[ dab-uhl ]
/ ˈdæb əl /

verb (used without object), dab·bled, dab·bling.

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.

verb (used with object), dab·bled, dab·bling.

to wet slightly in or with a liquid; splash; spatter.
Chiefly South Midland U.S. to wash or rinse off lightly.

Origin of dabble

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


dab·bler, noundab·bling·ly, adverbun·dab·bled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for dabbling

British Dictionary definitions for dabbling

/ (ˈdæbəl) /


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

Derived forms of dabble

dabbler, noun

Word Origin for dabble

C16: probably from Dutch dabbelen; see dab 1
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