pie·​bald | \ ˈpī-ˌbȯld How to pronounce piebald (audio) \

Definition of piebald

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : composed of incongruous parts
2 : of different colors especially : spotted or blotched with black and white



Definition of piebald (Entry 2 of 2)

: a piebald animal (such as a horse)

The Feathered History of Piebald


To many people, the noisy black and white birds that go by the scientific name Pica pica—better known as magpies—are nothing but pests. But the Latin root that was adopted for their name isn't a linguistic nuisance; it played an important role in the development of piebald. The pie of piebald (pie is another name for a magpie) derives from pica, which is Latin for "magpie." The other part of piebald comes from the word bald, which can mean "marked with white"; it can also be found in skewbald, an adjective used to describe animals marked with patches of white and any other color but black.

Examples of piebald in a Sentence

Adjective a model who owes his striking good looks to his markedly piebald ethnic background a piebald horse that looked like it had been splashed with black and white paint
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The piebald genetic abnormality can create defects — three of this family’s deer becoming deaf. Brian Whipkey, USA TODAY, 7 Jan. 2022 Rare 'piebald' deer known for unusual markings find home with Pennsylvania family as pets. Laura L. Davis, USA TODAY, 6 Jan. 2022 Still, the current piebald has managed to survive and thrive. Mary Colurso | Mcolurso@al.com, al, 16 Nov. 2021 On this episode, a rare piebald squirrel has been spotted in Alabama at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. al, 17 Nov. 2021 There’s also Aurelio, a bachelor whose piebald soul mate, Birba, with her renowned nose for truffles, is his greatest joy. Peter Rainer, The Christian Science Monitor, 4 Mar. 2021 To commemorate Napoleon’s victory over Austria at the Battle of Marengo, David painted him charging up a mountain on a piebald steed, right arm pointing skyward, trademark bicorne on his head, cool and cocksure as his horse bucks its front heels. Jason Farago, New York Times, 12 Feb. 2020 Dear Readers: Meet Melania and dachshund Duke. Cheryl G. in San Antonio just adopted Melania, a 4-month-old, five-pound half piebald dachshund and half Chihuahua, from a dachshund rescue group after Melania’s previous owner passed. Washington Post, 21 Sep. 2019 His foxes also showed physical changes, like piebald coats and floppy ears — characteristics shared by dogs, cows and other domesticated animals. James Gorman, New York Times, 3 Dec. 2019 See More

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

First Known Use of piebald


1590, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1722, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of piebald was in 1590

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Cite this Entry

“Piebald.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/piebald. Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for piebald


pie·​bald | \ ˈpī-ˌbȯld How to pronounce piebald (audio) \

Kids Definition of piebald

: spotted with two colors and especially black and white a piebald horse

More from Merriam-Webster on piebald

Nglish: Translation of piebald for Spanish Speakers


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