from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To form or display little undulations or waves on the surface, as disturbed water does.
  • intransitive v. To flow with such undulations or waves on the surface.
  • intransitive v. To rise and fall gently in tone or volume.
  • transitive v. To cause to form small waves or undulations.
  • n. A small wave.
  • n. A wavelike motion; an undulation: the ripple of a flag.
  • n. A sound like that made by rippling water: a ripple of laughter.
  • n. A comblike, toothed instrument for removing seeds from flax and other fibers.
  • transitive v. To remove seeds from with a comblike, toothed instrument.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A moving disturbance or undulation in the surface of a liquid.
  • n. A sound similar to that of undulating water.
  • n. A style of ice cream in which flavors have been coarsely blended together.
  • n. A small oscillation of an otherwise steady signal.
  • v. To move like the undulating surface of a body of water; to undulate.
  • v. To propagate like a moving wave.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An implement, with teeth like those of a comb, for removing the seeds and seed vessels from flax, broom corn, etc.
  • n. The fretting or dimpling of the surface, as of running water; little curling waves.
  • n. A little wave or undulation; a sound such as is made by little waves.
  • intransitive v. To become fretted or dimpled on the surface, as water when agitated or running over a rough bottom; to be covered with small waves or undulations, as a field of grain.
  • intransitive v. To make a sound as of water running gently over a rough bottom, or the breaking of ripples on the shore.
  • transitive v. To remove the seeds from (the stalks of flax, etc.), by means of a ripple.
  • transitive v. Hence, to scratch or tear.
  • transitive v. To fret or dimple, as the surface of running water; to cover with small waves or undulations.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To clean or remove the seeds or capsules from, as from the stalks of flax.
  • To scratch or break slightly; graze.
  • To assume or wear a ruffled surface, as water when agitated by a gentle wind or by running over a stony bottom; be covered with small waves or undulations.
  • To make a sound as of water running over a rough bottom: as, laughter rippling pleasantly.
  • To fret or agitate lightly, as the surface of water; form in small waves or undulations; curl.
  • To mark with or as with ripples. See ripple-mark.
  • n. A large comb or hatchel for separating the seeds or capsules from flax; also, in the United States, a toothed instrument for removing the seeds from broomcorn.
  • n. The light fretting or ruffling of the surface of water; a little curling wave; an undulation.
  • n. A sound like that of water running over a stony bottom: as, a ripple of laughter.
  • n. A small coppice.
  • n. A weakness in the back and loins, attended with shooting pains: a form of tabes dorsualis, the same as Friedrich's ataxia (which see, under ataxia).
  • n. Same as rip.
  • n. In mathematics, a wave whose length is less than that for which the velocity of propagation is a minimum.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. flow in an irregular current with a bubbling noise
  • n. (electronics) an oscillation of small amplitude imposed on top of a steady value
  • v. stir up (water) so as to form ripples
  • n. a small wave on the surface of a liquid


Middle English ripplen, to wrinkle, crease, perhaps of Scandinavian origin.
Middle English, from *ripelen, to remove seeds; akin to Middle Low German repelen.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English rypelen, frequentative of rippen 'to rip'. More at rip. (Wiktionary)


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