a spot or mottled marking, usually occurring in clusters.
an animal with a mottled skin or coat.
dappled; spotted: a dapple horse.
verb (used with object), verb (used without object), dappled, dappling.
to mark or become marked with spots.

1545–55; probably back formation from dappled

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World English Dictionary
dapple (ˈdæpəl)
1.  to mark or become marked with spots or patches of a different colour; mottle
2.  mottled or spotted markings
3.  a dappled horse, etc
4.  marked with dapples or spots
[C14: of unknown origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
Main Entry:  dapple1
Part of Speech:  n
Definition:  rounded patches of a color or shade against a differently colored background
Etymology:  Middle English dappel
Main Entry:  dapple1
Part of Speech:  v
Definition:  to mark with rounded patches of a color or shade; to spot
Etymology:  Middle English dappel
Usage:  transitive
Main Entry:  dapple2
Part of Speech:  n
Definition:  a mottled appearance, esp. on the coat of an animal as a horse
Etymology:  Middle English dappel
Main Entry:  dapple2
Part of Speech:  v
Definition:  to become dappled
Etymology:  Middle English dappel
Usage:  intransitive
Main Entry:  dapple
Part of Speech:  adj
Definition:  dappled
Etymology:  Middle English dappel
Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
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Word Origin & History

c.1400 (dappled), perhaps a back-formation from dapple-grey "apple-grey" (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 of apples themselves.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The mozzarella-and-sauce landscape is created by fountains of scorching-hot sulfur and its compounds, which dapple the surface.
Beech and oak trees dapple shade over rare orchids, buttercups and other wildflowers of the woodlands.
Patterns of shade and sun dapple the surrounding landscape.
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