ripple

verb
rip·​ple | \ ˈri-pəl How to pronounce ripple (audio) \
rippled; rippling\ ˈri-​p(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce rippling (audio) \

Definition of ripple

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to become lightly ruffled or covered with small waves
b : to flow in small waves
c : to fall in soft undulating folds the scarf rippled to the floor
2 : to flow with a light rise and fall of sound or inflection laughter rippled over the audience
3 : to move with an undulating motion or so as to cause ripples the canoe rippled through the water
4 : to have or produce a ripple effect : spread the news rippled outwards

transitive verb

1 : to stir up small waves on
2 : to impart a wavy motion or appearance to rippling his arm muscles
3 : to utter or play with a slight rise and fall of sound

ripple

noun

Definition of ripple (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a shallow stretch of rough water in a stream
b(1) : the ruffling of the surface of water
(2) : a small wave
b : a sound like that of rippling water a ripple of laughter
c : a usually slight noticeable effect or reaction

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Other Words from ripple

Verb

rippler \ ˈri-​p(ə-​)lər How to pronounce rippler (audio) \ noun

Noun

ripply \ ˈri-​p(ə-​)lē How to pronounce ripply (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for ripple

Synonyms: Verb

bubble, dribble, guggle, gurgle, lap, plash, splash, trickle, wash

Antonyms: Verb

pour, roll, stream

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Examples of ripple in a Sentence

Verb

Water rippled under the dock. We could see the lion's muscles ripple. A cool breeze rippled the water.

Noun

The pebble made ripples in the pond when I threw it in.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

If Southwest were to buy Airbus jets, shock waves would ripple from Dallas through Chicago to Seattle. Dominic Gates, The Seattle Times, "737 MAX crisis prompts Southwest pilots to question its all-Boeing fleet," 12 Apr. 2019 Fear first rippled through the Iranian-American community with Mr. Trump’s initial iteration of a travel ban 18 months ago, which caused chaos in its disorganized rollout and was blocked by the courts. New York Times, "Trump Travel Ban: How It Affects the Countries," 26 June 2018 The old headlight’s round bezel is now rippled, and the wheels have silver portions on each spoke. Nick Goddard, Popular Mechanics, "The Ducati Scrambler Icon Bike Just Got a Little Sweeter To Ride," 25 Sep. 2018 Efforts by President Trump to shift the scales have upset the status quo for companies and their investors, rippling through the stock market. Tom Hudson, miamiherald, "Earnings energy taxed by tariffs," 5 July 2018 Historically, ghosts have been known to communicate through candle flames, liquid (water in a glass may ripple when a spirit is present), and scent. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "A Beginner’s Guide to Communicating With Spirits on the Other Side," 19 June 2018 And yet, despite its multibillion-dollar taxpayer subsidy, Foxconn’s jobs boom might ripple right past Wisconsin’s fifth-largest city, five miles east on Highway 11. John Schmid, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Foxconn's promised jobs boom could miss neighboring city Racine," 6 Apr. 2018 With Kane’s rippling chords and mournful melody, the majestic mural turns bittersweet. Cate Mcquaid, BostonGlobe.com, "At PEM, T.C. Cannon’s paintings exult and reproach," 21 Mar. 2018 Sparking action The effects of introducing audiences into ocean worlds can ripple far beyond the movie theater. Barbara Tannenbaum, The Christian Science Monitor, "One film festival's quest to turn moviegoers into ocean stewards," 7 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Paul Stastny caused another ripple of moves in the Western Conference. John Wawrow, Houston Chronicle, "Homeward bound: Star center John Tavares chooses Maple Leafs," 1 July 2018 Algorithms made judgements on who to pay attention to (ranking people who hung around longer higher than those who just arrived, for example), while the robots’ motions flowed from one arm to the next like ripples in a pond. James Vincent, The Verge, "Teaching robots body language offers common ground for humans and machines," 11 Nov. 2018 Gravitational waves are essentially ripples in the fabric of space-time, caused when stuff with mass moves around. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "LIGO Gravitational Wave Observatory Getting $30 Million Upgrade," 15 Feb. 2019 In the book, Faraday’s unreliable narration is a ripple beneath the action until nearly the end of the narrative, but Abrahamson and Coxon make Faraday’s deceptive point of view the main driver of the film’s tension. Aja Romano, Vox, "How The Little Stranger uses its ghost story to mask a study in toxic masculinity," 6 Sep. 2018 The resulting mathematical structure was the genesis of the view that gravitational waves are ripples in space-time, a perspective that's survived to the present. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Gravitational waves and the slow pace of scientific revolutions," 30 June 2018 Science Gravitational waves are energy ripples that are created by violent processes in the universe. Natalie Wolchover, WIRED, "The Universe Is Not a Simulation, but We Can Now Simulate It," 16 June 2018 In the vast coverage of the relationship between the American divorcée Meghan Markle and Prince Harry there has hardly been a ripple of disquiet that Meghan has been married before. Daisy Goodwin, Time, "How Meghan Markle Is Giving the Royal Family the Shake-Up It Needs," 17 May 2018 What one is seeing is literally a ripple propagating through the atmosphere. Matthew Cappucci, Washington Post, "Wicked cool wave clouds crash over Boston area," 6 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ripple.' 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 ripple

Verb

circa 1671, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Noun

1755, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for ripple

Verb

perhaps frequentative of rip entry 1

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Statistics for ripple

Last Updated

29 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ripple

The first known use of ripple was circa 1671

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More Definitions for ripple

ripple

verb

English Language Learners Definition of ripple

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to move in small waves
: to pass or spread through or over (someone or something)

ripple

noun

English Language Learners Definition of ripple (Entry 2 of 2)

: a small wave on the surface of a liquid
: a shape or pattern having small waves
: a sound that gradually becomes louder and then quieter

ripple

verb
rip·​ple | \ ˈri-pəl How to pronounce ripple (audio) \
rippled; rippling

Kids Definition of ripple

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to move or cause to move in small waves The lion's muscles rippled. A breeze rippled the water.
2 : to pass or spread over or through Laughter rippled through the crowd.

ripple

noun

Kids Definition of ripple (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a very small wave on the surface of a liquid The rock made ripples in the pond.
2 : something that passes or spreads through a ripple of laughter

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More from Merriam-Webster on ripple

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ripple

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ripple

Spanish Central: Translation of ripple

Nglish: Translation of ripple for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ripple for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ripple

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