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Variegated vs Parti-colored vs Motley vs Checkered vs Checked vs Pied vs Piebald vs Skewbald vs Dappled vs Freaked

Variegated, parti-coloredmotleycheckeredcheckedpiedpiebaldskewbalddappledfreaked can all mean having a pattern involving different colors or shades of color.

Variegated implies variation in the color (as of a single piece, object, or specimen) without indication of what colors or what forms—spots, streaks, blotches—are involved.

Parti-colored implies the presence of two or more colors but stresses not so much the presence of different colors as their clear demarcation and distinct presentation.

Motley in most uses is likely to suggest presence of colors of very noticeable diversity in a chance, haphazard, or very capricious arrangement.

Checkered indicates a regular alternation of rectangular shapes different in color or shade like a checkerboard, especially an alternation between black and white or dark and light <the checkered fabric of Constable’s pictures, their deep undertones overlaid with variegated passages of crumbling impasto and strewn with particles of white light —Ironside >

Checked indicates much the same thing but is admissible in situations where figures are less certainly rectangular; it is common in reference to fabrics <a gambler’s checked vest>

Pied suggests patches, blotches, or spots of colors on a contrasting background and especially the white on black of a magpie’s plumage.

Piebald suggests similar coloration, especially in reference to the markings of a horse or dog, and skewbald implies an arrangement of spots and background involving white and some color other than black.

Dappled describes a marking with small spots, patches, or specks of color or shade differing from that of the background.

Freaked may suggest bold streaks of contrasting color.