- 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 for dabble on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for dabble
Then, about five years ago, I had this urge to dabble with it again.Stephen Merchant Talks ‘Hello Ladies’ movie, the Nicole Kidman Cameo, and Legacy of ‘The Office’
November 22, 2014
For gay or straight performers, and those who dabble in both, there's no industry standard for safety.Risky Business or None of Your Business? Gay XXX Films and the Condom Question
November 1, 2014
Did you dabble in a bit of liquid courage before your Sin City dance scenes?Jessica Alba on 'Sin City,' Typecasting, and How Homophobia Pushed Her Away From the Church
August 18, 2014
In the interim, Herring took a short break from the band to dabble in his side-project—rapping under the moniker Hemlock Ernst.Future Islands Frontman Samuel T. Herring on Their 11-Year Journey to Letterman and Viral Stardom
April 3, 2014
Hourani began to dabble with a myriad of artistic careers, from model scouting to styling to art direction.Rad Hourani, The First Unisex Couture Designer
January 29, 2014
At Vernon, his sickly condition did not permit him, when a child, to go and dabble in the Seine.Therese Raquin
"It is not an alchemy in which myself I dabble," he said slowly.The Historical Nights' Entertainment
I said I didn't think it was any use to dabble; we ought to go to the root of everything.Fraternity
Marjorie was saying as she continued to dabble in the water.The Loyalist
James Francis Barrett
But for this the turf would be a very poor thing to dabble in.
- 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 dabble
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.