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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb As of the date of this column, supply disruptions still ripple throughout the distribution system. Robert Zafft, Forbes, 21 May 2021 But even in its softest setting, the ride remains on the firm side and the occasional bump will ripple through the suspension and structure. Tony Quiroga, Car and Driver, 20 May 2021 This bullwhip effect explains how these small shifts in demand for certain goods ripple up the supply chain, causing bigger and bigger swings in production. Nicolás Rivero, Quartz, 5 May 2021 If more savers in Europe’s largest economy shift to stocks, that could ripple through the market. Patricia Kowsmann, WSJ, 4 May 2021 When asleep, octopuses curl themselves up and turn a white-grey color, but moments later, their bodies ripple into various hues as their muscles, suckers, and eight arms twitch. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, 26 Mar. 2021 This narrow strip of light will change colors, blink or seem to ripple in various ways to provide cues to the driver. Peter Valdes-dapena, CNN, 23 Sep. 2020 Despite the passage of time, Floyd's death continues to ripple outward, touching different facets of Williams' life. Janelle Griffith, NBC News, 22 May 2021 That same day, more than 170 businesses jumped into the fray denouncing hundreds of bills to make voting more difficult, a sign the phenomenon continues to ripple in statehouse such as Texas and into the halls of Congress. Los Angeles Times, 2 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The avid kayaker says the litter along the lake is just a ripple on the surface of the problem across North Texas. Anna Caplan, Dallas News, 21 Apr. 2021 And while the political drama about Biden’s decision at the White House is befitting a Shakespearean play, there is a tragic ripple that goes far beyond 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Philip Elliott, Time, 14 Apr. 2021 Owning a home is a key way to build wealth and pass it from one generation to the next, so delays in purchasing a home ripple through the economy and individual households, Faust said. Sarah Freishtat,, 5 Apr. 2021 Apart from ethereum, shiba inu coins, and bitcoin, the fund is accepting donations in other cryptocurrencies including ripple, dogecoins, and trons. Prathamesh Mulye, Quartz, 16 May 2021 Life in America at that second continues without a ripple. Madhushree Ghosh, Longreads, 12 May 2021 And Those Who Wish Me Dead (out Friday) is the sort of film that a decade or two ago probably would have dropped into her catalogue without a ripple: violent, operatic, and cheerfully illogical, a hambone thriller waiting to fulfill its VOD destiny. Leah Greenblatt,, 12 May 2021 Little vibrations that would be sopped up in a normal 911 ripple through the steering and right past the light padding of the $5900 Full Bucket seats. Tony Quiroga, Car and Driver, 20 Apr. 2021 The Bees, which have been the Angels’ highest-level farm team for 20 years, barely felt a ripple. The Salt Lake Tribune, 18 Apr. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ripple

Time Traveler for ripple

Time Traveler

The first known use of ripple was circa 1671

See more words from the same year

Statistics for ripple

Last Updated

6 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ripple.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ripple



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)



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


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


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Dog Breeds

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!