dap·ple | \ˈda-pəl \

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\-p(ə-)liŋ \

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

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

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 understory trees will fry in full sun, so grow them in morning sun or all-day dappled light. Nan Sterman, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Branching out with new crops," 31 May 2018 On a drizzly day in China’s Sichuan Province, Ami Vitale sat on a mountainside clad in a black and white panda suit, dappled with panda urine and feces. Maya Wei-haas, Smithsonian, "Why Photographing Pandas Is More Challenging Than You Might Think," 21 May 2018 Despite the hardships endured by the characters, nearly every shot seems dappled with nostalgia. Glenn Kenny, New York Times, "Review: ‘A Bag of Marbles,’ a Tale of Brothers Fleeing From Nazis," 22 Mar. 2018 Without time to hydrate and form a thick paste, the batter dapples the surface of each piece with crispy pebbles rather than a homogenous shell. Ali Bouzari, San Francisco Chronicle, "Housemade: The science behind the skillets at Miss Ollie’s in Oakland," 16 May 2018 In the White Mountains, as April yields to May, grasses should be a moist green, dappled with wildflower blooms. Dennis Wagner, azcentral, "A refuge and memories go up in smoke as another backcountry paradise burns away," 5 May 2018 The wrappers are tender at the ends, but golden and crispy at the center and dappled with pockmarks from the sauté oil. Michael Nagrant, RedEye Chicago, "Worth a trip: Dumplings from Bibim Town," 15 Aug. 2017

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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The first known use of dapple was in 1580

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More Definitions for dapple


dap·ple | \ˈda-pəl \
dappled; dappling

Kids Definition of dapple

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

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Comments on dapple

What made you want to look up dapple? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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