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


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

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 Piebald: 6:30 p.m., the Shelter, 431 E. Congress, Detroit. Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, "Big Gigs: Roger Waters, Mo Pop, Rod Stewart, more," 27 July 2017 Both albino and piebald moose are protected animals in parts of Canada where sightings are rare but have occurred, and legislation prohibits hunters from taking a moose that is predominantly white in color. Casey Smith, National Geographic, "Rare White Moose Twins Caught on Camera," 22 June 2017 They are all considered piebald animals, and that’s how the bald eagle got its name. Orange County Register, "Where you can find our national birds in Southern California," 5 Jan. 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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Dictionary Entries near piebald


pidyon haben






Statistics for piebald

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Time Traveler for piebald

The first known use of piebald was in 1590

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on piebald

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with piebald

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for piebald

Spanish Central: Translation of piebald

Nglish: Translation of piebald for Spanish Speakers

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