[peb-uh l]


verb (used with object), peb·bled, peb·bling.

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 formsun·peb·bled, adjective
Can be confusedboulder cobblestone granule pebble rock stone Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pebble

Contemporary Examples of pebble

Historical Examples of pebble

  • A brazen urn was carried round, in which every citizen deposited a pebble.


    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.


    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. geologya 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 Australian a troublesome or obstinate person or animal

verb (tr)

to pave, cover, or pelt with pebbles
to impart a grainy surface to (leather)
Derived Formspebbly, adjective

Word Origin for pebble

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

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

Science definitions for pebble



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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with pebble


see not the only fish in the sea (pebble on the beach).

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.