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dap·​ple ˈda-pəl How to pronounce dapple (audio)
: any of numerous usually cloudy and rounded spots or patches of a color or shade different from their background
: the quality or state of being dappled
: a dappled animal


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

transitive verb

: to mark with dapples

intransitive verb

: to produce a dappled pattern
sun dappling through trees

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
The small spaces between leaves will dapple patterns of the eclipse phase on the ground. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 1 Mar. 2024 While out on walks in Dallas’ Uptown, people often stop Alison Roche to ask about her brown, dapple, floppy-eared dachshund. Dallas News, 9 May 2022 Gleaming spots caused by methane ice clouds in the planet's atmosphere dapple its lower half. Clara Moskowitz, Scientific American, 17 Nov. 2022 Piglet is a Chihuahua-dachshund mix, with a genetic condition called double dapple that causes eyesight and hearing difficulties. Susan Dunne, courant.com, 29 Jan. 2022 What happens when athletes, guilty or not, cry sabotage and cite the ease with which the Cologne study manufactured positive tests from a dime-sized dapple of translucent ointment? Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 July 2021 Fill shadowy areas with shade-loving plants to take advantage of the leftover sun dapple. Jessie Kissinger, Popular Mechanics, 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, 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, 5 Oct. 2018
Sports run through Pittsburgh the way its rivers do, dappling the city’s culture with hints of black and gold. Billy Witz, New York Times, 22 Mar. 2024 Holding up a colander can also project the partial eclipse onto the ground, as can looking at sunlight dappling through a tree’s leaves, or through your fingers aligned perpendicularly. Rong-Gong Lin Ii, Los Angeles Times, 1 Apr. 2024 While these are braised rather than fried (my preference), the artichokes, fragrant with mint and dappled with salsa verde, still satisfy. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, 15 Mar. 2024 Visitors are welcomed with a gratis snack, on one recent night a creamy pumpkin soup dappled with chipotle oil. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, 20 Feb. 2024 Reiners, a modern renaissance man, has long dappled in plant photography. Debbie Arrington, Sacramento Bee, 30 Jan. 2024 The supple purses filled with juicy ground beef and dappled with yellow lentils and cilantro are all too easy to dispatch. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, 24 Jan. 2024 Ukraine Marines recount deadly mission to free towns east of Dnieper River Under the bunk bed her godfather built for her, school portraits dappled the wall. Kamila Hrabchuk, Washington Post, 7 Jan. 2024 Positioned just above the owner’s suite in the main deck below, the glass bottom filters dappled light into the master bedroom. Kevin Koenig, Robb Report, 13 Dec. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dapple.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1599, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of dapple was in 1580

Dictionary Entries Near dapple

Cite this Entry

“Dapple.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dapple. Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
dap·​ple ˈdap-əl How to pronounce dapple (audio)
: any spot or patch of a dappled pattern
: a dappled state
: a dappled animal (as a horse)


2 of 2 verb
dappled; dappling -(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce dapple (audio)
: to mark or become marked with a dappled pattern
daisies dappled the field
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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