from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The tinting of photographs.
  • noun The process of separating a train into sections.
  • noun In botany, same as necrosis, 2.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb Present participle of spot.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the act of spotting or staining something
  • noun the act of detecting something; catching sight of something


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • Later that evening, I chortled at the local TV news where the inclement weather had dislodged the imminent elections from their rightful opening headline slot. ‘Rain is forecast for Friday, Saturday and beyond,’ announced the newsreader in her very best harbinger of doom voice. In the background a “super HD” map of the Bay area showed precisely where the rain would fall, the camera zooming in to close on the handful of named streets which would bear the brunt. The heaviest rain was forecast for Saturday. But tomorrow, the newsreader announced with gravitas, there would be widespread spotting.

    Here was my first encounter with the ‘two nations divided by a common language’ phenomenon. ‘Spotting’ in British English, my American friends, is something which may occur when a lady is in the middle of her cycle and it’s a private matter concerning only the said lady and her underwear. Light rain, meanwhile, is commonly referred to in the UK as ‘drizzle’ or ‘spitting’, and is not usually thought worthy of a five minute slot on the regional news.

    Umbrella, Petite Anglaise (blog), Nov. 7, 2008.

    4.I’ve lived in America all my life and have never heard “spotting” used to describe the weather. I, too, have only used/heard in reference to that lovely monthly gift. I’m sure this made for an interesting (and perhaps scary) expectation of the trip!

    BTW – San Fran is one of my favorite places – spotting or sunny! Love the pics

    Id.: Comment by juli — November 7, 2008 @ 2:18 pm

    January 14, 2016