First Name
in the U.S.
since 1880
Last Name
in the U.S.
in 2010
On This Page

How to Pronounce Motley

  • Automated Male (English)
    Is this an accurate pronunciation?
  • Automated Female (English)
    Is this an accurate pronunciation?
How difficult is it to pronounce Motley?

Meaning and Origin

What does the name Motley mean? Find out below.

Origin and Meaning of Motley

Submit the origin and/or meaning of Motley to us below

Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
adjective Mot"ley
  1. Variegated in color; consisting of different colors; dappled; party-colored; as, a motley coat.
  2. Wearing motley or party-colored clothing. See Motley (n.), 1."A motleyfool." [Shak.]
  3. Composed of different or various parts; heterogeneously made or mixed up; discordantly composite; as, motley style.

Etymology: OE. mottelee motle; cf. OF. mattelé clotted, curdled, OF, ciel mattonné a mottled sky, mate maton, curdled milk, Prov. G. matte curd. Cf. Mottle

noun Mot"ley
  1. A combination of distinct colors; esp., the party-colored cloth, or clothing, worn by the professional fool.Chaucer." Motley's the only wear."Shak.
  2. Hence, a jester, a fool.(Obs)(Obs)Beau. & Fl.
Other Dictionary Sources
  1. A multicolored woolen fabric woven of mixed threads in 14th to 17th century England
  2. A garment made of motley (especially a court jester's costume)
  3. A collection containing a variety of sorts of things
  4. Make motley; color with different colors
  5. Make something more diverse and varied
  6. Having sections or patches colored differently and usually brightly ("a jester dressed in motley")
  7. Consisting of a haphazard assortment of different kinds ("a motley crew")

From Middle English, from Anglo-Norman motteley (“parti-colored”), late 14th c., from Old English mot (“speck”), cognate with mote.

  1. An incongruous mixture.
  2. A jester's multicoloured clothes.
  3. (by extension) A jester; a fool.

Notable Persons With the Last Name Motley

Constance Baker Motley was a Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Borough President of Manhattan, Chief Judge of theUnited States District Court for the . Constance was born on September 21st, 1921 in New Haven, Connecticut. She breathed her last breath on September 28th, 2005.


Jr. Archibald John Motley was a in the field of painting. Jr. was born on October 7th, 1891 in New Orleans. He left this life on January 16th, 1981.


John Lothrop Motley was a historian, diplomat, and historian anddiplomat. John was born on April 15th, 1814 in Dorchester, near Boston, Massachusetts. He left this life on May 29th, 1877.


Marion Motley was a football player. Marion was born on June 5th, 1920 in Leesburg, Georgia. He passed away on June 27th, 1999.


Mabel Motley is a fictional character.


Kimberley Motley is a ceo, attorney, and entrepreneur.


Where is the name Motley popular?

View popular names by state or region.

Popularity of Motley as a last name

The map shows the absolute popularity of the name Motley as a last name in each of the states. See other popular names in Virginia, Alabama, or North Carolina.

Ethnicity Distribution

Ethnicity Motley U.S.
  White 52.47% 64.26%
  African American 41.06% 11.96%
  Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 0.39% 4.85%
  American Indian and Alaska Native 0.93% 0.69%
  Two or More Ethnicities 2.88% 1.76%
  Hispanic or Latino 2.26% 16.26%

Of Last Name Motley

People with the last name Motley are most frequently White or African American

Entire United States

Fun Facts about the name Motley

  • How Popular is the name Motley? Motley is the 74,766th most popular name of all time. As a last name Motley was the 3,480th most popular name in 2010.
  • How many people with the first name Motley have been born in the United States? From 1880 to 2017, the Social Security Administration has recorded 10 babies born with the first name Motley in the United States.
  • What year were 5 or more babies first named Motley? The name was first given to 5 or more babies in the year 2010 when it was given as a first name to 5 new born babies.
  • When was Motley first recorded in the United States? The oldest recorded birth by the Social Security Administration for the first name Motley is Wednesday, March 19th, 1884.
  • What year had the most people named Motley born? The highest recorded use of the first name Motley was in 2010 with a total of 5 babies.
  • Weird things about the name Motley: Your name in reverse order is Yeltom. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Eylmot. How do you pronounce that?
  • How many people have the last name Motley? In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 10,274 people with the last name Motley.
  • How likely are you to meet someone with the last name of Motley? If you manage to meet 100,000 people in your life, chances are that 3 of them will have Motley as their last name.

What Motleys Have Visited This Page?

Name poster for Motley

Name poster for Motley(click to save the high quality version)

Most Popular Names

All Name Lists

  • Sources:
  • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
  • U.S. Social Security Administration: Popular Baby Names, Death Master File (public domain).
  • 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary via the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (License)
  • Other Dictionary Sources: WordNet 3.1 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University (License).
  • Wiktionary: Titles and License.
  • Notable persons via Wikipedia: Titles and License. Click each image for the attribution information.