• synonyms


[stip-uh l]
verb (used with object), stip·pled, stip·pling.
  1. to paint, engrave, or draw by means of dots or small touches.
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noun Also stip·pling.
  1. the method of painting, engraving, etc., by stippling.
  2. stippled work; a painting, engraving, or the like, executed by means of dots or small spots.
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Origin of stipple

1660–70; < Dutch stippelen, frequentative of stippen to dot, derivative of stip dot
Related formsstip·pler, nounun·stip·pled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for stippling

Historical Examples

  • The best colour we reach is got by stippling; but this not quite right.

    The Crown of Wild Olive

    John Ruskin

  • Stippling and hatching are applied to the flesh and to the folds of the draperies.

  • After the stippling the graining may be done in oil by wiping out.

    Graining and Marbling

    Frederick Maire

  • Stippling and hatching is the going over our work with dots or crossed lines.

    Where Art Begins

    Hume Nisbet

  • Stippling: more or less as shading or value effect or border.

    Mohave Pottery

    Alfred L. Kroeber

British Dictionary definitions for stippling


verb (tr)
  1. to draw, engrave, or paint using dots or flecks
  2. to apply paint, powder, etc, to (something) with many light dabs
  3. to give (wet paint, cement, etc) a granular effect
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noun Also: stippling
  1. the technique of stippling or a picture produced by or using stippling
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Derived Formsstippler, noun

Word Origin

C18: from Dutch stippelen, from stippen to prick, from stip point
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 stippling



1670s, from Dutch stippelen "to make points," frequentative of stippen "to prick, speckle," from stip "a point," probably ultimately from PIE root *st(e)ig- "pointed" (see stick (v.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

stippling in Medicine


  1. A speckling of a blood cell or other structure with fine dots when exposed to a basic stain as a result of the presence of free basophil granules in the cell protoplasm.
  2. The orange-peel appearance of normal gums.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.