Definition of ripple in English:



  • 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Tiffany put her hand in the water and began causing ripples on the water surface.’
    • ‘The tide was coming in in gentle waves, raindrops making ripples in the grey-blue water and causing circular patterns in the sand.’
    • ‘You look over the side of the deck and see smooth flowing waves, and the rain leaving ripples in the water.’
    • ‘She lightly touched the water and watched the ripples slowly spread out.’
    • ‘At the edge she paused, sitting with her feet dangling in the water, then she slipped gracefully down, disappearing immediately beneath the surface with barely a ripple.’
    • ‘I watched as a group of kids were running around and splashing in the water, creating ripples over its cool and smooth surface.’
    • ‘She threw tiny stones in the water creating a number of ripples on the surface.’
    • ‘I dragged my toe across the water making ripples.’
    • ‘I walked to the end by the ladder, turned around ran and jumped off the front end of the boat doing a perfect dive into the calm water, sending ripples everywhere.’
    • ‘The lake shined in the moonlight and reflected the sights above, the water ripples breaking up the starshine into tiny dancing lights.’
    • ‘They weren't sure what the girl would do, but instead of approaching them, she turned and ran, leaving small ripples in the water.’
    • ‘The ripples in the water distorted the reflection of the moon and trees.’
    • ‘He flicked a stray pebble with his toe into the water, the ripples expanding as far as the jetty.’
    • ‘Only the lightest of ripples formed from her interaction with the river.’
    • ‘Droplets were splattering everywhere, and ripples were forming.’
    • ‘Ponds and lakes reflect the scenery above them, with gentle ripples swaying on their surface.’
    • ‘The lake seemed to shimmer, ripples spreading in random places where the fish snatched bugs from the surface.’
    wavelet, wave, undulation, ripplet, ridge, crease, wrinkle, ruffle, pucker
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A thing resembling a ripple or ripples in appearance or movement.
      ‘the sand undulated and was ridged with ripples’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Sufficiently long that it can't be seen in a glance, the work ripples along the wall like wind through a field of grain.’
      • ‘I watched the ripples of his muscle and the glint of the sun on this hair.’
      • ‘The ripples of his muscles could show through the tight outfit that he wore.’
      • ‘A wreath of ivy encircled his head, and his hair fell in ripples to his shoulders.’
      • ‘The soft night wind made gentle ripples in his dark hair; his pale green eyes had become a deep emerald, reflecting the soft glow of the moon.’
      • ‘She groaned, the sound of her own voice sending ripples of pain through her own head.’
      • ‘The curve is nice and flat without ripples, dips or speed bumps, just the way you want a response curve to look.’
      • ‘A few people gasped as it bounced away harmlessly, sending ripples throughout the force field that was protecting them.’
      • ‘Burrows, mudstone clasts and symmetric, wave ripples are locally present.’
    2. 1.2A gentle rising and falling sound that spreads through a group of people.
      ‘a ripple of laughter ran around the room’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A quiet ripple of laughter murmured through the pub.’
      • ‘His friends hear and a ripple of laughter spreads through them.’
      • ‘A ripple of laughter echoed through the chilly room.’
