Definition of piebald in English:



  • (of a horse) having irregular patches of two colours, typically black and white.

    • ‘The Mage rode in on a beautiful piebald draft horse just before the first dinner bell.’
    • ‘Puppies, palm readings, pots, piebald ponies and porcelain were all haggled over at one of the biggest fairs for years.’
    • ‘These and the hedgerows drifted in and out with the ebb and flow of the firelight, but the two piebald horses were too far away to be seen, although they could be heard occasionally, blowing and stamping.’
    • ‘Cade sat astride his piebald gelding, Stetson tipped low over his eyes.’
    • ‘The resting caravan, surrounded by happy tousled children, mongrel dogs and piebald ponies grazing the long acre presents an attractive picture and few of us have not, at some time, envied these nomadic people their happy ways of life.’
    black and white, brown and white, pied, skewbald
    View synonyms


  • A piebald horse.

    • ‘Sturdy ponies that pulled family traps to Mass and churns of milk to the creamery, plough horses that once turned the brown earth to the sky and piebalds and skewbalds that were once the preserve of the Travellers have and are being bred here.’
    • ‘The big piebald and her rider continued towards a large jump that had been set up and leapt over it with graceful ease.’
    • ‘He glances over at Gregorious on a white stallion, and Valerius, on a piebald.’
    • ‘Yet, they and the other clans who travelled the country kept faith with their piebalds and skewbalds.’
    • ‘The seventh time I was riding a bucking piebald.’


Late 16th century: from pie (because of the magpie's black-and-white plumage) + bald (in the obsolete sense ‘streaked with white’).