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 dapple (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

Noun the clouds threw dapples of shadow over the eerily quiet street Verb sunlight dappled the canopy of vines over our heads
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Fill shadowy areas with shade-loving plants to take advantage of the leftover sun dapple. Jessie Kissinger, Popular Mechanics, "How To Plant a Garden That Takes Care of Itself," 1 Mar. 2020 Creaky wood sounds echo over speakers, dapples of light reflecting off the water shine through cracks and portholes, and the bar slings tiki drinks to every good pirate in attendance. Tirion Morris, azcentral, "Tiki culture's not dead. This underground Phoenix bar's zombie cocktail is proof," 24 Oct. 2019 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 Nine dental suites, a pharmacy and a state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen branch off the sun-dappled atrium. Los Angeles Times, "Along the Mississippi, Obamacare’s neglected legacy: civil rights," 11 May 2020 In press dispatches and news analysis pieces, the stately old Southern order is evoked with scenes of dappled sunlight under Spanish moss–draped oak trees. Paul Bowers, The New Republic, "How Lindsey Graham Could Lose in 2020," 16 Mar. 2020 Cheese slices start at $3 (or $2 during happy hour) and come with an almost translucent crust dappled with pretty brown spots. oregonlive, "Portland’s 40 best inexpensive restaurants," 11 Mar. 2020 As the frigid Alaskan waters lapped at his heels, Patrick Druckenmiller repositioned his saw against the algae-dappled rock. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "215-Million-Year-Old, Sharp-Nosed Sea Creature Was Among the Last of Its Kind," 5 Mar. 2020 Tiffany also exploited the abstract, mottled effects of molten glass to evoke the textures of foliage and a sky softly dappled with clouds. Steven Litt, cleveland, "Tiffany lamp show at Cleveland Museum of Art brightens dark time of year," 12 Jan. 2020 De Hooch was fascinated by the interplay between light and various surfaces, painting calm, sun-dappled courtyard and interior scenes. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "New Exhibition Leads to Discovery of Dutch Painter’s Signature and Fingerprint," 2 Dec. 2019 In Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park, Charlie Hamilton James photographed an elephant amid sun-dappled ferns. Natasha Daly, National Geographic, "These are our best animal photos of 2019," 25 Nov. 2019 The result is dappled with fingerprints but generally even. The New York Times News Service Syndicate, The Denver Post, "The shortcut to crisp, tender pie crust," 26 Nov. 2019

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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Cite this Entry

“Dapple.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dapple. Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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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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