- to play and splash in or as if in water, especially with the hands.
- to work at anything in an irregular or superficial manner: to dabble in literature.
- (of a duck) to feed on shallow-water vegetation with rapid, splashing movements of the bill.
- to wet slightly in or with a liquid; splash; spatter.
- Chiefly South Midland U.S. to wash or rinse off lightly.
Origin of dabble
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for dabbler
In Dornan's telling, Clinton was a "self-indulgent hedonist and phony," a dabbler in drugs, a letch.The Original Tea Partier
October 20, 2010
The Irish archbishop, compared to him, appears a dabbler in Romanism.Diary from March 4, 1861, to November 12, 1862
What's Dabbler to him, or he to Dabbler, that he should weep?The Pit Town Coronet, Volume I (of 3)
Charles James Wills
He was an encourager of learning and the arts, and a dabbler in science.Old Continental Towns
Walter M. Gallichan
The Controller who bred me was only a dabbler in such things.Field Trip
The mother of Æschines, he says, was a kind of ‘wise woman,’ and dabbler in mysteries.Custom and Myth
- to dip, move, or splash (the fingers, feet, etc) in a liquid
- (intr; usually foll by in, with, or at) to deal (with) or work (at) frivolously or superficially; play (at)
- (tr) to daub, mottle, splash, or smearhis face was dabbled with paint
Word Origin and History for dabbler
1550s, probably a frequentative of dab. Original meaning was "wet by splashing;" modern figurative sense of "do superficially" first recorded 1620s. Related: Dabbled; dabbling. An Ellen Dablewife is in the Lancashire Inquests from 1336.