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early 15c., "to crease;" 1660s, "to present a ruffled surface," of unknown origin, perhaps a frequentative of rip (v.). Transitive sense "cause to ripple" is from 1786. Related: Rippled; rippling.
"very small wave," 1798, from earlier meaning "stretch of shallow, rippling water" (1755), from ripple (v.). Meaning "mark or movement suggestive of a ripple" is from 1843. Meaning "ice cream streaked with colored syrup" first attested 1939, so called from its appearance. As the name of a brand of inexpensive wine sold by E&J Gallo Winery, from 1960 to 1984. Ripple effect is from 1950.
[origin uncertain; perhaps fr rip in the sense of a strong action, attempt, or blow; perhaps fr 1800s make a riffle or ripple, ''to succeed, make it,'' based on crossing or getting through dangerous rapids in a river]