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dab1

[dab] /dæb/
verb (used with object), dabbed, dabbing.
1.
to pat or tap gently, as with something soft or moist:
The child dabbed his eyes with the handkerchief.
2.
to apply (a substance) by light strokes:
He dabbed the ointment on the rash.
3.
to strike, especially lightly, as with the hand.
4.
Masonry. to dress (stonework) with a pointed tool.
5.
Western U.S. to throw (a rope or line) in an effort to lasso or catch something:
Joe dabbed his rope on the steer.
verb (used without object), dabbed, dabbing.
6.
to strike lightly; make a dab; pat:
She dabbed at the stain on her dress.
noun
7.
a quick or light blow; a pat, as with the hand or something soft.
8.
a small moist lump or mass:
a dab of butter.
9.
a small quantity:
a dab of powder.
Origin of dab1
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English dabben; compare Norwegian dabbe shuffle along, walk slowly, German Tappe pat, tappen to feel along, grope
Synonyms
8. pat, bit; dollop, smidgen.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for dabbed
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Charlie took out a chunk of bread, dabbed a spoonful of marmalade on top of it, and gave it to the lad.

  • He dabbed at the cut cheek, then reached back into the case for an instrument.

    Millennium Everett B. Cole
  • She dabbed her eyes hurriedly with her handkerchief and tried to laugh.

    A Bachelor Husband Ruby M. Ayres
  • Mrs. Pendyce dabbed the wicker flask on her husband's handkerchief.

    The Country House John Galsworthy
  • Lacey dabbed at him with her gauzy scarf and fussed over him.

    Makers Cory Doctorow
  • She dabbed her handkerchief at her eyes, muttered: "My Heavens, what a fool!"

    Good Indian B. M. Bower
  • She dabbed them effectively with the end of her lace handkerchief.

    The Widow Helen Rowland
British Dictionary definitions for dabbed

dab1

/dæb/
verb dabs, dabbing, dabbed
1.
to touch lightly and quickly
2.
(transitive) to daub with short tapping strokes: to dab the wall with paint
3.
(transitive) to apply (paint, cream, etc) with short tapping strokes
noun
4.
a small amount, esp of something soft or moist: a dab of ink
5.
a small light stroke or tap, as with the hand
6.
(often pl) (mainly Brit) a slang word for fingerprint
Word Origin
C14: of imitative origin

dab2

/dæb/
noun
1.
a small common European brown flatfish, Limanda limanda, covered with rough toothed scales: family Pleuronectidae: a food fish
2.
(often pl) any of various other small flatfish, esp flounders Compare sand dab
3.
Also called patiki. a sand flounder, Rhombosolea plebia, common around New Zealand's South Island
Word Origin
C15: from Anglo-French dabbe, of uncertain origin

dab3

/dæb/
noun
1.
(Brit, informal) See dab hand
Word Origin
C17: perhaps from dab1 (vb)

DAB

abbreviation
1.
digital audio broadcasting
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dabbed

dab

v.

c.1300, dabben "to strike," of unknown origin, perhaps imitative. Modern sense of "strike with a slight, quick pressure" developed by mid-16c., influenced by French dauber (see daub). Related: Dabbed; dabbing. As a noun from c.1300, "heavy blow with a weapon." Dab hand is British slang, 1828, from dab "expert" (1690s), said to be school slang, of unknown origin, perhaps from dab in the "strike lightly" sense.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for dabbed

dab

Related Terms

smack

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Related Abbreviations for dabbed

DAB

Dictionary of American Biography
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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12
14
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