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 The coronavirus teaches us, as deep ecology always has, to consider when our individual deeds might ripple out and harm the whole. Heather Hansman, Outside Online, 12 Apr. 2020 Economists point out that the Fed move, although significant because of the size of the rate boost, also comes in very unique circumstances that influence how the hike will ripple across consumer behavior and the broader economy. Laurence Darmiento, Los Angeles Times, 15 June 2022 Many investors are now questioning how high the Fed might raise rates over the next two years amid soaring inflation and how that might ripple across the economy and corporate profits. Caitlin Mccabe, WSJ, 5 May 2022 The pandemic has underscored how economic success or failure in one country can ripple throughout the world. New York Times, 12 Oct. 2021 Wednesday and its new projections are expected to ripple through the economy, sharply pushing up rates for credit cards, home equity lines of credit and mortgages, among other loans. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, 15 June 2022 Declines in commodity prices could cause devastating repercussions to ripple throughout many communities. Jessica Billingsley, Rolling Stone, 9 June 2022 Meanwhile, debate over the bylaw has continued to ripple across the island. Globe Staff,, 5 June 2022 The impact of the battlefield clashes continues to ripple around the world. Marc Santora, New York Times, 14 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Solana, ripple and ether prices have also slumped as investors move out of cryptocurrency, which is highly volatile, into more stable assets. Khristopher J. Brooks, CBS News, 19 July 2022 Of course, there was a ripple of oohs and aahs and some laughter from the crowd. Los Angeles Times, 3 June 2022 The gruesome, public nature of both murders, both taking place on campus grounds, caused a ripple of outrage that defied borders. Sarah Dadouch,, 8 July 2022 Another sign of the turbulent times: chipmaker Micron issued an unexpectedly bleak outlook on computer and smartphone demand for the upcoming quarter, causing a sector-wide ripple in the once-hot market. Jacob Carpenter, Fortune, 1 July 2022 Joe Garcia, the husband of one of the teachers, had collapsed that morning from a heart attack — an early ripple of the collateral devastation that would be stirred by the massacre. New York Times, 30 May 2022 The decision late on Tuesday by AT&T and Verizon Communications to delay switching on new telecom masts near key airports, just hours ahead of a wider U.S. rollout, came too late to avoid a ripple of cancellations. NBC News, 20 Jan. 2022 When the Yankees traded with the Pittsburgh Pirates for Holmes last July 26, the news barely created a ripple. John Perrotto, Forbes, 7 July 2022 The images revealed ripple-like geographic features on the surface. Meghan Willcoxon, Journal Sentinel, 1 July 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

5 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ripple.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Aug. 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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