What is the difference between speckled and spotted in the following context:

I will pass through all thy flock to day, removing from thence all the speckled and spotted cattle, and all the brown cattle among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats: and of such shall be my hire. - Gen. 30:32 AV

I did research in a few dictionaries and yet can not grasp the distinction between the two. For example, W3 provides the following definition for speckled

: covered or marked with speckles : spotted

SOED states the following:

Covered or marked with (numerous) speckles; variegated or flecked with spots of a contrasting colour

Not too much help comes from OED:

Covered, dotted, or marked with (numerous) speckles or specks; variegated or flecked with spots of a different colour from that of the main body; spotted

For a non-native speaker, these definitions don't provide a clear distinction between the two words, they seem to be synonymous.

1 Answer 1


Depends on size and regularity


covered in small, usually round areas of colour: a spotted toad

She was wearing a black and white spotted dress.

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covered with speckles:

a bird with a speckled breast
The floor was speckled under where he had painted

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  • Thanks! Is this distinction based on dictionary definitions or it's just how these words are used in real life? Because I've looked them up in several dictionaries and couldn't grasp the difference.
    – highvit
    Sep 22, 2019 at 17:10
  • 1
    Cambridge says spotted are usually rounder
    – mplungjan
    Sep 22, 2019 at 17:20

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