1 of 2


pie·​bald ˈpī-ˌbȯld How to pronounce piebald (audio)
: composed of incongruous parts
: of different colors
especially : spotted or blotched with black and white


2 of 2


: a piebald animal (such as a horse)

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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
Interestingly, Ibarra’s piebald catfish may not be the only one finning around in Lake Tawakoni. Matt Williams, Dallas News, 9 Apr. 2022 The local animal control officer responded and shared photos of the piebald fawn on Facebook. Emily Sweeney, BostonGlobe.com, 10 Aug. 2022 As for dogs like Sassy, piebald with mange and gnawing at the bug bites on her shins, there was no chance — none — to leave a shelter alive. Paul Solotaroff, Rolling Stone, 4 July 2022 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 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use


1590, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1722, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of piebald was in 1590


Dictionary Entries Near piebald

Cite this Entry

“Piebald.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/piebald. Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 adjective
pie·​bald ˈpī-ˌbȯld How to pronounce piebald (audio)
: spotted or blotched with two different colors and especially with black and white
a piebald horse


2 of 2 noun
: a piebald animal (as a horse)

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