Uncertain. Perhaps a blend of blot +‎ botch.



blotch (plural blotches)

  1. An uneven patch of color or discoloration.
    • 1711, Joseph Addison and Richard Steele, The Spectator, London: J. & R. Tonson, 12th edition, Volume I, No. 16, p. 68,[1]
      [] in healing those Blotches and Tumours which break out in the body []
    • 1768, Laurence Sterne, Sermon VI in The Sermons of Mr. Yorick, London: T. Becket & P.A. De Hondt, Volume 3, pp. 182-183,[2]
      Since the day in which this reformation began, by how many strange and critical turns has it been perfected and handed down, if not, entirely without spot or wrinkle,—at least, without great blotches or marks of anility.
    • 1860, George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss, Book II, Chapter 2,[3]
      Snow lay on the croft and river-bank in undulations softer than the limbs of infancy; [] it clothed the rough turnip-field with whiteness, and made the sheep look like dark blotches;
    • 1921, Wallace Stevens, Sur Ma Guzzla Gracile, Palace of the Babies, in Poetry, Volume 19, No. 1,[4]
      The disbeliever walked the moonlit place,
      Outside the gates of hammered serafin,
      Observing the moon-blotches on the walls.
  2. An irregularly shaped area.
    • 1839, The Silurian System:
      At Coleman's Hill, the upper beds consist of yellowish, soft, gritty sandstone, containing some small calcareous fragments, a few pebbles of quartz, blotches of red shale, and fragments of sandstone with impressions of stems of plants.
    • 1923, Willa Cather, One of Ours, Book One, Chapter 5,[5]
      His shirt showed big blotches of moisture, and the sweat was rolling in clear drops along the creases in his brown neck.
    • 1938, Henry Bake Steer, Stumpage Prices of Privately Owned Timber in the United States:
      Microscopic and sometimes macroscopic examination of the apparently healthy intervening tissue may reveal the fungus connecting the blotches of diseased tissue.
    • 2010, J.M.G. Le Clezio, The Book of Flights, →ISBN:
      Evil places where the wind whistles and the dust grates, places that are blotches of shadow, blotches of rust, blotches of oil: innumerable blotches.
  3. (figuratively) Imperfection; blemish on one’s reputation, stain.
    • 1921, Warren G. Harding, Inaugural address, in Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States: from George Washington to Barack Obama, Washington, D.C.: U.S. G.P.O., 1989,[6]
      There never can be equality of rewards or possessions so long as the human plan contains varied talents and differing degrees of industry and thrift, but ours ought to be a country free from the great blotches of distressed poverty.
  4. Any of various crop diseases that cause the plant to form spots.
    • 1926, John William Roberts & Leslie Pierce, Apple blotch, page 3:
      The fungus causing blotch lives through the winter in the cankers which it has developed on twigs, water sprouts, and fruit spurs.
    • 1951, Dean Humboldt Rose, Lacy Porter McColloch, & D. F. Fisher, Market Diseases of Fruits and Vegetables: Apples, Pears, Quinces:
      Blue mold and the black rot fungus are most Commonly found associated with blotch in this way.
    • 1999, Diseases of Horticultural Crops: Vegetables, Ornamentals, and Mushrooms, →ISBN:
      Blotch is one of the most common and serious diseases of A. bisporus and is responsible for considerable losses.
    • 2015, Marian Petre, Mushroom Biotechnology: Developments and Applications, →ISBN, page 98:
      Pseudomonas is the major spoilage genus associated with blotch in fresh mushrooms.
  5. A bright or dark spot on old film caused by dirt and loss of the gelatin covering the film, due to age and poor film quality.
    • 1999, Jim Byrnes, Signal Processing for Multimedia, →ISBN, page 173:
      Characteristics of blotches are that they seldom appear at the same spatial location in consecutive frames, they tend to be smooth (little texture), and they usually have intensity values that are very different from the original contents they cover.
    • 2000, A. Hanjalic, G.C. Langelaar, & P.M.B. van Roosmalen, Image and Video Databases: Restoration, Watermarking and Retrieval, →ISBN, page 14:
      Films corrupted by blotches are often restored in a two-step approach. The first step detects blotches and generates binary detection masks that indicate whether each pixel is part of a blotch. The second step corrects pixels by means of spatio-temporal interpolation.
    • 2005, Pinar Yolum, Computer and Information Sciences - ISCIS 2005, →ISBN:
      Archive film materials are particularly degraded by blotch, scratch, flicker and noise.
  6. A dark spot on the skin; a pustule.
  7. (slang) Blotting paper.

