[ 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), dap·pled, dap·pling.

to mark or become marked with spots.

Nearby words

  1. daphnia,
  2. daphnis,
  3. daphnis and chloe,
  4. dapper,
  5. dapperly,
  6. dapple-gray,
  7. dapple-grey,
  8. dappled,
  9. dapsang,
  10. dapsone

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for dapple

British Dictionary definitions for dapple


/ (ˈdæpəl) /


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 for dapple

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



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