john motley

< /ˈloʊ θrəp/, 1814–77, U.S. historian and diplomat.


  1. made up of elements of varying type, quality, etc
  2. multicoloured


  1. a motley collection or mixture
  2. the particoloured attire of a jester
  3. obsolete a jester

late 14c., “parti-colored” (originally of fabric), from Anglo-French motteley, probably from Old English mot “speck” (see mote). But Klein’s sources say probably from Gaulish. “Diversified in color,” especially of a fool’s dress. Hence, allusively, “a fool” (1600). As a noun meaning “cloth of mixed color” from late 14c.

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