stip·​ple | \ ˈsti-pəl How to pronounce stipple (audio) \
stippled; stippling\ ˈsti-​p(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce stippling (audio) \

Definition of stipple

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to engrave by means of dots and flicks
2a : to make by small short touches (as of paint or ink) that together produce an even or softly graded shadow
b : to apply (something, such as paint) by repeated small touches



Definition of stipple (Entry 2 of 2)

: production of gradation of light and shade in graphic art by stippling small points, larger dots, or longer strokes also : an effect produced in this way

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from stipple


stippler \ ˈsti-​p(ə-​)lər How to pronounce stippler (audio) \ noun

Examples of stipple in a Sentence

Verb the sunlight falling through the lace curtain stippled her face
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Martha Ulrich shivered in the harsh February cold, her bare legs stippled with goosebumps. oregonlive, "French World War II heroine Marthe Cohn coming to Portland for Q&A, warns of ‘short memories’," 4 Feb. 2020 Kenturah Davis’ 2015 self-portrait was made using an ink stippling technique. Susan Dunne,, "130 artworks at the Atheneum tell the truth about the black American experience. Here are 8 of them.," 22 Oct. 2019 The terrifying time was stippled with the ordinary and the joyous., "Now, at 94, her work is the subject of a solo show, her first ever, at the University Museum of Contemporary Art at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.," 11 Oct. 2019 Curliss recommends the following Colorblends varieties, available at Flamenco Queen: Big white blooms brushed and stippled with red. Karen Dardick, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Trumpet-shaped amaryllis is big, beautiful and easy to grow," 26 Sep. 2019 Compare stippling the pages with water spots, unable to put your arms down, with balancing an ashtray on the rim of the tub, unable to put one arm down. Garnett Kilberg Cohen, The New Yorker, "My Life in Smoke," 25 Aug. 2019 The sedan’s rear driver’s door was stippled with multiple bullet holes, and both windows on that side were shot out. Alice Yin,, "2 men shot in East Garfield Park," 14 Sep. 2019 Kardashian mixed the two products together on the back of her hand with a Kabuki brush and then quickly stippled it all over her face. Bella Cacciatore, Glamour, "I Tried Khloé Kardashian’s Easy Trick for Glowy Skin," 16 Aug. 2019 Mills, who performed the autopsy, said test firing results from 6 inches most closely resembled the gunpowder stippling pattern on Chase Fleischauer’s head, but the lack of soot found in the wound more closely resembled the test from 9 inches. Mike Longaecker, Twin Cities, "New Richmond, Wis., man found guilty in fatal shooting of 19-year-old son," 13 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun With the iron heated, carefully press the tip into the plastic of the handle repeatedly to cover it with stipples. Tyler Freel, Outdoor Life, "9 Great Grizzly Guns for Brown Bear Hunting and Backcountry Defense," 19 Nov. 2019 The 26-year-old tenor saxophonist has set most of these original compositions at a medium-fast tempo, and her saxophone stipples and scampers, gesturing toward the influence of the alto saxophonist Steve Lehman. New York Times, "The Playlist: John Mayer Laments the Friend Zone, and 11 More New Songs," 11 May 2018 Pro Tip: To quickly cover dark circles, stipple (a.k.a. Amber Kallor, Marie Claire, "The Foundation Mistake Almost All Women Make," 28 Apr. 2017 A third left an entrance wound surrounded by gunpowder stipple at the base of his skull and an exit wound in his left cheek. John Branch, New York Times, "Behind Kevin Durant’s Jersey Number, a Cold-Blooded Murder," 7 Apr. 2017

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


circa 1762, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1837, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for stipple


Dutch stippelen to spot, dot

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about stipple

Time Traveler for stipple

Time Traveler

The first known use of stipple was circa 1762

See more words from the same year

Statistics for stipple

Cite this Entry

“Stipple.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for stipple


How to pronounce stipple (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of stipple

: to draw or paint small dots on (something)

More from Merriam-Webster on stipple

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for stipple

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stipple

Comments on stipple

What made you want to look up stipple? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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