[ rip-lit ]
/ ˈrɪp lɪt /
Save This Word!

a small ripple.
There are grammar debates that never die; and the ones highlighted in the questions in this quiz are sure to rile everyone up once again. Do you know how to answer the questions that cause some of the greatest grammar debates?
Question 1 of 7
Which sentence is correct?

Origin of ripplet

First recorded in 1810–20; ripple1 + -et
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does ripplet mean?

A ripplet is a small ripple—a small wave, ruffle, or wrinkle on the surface of something, such as water, fabric, clouds, or hair.

A raindrop causes ripples in a puddle. A soft gust of wind can cause ripples on the surface of a lake, on the surface of a sheet hanging from a clothesline, or through the tall grasses in the meadow. Ripples aren’t typically breaks in the surface where they appear—they are disturbances that change its shape momentarily.

The word can also be applied to waves or wrinkles involving intangible or abstract things, such as ripples of cause and effect.

Ripple can also refer to a cascading sound, like that of rippling water, as in a ripple of laughter. 

Ripplet can be used to refer to a small ripple in all of these contexts, though it’s perhaps most common in the context of small waves on the surface of water (sometimes also called wavelets).

Example: I like to throw pebbles into the still pond and see how far the ripplets extend out.

Where does ripplet come from?

The first records of the word ripplet in reference to small waves or wrinkles come from the early 1800s. Ripple may derive from the verb rip, but its origin is uncertain. The suffix -et is used in words that refer to the smaller versions of things, such as islet (a very small island). The related suffix -let is used in the same way in words that don’t end in the letter l, such as piglet, droplet, and wavelet.

Imagine sitting on an islet, watching gentle ocean wavelets lap into a lagoon and form small wrinkles in the water. These are ripplets. Droplets of rain drizzling into a pond will also form ripplets. Believe it or not, as fun as the word is to say, it’s not commonly used.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms of ripplet?

What are some synonyms for ripplet?

What are some words that share a root or word element with ripplet


What are some words that often get used in discussing ripplet?


How is ripplet used in real life?

The word ripplet is typically used in the context of small waves on surfaces like water, but it can be used in many different situations. Still, it’s not very common.


Try using ripplet!

On which of the following things can ripplets sometimes be found?

A. water
B. fabric
C. clouds
D. all of the above

British Dictionary definitions for ripplet

/ (ˈrɪplɪt) /

a tiny ripple
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