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)

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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: Noun 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, "Two Napoleons in Brooklyn, One in Timberlands," 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, "Hints From Heloise: A new way to scoot about town," 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, "Why Are These Foxes Tame? Maybe They Weren’t So Wild to Begin With," 3 Dec. 2019 For starters, who will be the leader of this piebald coalition? John O'sullivan, National Review, "Brexit: The Rubik’s Cube of British Politics," 12 Aug. 2019 Clipper Darrell is prepared for an increase in ticket prices and insists that won’t quell his piebald identity. Jake Fischer, SI.com, "‘They Saw the Future.’ Clipper Darrell Relishes Kawhi Leonard, Paul George Blockbuster," 6 July 2019 Both the hemisphere-scale color variations and the local piebald patches are caused by a runaway thermal process found only on the slowly rotating Iapetus. Carolyn Porco, Scientific American, "Cassini at Saturn: A Retrospective," 1 Oct. 2017 This particular breed is an albino piebald ball python, but really, shouldn't it be called a pumpkin pie-thon? Courtney Campbell, Country Living, "This Rare Ball Python Snake Is Ready for Halloween," 11 Oct. 2017 This moose has regular old brown eyes, which means its unusual coloration likely stems from a recessive gene for a color variation known as piebald, which is usually white with brown spots. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Brilliantly White Moose Photographed in Sweden," 17 Aug. 2017

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.

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First Known Use of piebald


1590, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1722, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for piebald

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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 6 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for piebald



English Language Learners Definition of piebald

: spotted with two different colors (especially black and white)


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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for piebald

Nglish: Translation of piebald for Spanish Speakers

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