Variegated is an adjective derived from variegated, a verb that refers to combining colors in the wrong way or stacking heterogeneous elements without coherence. Something variegated, therefore, exhibits different tones without combination or brings together many unequal things.
For example: “The actor’s variegated wardrobe surprised the press”, “I was struck by the variegated landscape of the city, which is full of multicolored buildings”, “The variegated text published by this journalist is impossible to understand as it is inconsistent ”.
The use of this concept is not very frequent. Keep in mind that the qualification made by the adjective has a negative connotation: the word marks that there is something that is not well combined or that lacks harmony. If someone mentions that the appearance of a celebrity at a certain event was “variegated”, they are referring to an unconventional appearance or one that is far from the current style norms. It would be different if it were classified as elegant, to mention one of the opposite possibilities.
The use of colors to complement the appearance of a person is usually present in their clothing, makeup and hair. It is possible, therefore, to speak of a variegated make-up to refer to an overly charged and not very harmonious combination of colors, something very typical of those people who do not have experience in the use of these products and in the different recommended techniques, but Also by those who use exaggerated amounts in their desire to hide certain facial defects or signs of aging.
A variegated appearance may be characteristic of an extravagant person; Let’s not forget that the term extravagant is defined as something or someone that is not within the scope of normality, and that does not have a negative connotation in itself. Each social group reacts in a different way to individuals who stand out for their appearance or their way of acting: while extravagances may be admired by some, others may condemn them.
An adjective that approximates variegated in meaning but lacks any negative connotation is motley. It is a term used to denote the variety of characteristics or elements that a place or a group of people or objects presents, among other possibilities. For example, we can say that the city we visited during the holidays was mixed, or that the audience present at a concert was mixed, and in both cases the variety is perceived positively.
The second meaning of the notion is related to the difficulty or the impossibility of reconciling elements that are very different from each other. Let’s suppose that a newspaper describes a political alliance as a “motley electoral front”: the author of the note will be highlighting that the front is made up of people with different ideas. Therefore, an eventual government of this alliance could face multiple internal problems. As you can see, this use of variegated is rather symbolic or metaphorical, since the differences are not colored or physical.
Although dictionaries only include the two meanings of the variegated term just discussed, there is a third one that is not uncommon to find in the press or even in literature: “crowded, crowded.” It is important to make it clear that this is a mistake, probably caused by the resemblance to the word crowded.
This idea of overabundance or crowding that is erroneously associated with the variegated term has not arisen capriciously, but largely for its true meanings, since the combination of heterogeneous elements or dissonant colors can only be carried out by force, uniting the elements without paying attention to the result.