- 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 dabbler
In Dornan's telling, Clinton was a "self-indulgent hedonist and phony," a dabbler in drugs, a letch.The Original Tea Partier
October 20, 2010
The Irish archbishop, compared to him, appears a dabbler in Romanism.Diary from March 4, 1861, to November 12, 1862
What's Dabbler to him, or he to Dabbler, that he should weep?The Pit Town Coronet, Volume I (of 3)
Charles James Wills
He was an encourager of learning and the arts, and a dabbler in science.Old Continental Towns
Walter M. Gallichan
The Controller who bred me was only a dabbler in such things.Field Trip
The mother of Æschines, he says, was a kind of ‘wise woman,’ and dabbler in mysteries.Custom and Myth
- 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 dabbler
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.