      • ‘I heard ripples of laughter behind me; they were pleased I was putting up a fight instead of going quietly.’
      • ‘But a soft ripple of laughter emerges from the other young woman in the room, who's been standing and admiring her image in the tall mirror by the dresser.’
      • ‘Ryan Robertson piped in as he shrugged his jersey over his shoulders, his comment causing a ripple of laughter throughout the locker room.’
      • ‘Philip's statement brought a ripple of laughter from the crowd of assembled contestants gathered around the archery range.’
      • ‘There was a ripple of laughter among the men and she quickly smiled and gave a small laugh as if it was a joke.’
      • ‘A ripple of nervous laughter ran through the crowd.’
      • ‘A ripple of ironic laughter travelled through the crew.’
      • ‘A ripple of laughter passed through the audience, mostly from the men.’
      • ‘A ripple of laughter swept through the crowd and it seemed as though Andrew was not as popular as he appeared to believe.’
      • ‘This time she heard a ripple of chatter spread throughout the crowd as they realised what she had just said.’
      • ‘Conversation around the tavern died, ripples of silence spreading around the room as they saw us, saw me.’
      • ‘The hubbub subsided into a low ripple of murmurs.’
      • ‘Ian thought he heard a murmur ripple through the crowd, and glanced quickly over his shoulder.’
      • ‘The movement brought a ripple of laughter from the audience.’
    3. 1.3A particular feeling or effect that spreads through someone or something.
      ‘his words set off a ripple of excitement within her’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘For a moment I let myself enjoy the cool ripples of relief spreading over me.’
      • ‘After 40 minutes I'm sure I detected a ripple of discontent.’
      • ‘And now… now the thought of losing her is sending ripples of fear through him.’
      • ‘The announcement sent ripples of anxiety through the tech world.’
      • ‘His words created ripples of awe among the Senators, but none dare defy his decision.’
      • ‘Fitz, who had been feeling the pinch of loneliness himself, even though he made regular trips to the village and was used to being alone, felt a ripple of pleasure at the thought of company nearby.’
      • ‘Each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.’
      • ‘I turned to look at who it was and felt a ripple of fear rush through me.’
      • ‘A limited edition of 1,000 lithographs on sale at the Belgravia Gallery in London is causing ripples in artistic circles.’
      • ‘What started as a schoolgirl rebellion against Japan's rigid conformity is now causing ripples of admiration from the beau monde of international fashion.’
      • ‘There are some events in history that impact the world so hard their ripples spread out through years and decades.’
      • ‘The War also created economic and ideological ripples which spread across the whole world.’
      • ‘The very name of the famous Gloucester racecourse is enough to send ripples of excitement through any seasoned racing supporter.’
      • ‘Produced in 1964, the film created ripples at the Cannes festival that year.’
      • ‘After 40 minutes I'm sure I detected a ripple of discontent.’
      • ‘A government-constituted citizen-led feedback group caused ripples last year by listing dubious electoral and political practices.’
    4. 1.4Physics 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.
    5. 1.5mass 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’
  • 2mass noun A type of ice cream with wavy lines of coloured flavoured syrup running through it.

