Origin of dabber

First recorded in 1780–90; dab1 + -er1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for dabber

Historical Examples of dabber

  • This forms a dabber, and should have something to hold it by.

  • When it is not available the dabber must be employed in the old manner.

    A Treatise on Etching

    Maxime Lalanne

  • The dabber not only equalizes the distribution of the varnish, but also removes what is superfluous.

    A Treatise on Etching

    Maxime Lalanne

  • A sheet of damp paper was laid on it and the back of the paper was carefully rubbed with a dabber or burnisher.

    Books Before Typography

    Frederick W. Hamilton

  • Clay of the desired thickness is then rolled out as described and applied to the mould and dabbed flat with a sponge or dabber.

British Dictionary definitions for dabber


  1. a pad used by printers for applying ink by hand
  2. a felt-tip pen with a very broad writing point, used especially by bingo players to cancel numbers on their cards
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