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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.
    • 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.
  2. An irregularly shaped spot. (Can we verify(+) this sense?)
  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.

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.
  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.