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

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 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 One customer checks out her future resting place and looks at the light dappled through the trees onto the hardscrabble patch. Peter Keough, BostonGlobe.com, "When ‘six feet under’ can mean a coral reef or outer space," 7 Aug. 2019 Inland, dappled or lightly shady areas offer an environment a bit cooler than in full sun. Pam Peirce, SFChronicle.com, "Food crops and edible flowers that thrive in the shade," 12 July 2019 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 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 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 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 The appeal of my WeWork space is fairly obvious: Someone else maintains the free coffee, waters the plants, and tidies up the sun dappled work spaces. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Data Sheet—Why WeWork Has to Pay Up for Rapid Growth," 25 Apr. 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

Time Traveler

The first known use of dapple was in 1580

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Statistics for dapple

Last Updated

15 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Dapple.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dappling. Accessed 9 December 2019.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on dapple

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dapple

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dapple

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