[ dap-uh ld ]
/ ˈdæp əld /


having spots of a different shade, tone, or color from the background; mottled.

Nearby words

  1. dapper,
  2. dapperly,
  3. dapple,
  4. dapple-gray,
  5. dapple-grey,
  6. dapsang,
  7. dapsone,
  8. dar,
  9. dar es salaam,
  10. dar-es-salaam

Origin of dappled

1350–1400; Middle English, probably < Scandinavian; akin to Old Norse depill spot

Related formsun·dap·pled, adjective


[ 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.

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 dappled

British Dictionary definitions for dappled


/ (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 dappled



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