Definition of ripple in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈrɪp(ə)l/


1A small wave or series of waves on the surface of water, especially as caused by a slight breeze or an object dropping into it: he dived into the pool leaving barely a ripple the ripples spread across the pond
More example sentences
  • Feeling the need to vent his anger, Shane threw a stone into the little pond at Central Park, causing a series of violent ripples in the water that was before so calm.
  • I'm sitting next to her on the rock now, and we are both watching the water ripple in the breeze.
  • The water sparkled a deep blue, and the wind blowing softly made the water ripple gently in the breeze.
wavelet, wave, undulation, ripplet, ridge, crease, wrinkle, ruffle, pucker
1.1A thing resembling a ripple or ripples in appearance or movement: the sand undulated and was ridged with ripples
More example sentences
  • The fans seemed vocal for both bands at this particular show, but with little more than a small ripple of movement every now and then, this night left much to be desired.
  • A ripple of movement across the surface of the mirror caught Steffen's attention.
  • She studied the smooth ripples, as they formed with each movement of her feet.
1.2A gentle rising and falling sound that spreads through a group of people: a ripple of laughter ran around the room
More example sentences
  • A gong rang, and the ripples of sound faded into silence.
  • A crescendo rises and threatens to explode, but vanishes, leaving all but a ripple of sound.
  • Today's results, which came in at the top end of expectations, were given a gentle ripple of applause with the shares moving some 3% higher.
1.3A particular feeling or effect that spreads through someone or something: his words set off a ripple of excitement within her
More example sentences
  • I vaguely here my mind wondering, I feel a ripple of excitement spread through my body, as I relive old movie scenes where moments like this turned out for the best.
  • The sudden forcing noise as he pushed the sticking window open caused a ripple of excitement to quickly spread through the crowd below.
  • The biplane had arrived in town three days earlier - the first aeroplane to fly into New Plymouth - creating a ripple of excitement
1.4 Physics A wave on a fluid surface, the restoring force for which is provided by surface tension rather than gravity, and which consequently has a wavelength shorter than that corresponding to the minimum speed of propagation.
1.5 [mass noun] Small periodic, usually undesirable, variations in electrical voltage superposed on a direct voltage or on an alternating voltage of lower frequency: [as modifier]: ripple current
2 [mass noun] A type of ice cream with wavy lines of coloured flavoured syrup running through it: a family block of raspberry ripple
More example sentences
  • Japanese ice-cream lovers have swapped traditional flavours such as raspberry ripple for something a little more exotic.
  • Totally embarrassed, Sara realized that there was a considerable amount of ice cream on her chin, mostly raspberry fudge ripple.
  • Plain vanilla, chocolate and raspberry ripple will soon be history.


[no object]
1(Of water) form or flow with small waves on the surface: the Mediterranean rippled and sparkled (as adjective rippling) the rippling waters
More example sentences
  • The water rippled and larger waves came to the surface.
  • The cold waters rippled in small waves; splashing onto the bank.
  • Slowly, the ship coasted forwards, the water rippling gently around the bow.
form ripples (on), flow in wavelets, undulate, popple, lap, purl, babble;
form something into ridges, crease, wrinkle, ruffle, pucker
1.1 [with object] Cause (the surface of water) to form small waves: a cool wind rippled the surface of the estuary
More example sentences
  • Far below him, the wind rippled the smooth surface of the lake.
  • She exhaled in a great rush, rippling the water's surface, and reached for the soaps and scented oils her maids had left her.
  • She tossed her golden hair gently behind her shoulder, and reached down to ripple the cool water's surface.
1.2Move in a way resembling small waves: [no object]: fields of grain rippling in the wind
More example sentences
  • He had a flat stomach, the skin flawless and muscles rippling under as he moved to pull a shirt over his head.
  • Without a shirt on, his muscles rippled with every move.
  • The horse's muscles rippled with each bounding move it took forward, and it snorted as it breathed heavily.
1.3 [no object, with adverbial of direction] (Of a sound or feeling) spread through a person, group, or place: applause rippled around the tables
More example sentences
  • A murmur of excitement rippled around the assembly-hall.
  • The sound of explosions rippling across the city reached his ears as he lay awake in bed.
  • The disturbing sound rippled throughout the room and sent a chill running down his spine.





Example sentences
  • At home, instead of making pasta, I have settled for thick, ripply dried lasagna, which doesn't quite stack up.
  • Almost no light seeped through the grilles above her, making little ripply moonlit patches on the rainwater river.
  • He was strongly built, had his ripply hair slicked back, and wore official-looking black clothes.


Late 17th century (as a verb): of unknown origin.

Words that rhyme with ripple

fipple, nipple, stipple, tipple, triple

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: rip¦ple

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