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dapple

[dap-uh l]
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noun
  1. a spot or mottled marking, usually occurring in clusters.
  2. an animal with a mottled skin or coat.
adjective
  1. dappled; spotted: a dapple horse.
verb (used with or without object), dap·pled, dap·pling.
  1. to mark or become marked with spots.

Origin of dapple

First recorded in 1545–55; probably back formation from dappled
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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


British Dictionary definitions for dapple

dapple

verb
  1. to mark or become marked with spots or patches of a different colour; mottle
noun
  1. mottled or spotted markings
  2. a dappled horse, etc
adjective
  1. 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

Word Origin and History for dapple

v.

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