9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[spot-ee] /ˈspɒt i/
adjective, spottier, spottiest.
full of, having, or occurring in spots:
spotty coloring.
irregular or uneven in quality or character:
a spotty performance.
Origin of spotty
1300-50; Middle English; see spot, -y1
Related forms
spottily, adverb
spottiness, noun
2. erratic, random, sporadic, episodic. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for spotty
  • Most ancient peat forests die gradually, leaving only spotty evidence of what grew there.
  • While praising good intentions, environmentalists fault the government for spotty management and enforcement of regulations.
  • Wifi can be a little tricky and spotty, but it's free and you can work it out with a little patience.
  • But those systems tend to be woefully spotty in their ability to store and recall information.
  • The data on unemployment were too spotty to be comparable and so this important factor is discounted too.
  • The results were spotty, with one of the devices unable to detect the presence of digital television signals reliably.
  • The penalty is too severe, enforcement gets spotty, sentences are brief.
  • With news being as spotty as it is, that's inevitable.
  • Previous models had relied on spotty information about people's movements, collected in sporadic surveys.
  • The voice recognition is spotty in quite office environment.
British Dictionary definitions for spotty


adjective -tier, -tiest
abounding in or characterized by spots or marks, esp on the skin: a spotty face
not consistent or uniform; irregular or uneven, often in quality
Derived Forms
spottily, adverb
spottiness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for spotty

mid-14c., "marked with spots," from spot (n.). Meaning "unsteady, uneven" is attested from 1932, from a more specific use with reference to painting (1812).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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