MOTLEY, i.e. of many colours, a term particularly used of the parti-coloured dress of the professional " fool " (q.v.) of the middle and later ages. The origin of the word is probably to be found in " mote " (O. Eng. mot), a particle of dust, etc., hence a spot or patch. " Mottle," a blotch or spot, is probably a back formation of motley.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)