dap·​ple | \ ˈda-pəl How to pronounce dapple (audio) \

Definition of dapple

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : any of numerous usually cloudy and rounded spots or patches of a color or shade different from their background
2 : the quality or state of being dappled
3 : a dappled animal


dappled; dappling\ ˈda-​p(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce dappling (audio) \

Definition of dapple (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to mark with dapples

intransitive verb

: to produce a dappled pattern sun dappling through trees

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Examples of dapple in a Sentence


the clouds threw dapples of shadow over the eerily quiet street


sunlight dappled the canopy of vines over our heads

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

White Anemone japonica dapple Achnaterum brachytrichum, an ethereal plume whose downy flower heads, Mr. Quibel noted, glitter in the early morning dew. Amy Merrick, WSJ, "Fall’s Best Blade Plans," 5 Oct. 2018 As the butter melts, begin to season it: let a few sprinkles of rosemary dapple the foaming butter, a few pinches of salt, and a grind or two of pepper. Talia Lavin, Bon Appetit, "How to Make Pâté at Home and Be a Person Who Eats Liver," 15 May 2017 Missing dog: Shadow, a black-and-dapple Aussie-Shepard mix with dark brown eyes and weighing about 50 pounds is missing and was last seen June 14 near West Street and Morse Road in Berea. Rich Heileman, cleveland.com, "Berea, Midpark football trophy vanishes: Around The Town," 16 June 2017 The sun streams through the multicolored leaves of oak trees and dapples thousands of alumni and fans in patches of light and shade. Matthew Davis, The Atlantic, "'America's Deaf Team' Tackles Identity Politics," 10 May 2017 As the butter melts, begin to season it: let a few sprinkles of rosemary dapple the foaming butter, a few pinches of salt, and a grind or two of pepper. Talia Lavin, Bon Appetit, "How to Make Pâté at Home and Be a Person Who Eats Liver," 15 May 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Brits may have had their rock invasion, but in the ’60s, California had its sun-dappled version, headquartered along the wooded slopes and curling roads of Laurel Canyon. Robert Abele, Detroit Free Press, "Doc fondly recalls Laurel Canyon music scene," 27 June 2019 Since the yard ranges from full-sun to dappled shade, Hudson and Carter divided the space into micro-gardens. Sunset, "This San Francisco Cottage Has Seriously Cool Outdoor Features," 22 Jan. 2018 Many of these were designed by Jerde, who reliably dappled color and wit onto drab streetscapes from coast to coast. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "Will this PoMo wonderland in San Diego be saved?," 5 June 2019 With each turn of the watercolor-dappled page comes a new and slightly larger dinosaur to disconcert the one before. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: Into the Wild With a Dog Named Bo," 26 July 2018 And yet there are, dappled among the many celebrities who refuse to log off, a small number who shine like a beacon in the darkness. Casey Newton, The Verge, "22 predictions for social media in 2019," 15 Dec. 2018 The result: brown or gray-brown patches that start to dapple your skin, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) explains. Korin Miller, SELF, "What You Should Know About Melasma, Those Random Dark Spots on Your Face," 27 Aug. 2018 With a seamless blend of the everyday and the visionary, Read’s imagined conversation with a bereaved neighborhood child travels a path dappled by wonder and sorrow. Laura Read, New York Times, "Poem: PENTECOST," 5 July 2018 The historic downtown is dappled with aging buildings -- some in disrepair, others just worn out -- and historic landmarks. Bob Rountree, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Explore Florida's Levy County: Get away from it all, and enjoy the clams, on remote Cedar Key," 6 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dapple.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of dapple


1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1599, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for dapple


Middle English dappel-gray, adjective, gray marked with spots of another color

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Time Traveler for dapple

The first known use of dapple was in 1580

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More Definitions for dapple


dap·​ple | \ ˈda-pəl How to pronounce dapple (audio) \
dappled; dappling

Kids Definition of dapple

: to mark or become marked with rounded spots of color a dappled horse

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