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[dap-uh l] /ˈdæp əl/
a spot or mottled marking, usually occurring in clusters.
an animal with a mottled skin or coat.
dappled; spotted:
a dapple horse.
verb (used with or without object), dappled, dappling.
to mark or become marked with spots.
Origin of dapple
First recorded in 1545-55; probably back formation from dappled Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for dapple
Historical Examples
  • No dapple of shadows was there, no rustle of leaves, no green, mossy trunks of trees.

    A Spoil of Office Hamlin Garland
  • His eyes were skilled to observe in the moving dusk and dapple of green woods.

    Irish Fairy Tales James Stephens
  • But who be those that follow them on the grey palfrey and dapple jennet?

    A Legend of Reading Abbey

    Charles MacFarlane
  • It was just as he was about to return to his dapple grays that he received a sudden shock.

    The Crimson Flash

    Roy J. Snell
  • Dimple is a diminutive of dip, and cognate with dingle and dapple.

    Milton's Comus John Milton
  • Avoid spotted, or dapple mules; they are the very poorest animal you can get.

    The Mule Harvey Riley
  • dapple had to lay down on all fours before the lads could bestride him.

    An English Grammar W. M. Baskervill and J. W. Sewell
  • You will laugh at the value I put on my dapple—for dapple is the colour of my beast.

  • She was as large as six elephants, and of a burnt sorrel colour with dapple grey spots; but, above all, she had a horrible tail.

  • But, notwithstanding his tears and lamentations, he kept urging on his dapple to get far enough from the cart.

    Wit and Wisdom of Don Quixote

    Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
British Dictionary definitions for dapple


to mark or become marked with spots or patches of a different colour; mottle
mottled or spotted markings
a dappled horse, etc
marked with dapples or spots
Word Origin
C14: of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dapple

early 15c. (implied in past participle adjective dappled), perhaps from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse depill "spot," Norwegian dape "puddle." Perhaps a back-formation from, or merger with, Middle English adjective dapple-gray "apple-gray" (late 14c.), based on resemblance to the markings on an apple (cf. Old Norse apalgrar "dapple-gray"), or, as it was used of gray horses with round blotches, perhaps via resemblance to apples themselves.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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