[ dab-uhl ]
See synonyms for: dabbledabblingdabbler on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object),dab·bled, dab·bling.
  1. to play and splash in or as if in water, especially with the hands.

  2. to work at anything in an irregular or superficial manner: to dabble in literature.

  1. (of a duck) to feed on shallow-water vegetation with rapid, splashing movements of the bill.

verb (used with object),dab·bled, dab·bling.
  1. to wet slightly in or with a liquid; splash; spatter.

  2. Chiefly South Midland U.S. to wash or rinse off lightly.

Origin of dabble

1550–60; probably dab1 + -le; compare Dutch dabbelen, dabben

Other words for dabble

Other words from dabble

  • dabbler, noun
  • dab·bling·ly, adverb
  • un·dab·bled, adjective

Words Nearby dabble

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use dabble in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for dabble


/ (ˈdæbəl) /

  1. to dip, move, or splash (the fingers, feet, etc) in a liquid

  2. (intr; usually foll by in, with, or at) to deal (with) or work (at) frivolously or superficially; play (at)

  1. (tr) to daub, mottle, splash, or smear: his face was dabbled with paint

Origin of dabble

C16: probably from Dutch dabbelen; see dab 1

Derived forms of dabble

  • dabbler, noun

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