearing a parti-colored garment:
a motley fool.
(n.)a combination of different colors.
the parti-colored garment of a jester.
a heterogeneous assemblage.
Origin of motley:
1350–1400; ME; orig. obscure
John Lothrop, 1814–77, U.S. historian.
assortment, mixture, mixed bag, miscellany, miscellanea, variety, salmagundi, smorgasbord, potpourri, motley(noun)
a collection containing a variety of sorts of things
"a great assortment of cars was on display"; "he had a variety of disorders"; "a veritable smorgasbord of religions"
a garment made of motley (especially a court jester's costume)
a multicolored woolen fabric woven of mixed threads in 14th to 17th century England
assorted, miscellaneous, mixed, motley, sundry(a)(adj)
consisting of a haphazard assortment of different kinds
"an arrangement of assorted spring flowers"; "assorted sizes"; "miscellaneous accessories"; "a mixed program of baroque and contemporary music"; "a motley crew"; "sundry sciences commonly known as social"- I.A.Richards
motley, calico, multicolor, multi-color, multicolour, multi-colour, multicolored, multi-colored, multicoloured, multi-coloured, painted, particolored, particoloured, piebald, pied, varicolored, varicoloured(verb)
having sections or patches colored differently and usually brightly
"a jester dressed in motley"; "the painted desert"; "a particolored dress"; "a piebald horse"; "pied daisies"
vary, variegate, motley(verb)
make something more diverse and varied
"Vary the menu"
make motley; color with different colors
A jester's multicoloured clothes
An incongruous mixture
Comprising greatly varied elements, to the point of incongruity; heterogeneous
Having many colours; variegated
variegated in color; consisting of different colors; dappled; party-colored; as, a motley coat
wearing motley or party-colored clothing. See Motley, n., 1
composed of different or various parts; heterogeneously made or mixed up; discordantly composite; as, motley style
a combination of distinct colors; esp., the party-colored cloth, or clothing, worn by the professional fool
hence, a jester, a fool
Motley refers to the traditional costume of the court jester, or the harlequin character in commedia dell'arte. The latter wears a patchwork of red, green and blue diamonds that is still a fashion motif. The word motley is described in the Oxford English Dictionary as a cognate with medley, although the unrelated mottled has also contributed to the meaning. The word is most commonly used as an adjective or noun, but is also seen as a verb and adverb. When used as a noun, it can mean "a varied mixture." As an adjective, it is generally disparaging — a motley collection is an uninspiring pile of stuff, as in the cliche motley crew. The word originated in England between the 14th and 17th centuries and referred to a woolen fabric of mixed colors. It was the characteristic dress of the professional fool. During the reign of Elizabeth I, motley served the important purpose of keeping the fool outside the social hierarchy and therefore not subject to class distinction. Since the fool was outside the dress laws, the fool was able to speak more freely. Likewise, motley did not have to be checkered and has been recently thought to be one pattern with different colored threads running through it.
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