- 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 dabbling
Dabbling in night school photography classes in Miami in 1953, a 23- or 24-year-old Yeager quickly made a splash.The Queen of the Playboy Centerfolds
May 31, 2014
Back to all the dabbling as a youngster—why did you choose acting over sports and music?Tom Hiddleston On His Rocker-Vampire in ‘Only Lovers Left Alive,’ ‘Thor 2,’ and ‘Avengers 2’
September 7, 2013
The Hangover was a mini-comeback of sorts for you after dabbling in some indie films in the mid-2000s.Heather Graham on ‘The Hangover Part III,’ Roles for Women, and More
May 24, 2013
He soon began playing drums, before moving on to playing Pink Floyd tunes on the piano, and dabbling in synthesizers.Gotye on His Viral Hit ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’
March 31, 2012
In interviews, a few students admitted to dabbling in drugs on campus, but said they never heard about thuggish dealers.Columbia University Drug Bust
Joshua Robinson, Lloyd Grove
December 8, 2010
She was not a little suspected of dabbling in other forbidden things.The Golden Dog
And instead of dabbling in religion for myself I put myself in its hands.Natural Law in the Spiritual World
That's rather hard on the rest of us who are dabbling in politics.A Man of Two Countries
Raymond must give up his dabbling, and set to work like a man.The Boy Artist.
As a matter of fact, it was no foot at all he was dabbling, but only a maimed stump.Stories of the Ships
Lewis R. Freeman
- 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 dabbling
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.