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[peb-uh l] /ˈpɛb əl/
a small, rounded stone, especially one worn smooth by the action of water.
Also called pebble leather. leather that has been given a granulated surface.
any granulated or crinkled surface, especially of a textile.
a transparent colorless rock crystal used for the lenses of eyeglasses.
a lens made from this crystal.
verb (used with object), pebbled, pebbling.
to prepare (leather) so as to have a granulated surface.
to pelt with or as with pebbles.
Origin of pebble
1250-1300; Middle English pibbil, puble, pobble; compare Old English pæbbel (in place names), papel-, popel- (in compounds); phonological relations unclear
Related forms
unpebbled, adjective
Can be confused Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for pebble
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A brazen urn was carried round, in which every citizen deposited a pebble.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • He didn't toss it up, not a bit of it; ran as game as a pebble; he just tired at the finish.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • A pebble, dropped from your hand, would strike in the midst of them.

    The Gorgon's Head Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • "I guess that will show up every pebble in the road," commented the balloonist.

  • Two more of these "others" are the two in the photograph who are playing a pebble game.

    Lotus Buds

    Amy Carmichael
British Dictionary definitions for pebble


  1. a small smooth rounded stone, esp one worn by the action of water
  2. (geology) a rock fragment, often rounded, with a diameter of 4–64 mm and thus smaller than a cobble but larger than a granule
  1. a transparent colourless variety of rock crystal, used for making certain lenses
  2. such a lens
(modifier) (informal) (of a lens or of spectacles) thick, with a high degree of magnification or distortion
  1. a grainy irregular surface, esp on leather
  2. leather having such a surface
(informal, mainly Austral) a troublesome or obstinate person or animal
verb (transitive)
to pave, cover, or pelt with pebbles
to impart a grainy surface to (leather)
Derived Forms
pebbly, adjective
Word Origin
Old English papolstān, from papol- (perhaps of imitative origin) + stān stone
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 pebble

small, smooth stone, late 13c., from Old English papolstan "pebblestone," of unknown origin. Perhaps imitative. Some sources compare Latin papula "pustule, pimple, swelling."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pebble in Science
A rock fragment larger than a granule and smaller than a cobble. Pebbles have a diameter between 4 and 64 mm (0.16 and 2.56 inches) and are often rounded.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with pebble
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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