dapple

\ \ [14] Dapple is a puzzling word. It is presumably derived from or linked in some way to its contemporary dapple-grey (although this has never been proved), which has formal and semantic links with several colour terms in other Germanic languages (such as Old Norse apalgrár, German apfelgrau, and Dutch appelgrauw) that are surely too strong to be coincidental. They all mean literally ‘applegrey’.
\ \ Add to this such forms as French grispommelé, again literally ‘applegrey’, and Russian yablokakhdappled’, a derivative of yáblokoapple’, and the inference becomes even more compelling – that dappled is related in some way as yet unexplained to apple. Many of the above terms were applied specifically to grey horses marked with round blotches, and so perhaps the word had its beginnings in a perceived resemblance in shape between such markings and apples.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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  • Dapple — Dap ple, Dappled Dap pled, a. Marked with spots of different shades of color; spotted; variegated; as, a dapple horse. [1913 Webster] Some dapple mists still floated along the peaks. Sir W. Scott. [1913 Webster] Note: The word is used in… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Dapple — may refer to: Dapple, a book by Eleanor Arnason DAPPLE Project, a pollution study Dapple gray, a type of coat colour seen on horses Silver dapple gene, also known as the Z gene, that dilutes the black base coat color in horses Merle (dog coat), a …   Wikipedia

  • dapple — c.1400 (as pp. adj. dappled), perhaps a back formation from dapple gray apple gray (late 14c.), by resemblance to the markings on an apple (Cf. O.N. apalgrar dapple gray ), or, as it was used of gray horses with round blotches, perhaps via… …   Etymology dictionary

  • dapple — [dap′əl] adj. [ME in comp. dappel grai, dapple gray < ON depill, a spot, dot, splash of water < dapi, a pool] marked or variegated with spots; mottled: also dappled n. 1. a spotted condition 2. an animal whose skin is spotted vt., vi.… …   English World dictionary

  • Dapple — Dap ple, n. [Cf. Icel. depill a spot, a dot, a dog with spots over the eyes, dapi a pool, and E. dimple.] One of the spots on a dappled animal. [1913 Webster] He has . . . as many eyes on his body as my gray mare hath dapples. Sir P. Sidney …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Dapple — Dap ple, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Dappled}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Dappling}.] To variegate with spots; to spot. [1913 Webster] The gentle day, . . . Dapples the drowsy east with spots of gray. Shak. [1913 Webster] The dappled pink and blushing rose. Prior …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • dapple — ► VERB ▪ mark with spots or small patches. ► NOUN ▪ a patch of colour or light. ORIGIN perhaps related to an Old Norse word meaning spot …   English terms dictionary

  • dapple — 1. noun a) A mottled marking, usually in clusters. “My brother,” said he, “do not ride to–day / The dapple, as you’re wont; but mount the horse / Which I have chosen for thee. b) An animal with a mottled or spotted skin or coat. A Sarronnese… …   Wiktionary

  • dapple — [14] Dapple is a puzzling word. It is presumably derived from or linked in some way to its contemporary dapple grey (although this has never been proved), which has formal and semantic links with several colour terms in other Germanic languages… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • dapple — /dap euhl/, n., adj., v., dappled, dappling. n. 1. a spot or mottled marking, usually occurring in clusters. 2. an animal with a mottled skin or coat. adj. 3. dappled; spotted: a dapple horse. v.t., v.i. 4. to mark or become marked with spots.… …   Universalium

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