• synonyms


[dib-uh l]
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  1. Also dib·ber [dib-er] /ˈdɪb ər/. a small, handheld, pointed implement for making holes in soil for planting seedlings, bulbs, etc.
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verb (used with object), dib·bled, dib·bling.
  1. to make a hole (in the ground) with or as if with a dibble.
  2. to set (plants) in holes made with a dibble.
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verb (used without object), dib·bled, dib·bling.
  1. to work with a dibble.
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Origin of dibble

1325–75; late Middle English, perhaps akin to dib
Related formsdib·bler, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for dibble

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Doctor taps Mr. Dibble on the eyebrow with his forefinger, and away they go.

  • This young lady, a Miss Dibble, is downstairs, where her typewriter will not bother.

    The Blind Spot

    Austin Hall

  • Yes, put that down, too, Miss Dibble; I want people to know everything!

    The Blind Spot

    Austin Hall

  • But, of course, it was Mrs. Dibble who could tell the most, and who was more in demand than ever.

    Little Lord Fauntleroy

    Frances Hodgson Burnett

  • The sky was overcast, and Dibble said that a storm was brewing.

British Dictionary definitions for dibble


  1. Also called (esp Brit): dibber (ˈdɪbə) a small hand tool used to make holes in the ground for planting or transplanting bulbs, seeds, or roots
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  1. to make a hole in (the ground) with a dibble
  2. to plant (bulbs, seeds, etc) with a dibble
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Derived Formsdibbler, noun

Word Origin

C15: of obscure origin


verb (intr)
  1. a variant of dib
  2. a less common word for dabble
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  1. British slang a policeman
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Word Origin

C20: allusion to the police officer of that name in the children's animated cartoon Top Cat
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

Word Origin and History for dibble


"tool to make a hole in the soil (as to plant seeds)," mid-15c., probably from Middle English dibben (perhaps akin to dip) + instrumental suffix -le. The verb is from 1580s. Related: Dibbled; dibbling.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper