Word of the Day



a coloured mark on something, especially a red mark on your skin

Origin and usage

The word blotch can be traced back to the early 1600s, and is thought to be derived from the combination of the words ‘blot’ and ‘botch’. As a word originating from these two words, the combined potential root of blotch spans many different languages including Old English, Norse, French and Middle Dutch.


The word blotch refers to a specific and narrow meaning, indicating a coloured mark that disrupts a surface such as skin or a blank piece of paper. If someone is said to have blotchy skin it can mean that they are blushing or flushed, making their complexion uneven. Blotch can also describe a rash or blemish on the skin which can be caused when someone suffers from acne or another ailment. A blotch on a piece of paper would occur if you dripped ink on it from a fountain pen.

The word blotch comes from the joining of two separate words with similar meanings, blot and botch. In common usage, the word blot refers to a liquid droplet that has fallen on a surface, while botch relates to something that has been carelessly marred. Drawing from both these ideas, blotch describes a mark that discolours an otherwise spotless expanse.


“The brown blotches of the benevolent skin cancer the sun brings from its reflection on the tropic sea were on his cheeks. The blotches ran well down the sides of his face…”

(Ernest Hemingway)

“Franny was staring at the little blotch of sunshine with a special intensity, as if she were considering lying down in it.”

(J.D. Salinger)


abrasion, blemish, mark, rash

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary is an award-winning, one-stop reference for English learners and speakers around the world.

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