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[drib-uh l] /ˈdrɪb əl/
verb (used without object), dribbled, dribbling.
to fall or flow in drops or small quantities; trickle.
to drivel; slaver.
Sports. to advance a ball or puck by bouncing it or giving it a series of short kicks or pushes.
verb (used with object), dribbled, dribbling.
to let fall in drops.
  1. Basketball. to bounce (the ball) as in advancing or keeping control of it.
  2. (especially in ice hockey and soccer) to move (the ball or puck) along by a rapid succession of short kicks or pushes.
a small trickling stream or a drop.
a small quantity of anything:
a dribble of revenue.
Sports. an act or instance of dribbling a ball or puck.
Scot. a drizzle; a light rain.
Origin of dribble
1555-65; frequentative of obsolete drib (v.), probably variant of drip
Related forms
dribbler, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for dribbled
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Haig uttered one more call that dribbled into a sobbing cry.

    The Heart of Thunder Mountain Edfrid A. Bingham
  • You dribbled down the front, you didn't spill things in your lap.

    Decision Frank M. Robinson
  • She dribbled at the corners of her black, moist lips; her eye was soft and cynical.

    The Island Pharisees John Galsworthy
  • Again Berenice deftly caught it and dribbled for a yard or more.

    Hester's Counterpart Jean K. Baird
  • The Yill servant rolled his eyes, dribbled more of the soup into the bowl.

    The Yillian Way John Keith Laumer
  • The candle at her elbow flared and dribbled, and died at last with a splutter and a gasp.

    Regiment of Women Clemence Dane
  • Blood, seeping from it, had dribbled down his cheek and stained his collar.

    The Lone Ranger Rides Fran Striker
  • It just dribbled over the side of his mouth that was scabbed with purple crust.

    The Jewels of Aptor Samuel R. Delany
  • Why, 71 the solemnity that dribbled over me from mamma isn't washed off yet.

    Friendship and Folly Maria Louise Pool
British Dictionary definitions for dribbled


(usually intransitive) to flow or allow to flow in a thin stream or drops; trickle
(intransitive) to allow saliva to trickle from the mouth
(in soccer, basketball, hockey, etc) to propel (the ball) by repeatedly tapping it with the hand, foot, or stick
a small quantity of liquid falling in drops or flowing in a thin stream
a small quantity or supply
an act or instance of dribbling
Derived Forms
dribbler, noun
dribbly, adjective
Word Origin
C16: frequentative of drib, variant of drip
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 dribbled



1580s, frequentative of obsolete verb drib (1520s), variant of drip (v.). Sports sense first used of soccer (1863), basketball sense is by 1892 (implied in dribbling). Related: Dribbled; dribbling. As a noun from 1670s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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