While throwing stones in water, we will see lots of small rings formed. Can anyone say single word for the rings formation?.


7 Answers 7


Ripples is the word that describes this phenomenon.

OALD: a small wave on the surface of a liquid, especially water in a lake, etc The air was so still that there was hardly a ripple on the pond's surface.

ripples on a lake
Ripples on a lake

  • 5
    I really believe ripples is the word the O.P. is after.
    – J.R.
    Sep 15, 2013 at 11:12
  • "While throwing stones in water". Ripples are not formed by a stone. See naturalnavigator.com/the-library/ripples-waves-and-swell "Ripples are the instant effect of wind on water and they die down as quickly as they form, as the surface tension of the water dampens their efforts"
    – Pam
    Sep 15, 2013 at 12:33
  • It doesn't say that ripples cannot be formed by dropping pebbles in the water. It says ripples are formed by the effect of the wind. If you prefer I can post an image of ripples forming while ducks are swimming.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 15, 2013 at 12:41
  • Yep. Probably wave is just a more general term. While ripple seems to imply something relatively small. Not sure about the exact difference though.
    – Pam
    Sep 15, 2013 at 13:00
  • 1
    @Pam "When you throw a stone in the water, it forms ripples that spread out." (Source). As for describing the image in the picture, I'd use ripples a great majority of the time. That said, the word ripples can also be used to describe tiny waves made by wind. In this case, it's not one or the other, it's both.
    – J.R.
    Sep 15, 2013 at 18:20

A capillary wave is a wave traveling along the phase boundary of a fluid, whose dynamics are dominated by the effects of surface tension.

  • It's also not a single word. :)
    – Jeff Gohlke
    Sep 15, 2013 at 15:42

While throwing stones... single word for the rings formation?

How about waves ?

"Surface waves in water" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wave

For a difference with ripples and swell, cfr: http://www.naturalnavigator.com/the-library/ripples-waves-and-swell

"Ripples are the instant effect of wind on water and they die down as quickly as they form, as the surface tension of the water dampens their efforts"


Ripples is the formation caused while throwing stones on the surface of the water.


Probably not the word you're looking for, but this is an example of a perturbation (of the water's surface).


The expanding rings that form around an object dropped in a body of water is called undulation.

  • 2
    It's true that they do undulate, but the term is not very specific, and using it to mean "small waves in a circular pattern" in particular does not normally work. That just isn't what someone would understand as a definition. Jan 23, 2016 at 21:10

There could be multiple correct answers to the question, depending on the perspective or specific context from which it's asked.

The adjective concentric can be applied to rings or circles to characterize a set of them that have a common center.

Concentric circles
(source: wolfram.com)


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