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Spot vs Spatter vs Sprinkle vs Mottle vs Fleck vs Stipple vs Marble vs Speckle vs Spangle vs Bespangle

Spotspattersprinklemottlefleckstipplemarblespecklespanglebespangle can mean to cover or to mark or to become covered or marked with spots or streaks.

The same distinctions in implications or connotations are found in their participial adjectives (often used as simple adjectives) spotted, spattered, sprinkled, mottled, flecked, stippled, marbled, speckled, spangled, bespangled.

Spot usually suggests either accident or a result of nature. When accident or carelessness is suggested, a staining or smirching is often connoted, but, when the agency of art or nature is suggested, some design is usually implied that decorates, covers, or distinguishes; this use occurs mainly in the participial adjective.

Spatter (see also SPRINKLE ) essentially implies a dispersing or scattering in fragments; in general it presupposes an action (as of boiling grease, of dashing rain, or of a person washing) that causes something to fly out in drops or bits upon something or someone.

Sprinkle (see also SPRINKLE ) implies an effect of or as if of scattering a liquid in small drops; the term may emphasize the numbers or frequency of tiny spots or the thin strewing of larger ones.

Mottle stresses an irregular spotting (as in streaks or blotches or patches) usually with another color; therefore what is mottled tends to present a clouded or a broken appearance or a surface covered with unevenly placed spots.

Fleck may imply a spot or blemish (as of the skin); usually, however, it suggests a light spotting by specks (as of snow, of color, of light, or of clouds).

Stipple basically refers to a technique in engraving, painting, or drawing in which dots or short touches rather than lines are used, especially to depict masses or to indicate shadows. The term is often extended to other things that suggest this technique or its effect.

Marble comes close to mottle , but it is specifically used when by intent or by nature the irregularly streaked effect of variegated marble is reproduced.

Speckle suggests a covering with small and often crowded spots (as of color); the term is sometimes used with a suggestion of the cause or nature of the marks.

Spangle and bespangle suggest a thick strewing with tiny sparkling bits (as of shiny metal) or with something giving a similar effect.