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



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

Other Words from ripple


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


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

Synonyms & Antonyms for ripple

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Private-equity firms are looking harder than ever at how well companies are positioned to retain and attract talent when considering new investments, as waves of employee turnover continue to ripple across nearly every industry. Laura Cooper, WSJ, 16 Feb. 2022 Business/Economy Kinks in the global supply chain during the COVID-19 pandemic continue to ripple to Alaska, causing widespread shortages and higher prices for a variety of products. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, 16 Oct. 2021 Epstein’s actions continue to ripple for his friends and alleged co-conspirators. Washington Post, 10 Aug. 2021 Hang Seng Index records its biggest two-day loss since 2008 as shockwaves from Beijing’s intensifying crackdown continue to ripple through markets. Olivia Tam,, 6 Aug. 2021 Europe is again raising the bar on tech regulation, preparing new standards for operations of social media and other digital platforms that are expected to ripple globally. Kim Mackrael, WSJ, 23 Apr. 2022 Often the bodily contours meld with filmy items of clothing that are fixed in place but seem to ripple. Washington Post, 15 Apr. 2022 Analysts warned that Biden’s remark could ripple across the NATO alliance as Western leaders try to get Putin to end the war in Ukraine. Editors, USA TODAY, 27 Mar. 2022 Uncertainty around Foxconn's production is one sign of how China's response to the jump in coronavirus infections will ripple around the world. Julia Horowitz, CNN, 14 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Even when the subject is banal, his line is unexpected, diverted from cliché by incident—the peculiar crumpling of a sail, or the irregular break of a ripple. Susan Tallman, The Atlantic, 6 Apr. 2022 It was located at the edge of a ripple resulting in the alignment. Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY, 30 Mar. 2022 All that mattered was her words, her voice, a voice emblematic of the youthful ripple lurking behind the generational wave now in full helm of our city, now charged with the responsibility for fulfilling its promised change. Roy S. Johnson |, al, 15 Dec. 2021 Recently, a small ripple ran through social media when a series of posters for The Northman materialized in New York City subways with the title missing, a printing error that the internet reacted to with predictable glee. Leah Greenblatt,, 11 Apr. 2022 What remains unclear is whether a national increase would be a ripple or a deluge that could again strain hospitals. Los Angeles Times, 22 Mar. 2022 The invasion of Ukraine launched by Russia’s Vladimir Putin could re-order U.S. military spending and ripple across Connecticut’s extensive network of Pentagon suppliers. Stephen Singer,, 25 Feb. 2022 The announcement caused what had been a ripple of concern around sunscreen safety to turn into a tidal wave. Jea Morris, Smithsonian Magazine, 28 Jan. 2022 Other digital coins including ethereum and ripple also plunged this week, down 13.5% and 9%, respectively. Khristopher J. Brooks, CBS News, 7 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of ripple


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


1755, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for ripple


perhaps frequentative of rip entry 1

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Time Traveler for ripple

Time Traveler

The first known use of ripple was circa 1671

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Dictionary Entries Near ripple

ripping size


ripple effect

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Statistics for ripple

Last Updated

13 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ripple.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for ripple


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.



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

More from Merriam-Webster on ripple

Nglish: Translation of ripple for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ripple for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about ripple


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