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.