Spotty - (N. Amer.) of uneven quality; patchy

uneven - not uniform or equal

What is the meaning of quality in this context?

2 Answers 2


“quality” here means degree of good/bad.

A common example would be wireless signal as you move around a city. In some places (or spots) it’s good, and in others it is bad. We could call this uneven coverage “spotty”.


That sense of "quality" means "how good things are". If they are defective, they are of low quality. If they are flawless, they are of high quality. If quality is spotty or uneven, some examples will be good, and some will not be as good.

American Heritage Dictionary "quality"
3b. b. Degree or grade of excellence: yard goods of low quality.

  • 1
    An famous English cartoon of the Victorian era showed a young country curate (junior priest) invited to dinner at the house of a local bigwig. His host's wife asks him "How is your egg?". Torn between the desire to be truthful and to be polite, he answers "Er... good in parts". In British English if something is like a curate's egg, it is of uneven quality. Commented Sep 23, 2020 at 8:14
  • It seems that Wikipedia has various cartoons where the host is a bishop (senior priest), who says "I'm afraid your egg is not good" to the curate, but you get the idea. Commented Sep 23, 2020 at 11:33

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