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The continuing impact that one thing or event has on others. She always hoped that the kindness she showed others would have a positive ripple effect through her community. Many people believe that the flapping of a butterfly's wings can cause a ripple effect that impacts weather patterns hundreds of miles away.
ripple of excitement
a series of quiet but excited murmurs. A ripple of excitement spread through the crowd. As the president came near, a ripple of excitement indicated that people could really see him.
ripple of protest
quiet remarks protesting something; a small amount of subdued protest. There was only a ripple of protest about the new tax law. The rude comedian hardly drew a ripple of protest.
ripple through something
1. Lit. to move through a liquid so as to cause ripples or tiny waves. The canoe rippled through the still water. A tiny snake rippled through the water of the swamp.
2. Fig. to move through something or a group of people in a ripple or wave motion. A murmur of excitement rippled through the crowd. Some giggling rippled through the group of children sitting by the door.
See also: ripple
a ripple effect
if something has a ripple effect, it affects something else, which then affects other things Court rulings often have a ripple effect, spreading into areas of law that weren't part of the original cases.