Derived termsEdit



blotch (third-person singular simple present blotches, present participle blotching, simple past and past participle blotched)

  1. (transitive) To mark with blotches.
    • 1770, Arthur Young, A Six Months Tour through the North of England, London: W. Strahan, Volume 2, p. 258,[7]
      Upon the whole, the spirit and relief of the figures, with the strength of the colouring, render it a most noble picture; and it is not done in the coarse blotching stile, so common to the pieces which pass under the name of Bassan.
    • 1860, W. R. Tymms, The Art of Illuminating as Practised in Europe from the Earliest Times, London: Day & Son, Chapter 40, p. 84,[8]
      A straight-edge is placed upon the chalk lines, with the edge next the line slightly raised, and the brush, well filled with colour, drawn along it, just touching the wall, the pressure being never increased, and the brush refilled whenever it is near failing; but great care must be taken that it be not too full, as in that case it will be apt to blotch the line, or drop the colour upon the lower portions of the wall.
    • 1914, Arthur Conan Doyle, The Valley of Fear, Part 1, Chapter 4,[9]
      Just beyond were two ancient stone pillars, weather-stained and lichen-blotched bearing upon their summits a shapeless something which had once been the rampant lion of Capus of Birlstone.
    • 1918, D. H. Lawrence, Parliament Hill in the Evening in New Poems,[10]
      The houses fade in a melt of mist
      Blotching the thick, soiled air
      With reddish places that still resist
      The Night’s slow care.
    • 1934, Sinclair Lewis, Work of Art, Chapter 1,[11]
      His strong skin was of the Norse snow-fed pallor that no sun ever tanned, no adolescence ever blotched.
    • 2007, Patricia A. Gwartney, The Telephone Interviewer's Handbook, →ISBN:
      Returning on time is crucial, because a late return can be considered a tardy, and too many tardies can blotch an employment record.
    • 2010, Bob Flexner, Flexner on Finishing, →ISBN:
      The only thing you can do in finishing that can't be fixed fairly easily is to blotch the wood with a stain.
    • 2013, Fay E. Ward -, The Cowboy at Work, →ISBN:
      There are some pointers which a hand operating an iron must keep in mind: If a brand is not burned deep enough, it will not peel, and if the iron is too hot, especially when a complicated stamp iron is used, it is pretty sure to blotch the brand.
    • 2015, Henry S. Sharp & Karyn Sharp, Hunting Caribou, →ISBN:
      A slightly incorrect choice of wood for the smoking fire or allowing the smoke to grow too thick can blotch its finish and result in a nearly unusable finished hide.
  2. (intransitive) To develop blotches, to become blotchy.
    • 1878, Arthur Morecamp (pseudonym of Thomas Pilgrim), Live Boys; or, Charley and Nasho in Texas, Boston: Lee & Shepard, Chapter 17, p. 166,[12]
      [] when a man is going to drive cattle out of the county he has to put a road-brand on them [] It is generally made of letters or figures, or something that won’t cross lines, because where they cross they are apt to blotch and then it’s hard to tell what the brand is and who the animal belongs to.
    • 2008, Mary Jane Warr, Making Sense of Self-Esteem, →ISBN, page 10:
      Our waistline will extend a few more inches at least, and our aging skin will blotch and sag.
    • 2011, Fine Woodworking Best Finishing Techniques, →ISBN, page 207:
      These areas, which also will take longer to dry, are the ones that will blotch when a dye or oil-based finish is applied.
    • 2012, Sue Weaver, Storey's Guide to Raising Miniature Livestock, →ISBN:
      The simpler the brand, the lesser the likelihood that it will blotch and be unsightly and hard to read.

Derived termsEdit