    ‘a family block of raspberry ripple’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You spend another £10.00 on a programme and a small tub of organic raspberry ripple ice cream.’
    • ‘It was chocolate ripple it was Chris's favorite.’


[with object]
  • 1(of water) form or flow with a series of small waves on the surface.

    ‘the Mediterranean rippled and sparkled’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The water rippled where she stood, and she enjoyed the coolness before completely submerging herself.’
    • ‘At first, the water only rippled like it would in a breeze.’
    • ‘He let himself get closer to the water, watching the waterfall's little waves rippling over the surface of the cool, deep pool.’
    • ‘Amy approached the glassy water, rippling with the waterfall's motion.’
    • ‘The trees and bushes around her began to rustle and the water began to ripple again, like some unseen being was swimming.’
    • ‘The surrounding lush green landscape is reflected in the water, which ripples gently as I float along it.’
    • ‘You could hear the sounds of the water slapping as it rippled on the shore.’
    • ‘The cool water rippled over his skin, and he broke to the surface as quietly as he could.’
    • ‘The water was rippling from the wind, and leaves being strewn into the small waves.’
    • ‘There was a biting wind skimming the gently rippling surface of the cold shore.’
    • ‘I gazed across the smooth rippling sea, aching in every part of me to be able to swim in it again.’
    • ‘The water was deep blue, and the water was very calm, rippling slightly in a gentle breeze.’
    • ‘There was a biting wind skimming the gently rippling surface of the cold shore.’
    form ripples, form ripples on, flow in wavelets, undulate, popple, lap, purl, babble
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with object Cause (the surface of water) to form small waves.
      ‘a cool wind rippled the surface of the estuary’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But in the water nearby, a leaf fell to the surface, rippling it, and a gentile breeze blew.’
      • ‘As soon as the first breath of wind rippled the ocean about them, the sail was unfurled and everyone aboard had a purpose again.’
      • ‘A thin wind rippled the puddles of dirty water among the cobblestones.’
      • ‘A huge gust of wind surrounded her, waving the branches of the trees, and rippling the water.’
      • ‘Some swans fluttered down and rippled the water.’
      • ‘She continued walking down towards the boating pond in the centre of the park and looked out across the water, now rippled by a hundred raindrops.’
      • ‘If you must ripple the pond, throw a small rock first and pay careful attention.’
    2. 1.2no object Move in a way resembling a series of small waves.
      ‘fields of grain rippling in the wind’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I could feel his muscles rippling beneath his tight shirt.’
      • ‘The ground looked solid enough, and didn't ripple when he moved, and basically did not seem like it should be pulling him under.’
      • ‘His horse was a of fine chestnut, with muscles rippling in its legs.’
      • ‘I could see the muscles rippling under his white T-shirt and could tell he was preping for a fight.’
      • ‘She ran down the steps into the main hall, her dress rippling behind her like waves as she descended the stairs.’
      • ‘The wheat rippling in the sun waved at me in unison.’
      • ‘Summer sun is reflected upwards from the water to ripple on walls and ceiling of the long space.’
      • ‘She watched the girl turn and walk away her skirt rippling around her like water, and suddenly she wished she'd asked for her name.’
      • ‘The wind rippled the sea of tall grass and grazed the two figures standing in the hills.’
      • ‘He saw the wind ripple the leaves in the vineyards.’
      • ‘A light wind swept over the shoreline, rippling Tilly's hair gently in the breeze as she sat cross legged on the ground, staring out over the sea.’
      • ‘Standing on the crest of the hill, illuminated against the morning sun, was a figure clothed in rippling blue-silver robes.’
      • ‘The lava rippled around them and began to toss and shoot in all directions.’
      • ‘A window lay open, and the curtain rippled gently in the night wind.’
      • ‘Her eyes glowed like sapphires and her hair rippled in the summer breeze.’
      • ‘He gestured elegantly at the door, his velvet coat rippling out behind him.’
      • ‘The lava rippled around them and began to toss and shoot in all directions.’
      ripple, flutter, undulate, stir, flap, sway, swing, waft, shake, quiver, oscillate, move
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3no object, with adverbial of direction (of a sound or feeling) spread through a person, group, or place.
      ‘applause rippled around the tables’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Astonished murmurs rippled through the gathered girls.’
      • ‘A low murmur of disapproval rippled throughout the audience.’
      • ‘Jade opened her mouth to retort, but the sound of a bell interrupted her, sending panic rippling through her.’
      • ‘I wonder if he can sense the emotion rippling through me.’
      • ‘Astonishment rippled through the assembled recruits.’
      • ‘A murmur rippled through the crowd for a few moments.’
      • ‘A slight murmur of laughter rippled through them.’
      • ‘Quiet laughter rippled across the room, but soon died down into silence.’
      • ‘The priest chuckled and the laughter rippled outward through the building.’
      • ‘A brief murmur rippled through the assembly of firefighters only to be silenced by a gavel banging.’
      • ‘An ominous murmur rippled through the crowd and many turned to examine their neighbors.’
      • ‘Laughter rippled through the group, relieving much of the tension that had built up.’
      • ‘A ripple of nervous laughter rippled through the room, and he held his goblet up in a toast.’
      • ‘Angry murmurs rippled through the assembled crowd - this was not what they had come to see.’
      • ‘A good-natured chuckle rippled around the group.’
      • ‘Mutterings rippled around the room about how all refugees should be taken in, but the squadron leader shook his head sombrely.’
      • ‘The children's cries ripple through the orphanage.’


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