[drib-uh l]
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verb (used without object), drib·bled, drib·bling.
  1. to fall or flow in drops or small quantities; trickle.
  2. to drivel; slaver.
  3. Sports. to advance a ball or puck by bouncing it or giving it a series of short kicks or pushes.
verb (used with object), drib·bled, drib·bling.
  1. to let fall in drops.
  2. Sports.
    1. Basketball.to bounce (the ball) as in advancing or keeping control of it.
    2. (especially in ice hockey and soccer) to move (the ball or puck) along by a rapid succession of short kicks or pushes.
  1. a small trickling stream or a drop.
  2. a small quantity of anything: a dribble of revenue.
  3. Sports. an act or instance of dribbling a ball or puck.
  4. Scot. a drizzle; a light rain.

Origin of dribble

1555–65; frequentative of obsolete drib (v.), probably variant of drip
Related formsdrib·bler, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for dribble


  1. (usually intr) to flow or allow to flow in a thin stream or drops; trickle
  2. (intr) to allow saliva to trickle from the mouth
  3. (in soccer, basketball, hockey, etc) to propel (the ball) by repeatedly tapping it with the hand, foot, or stick
  1. a small quantity of liquid falling in drops or flowing in a thin stream
  2. a small quantity or supply
  3. an act or instance of dribbling
Derived Formsdribbler, noundribbly, adjective

Word Origin for dribble

C16: frequentative of drib, variant of drip
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 dribble

1580s, frequentative of obsolete verb drib (1520s), variant of drip (v.). Sports sense first used of soccer (1863), basketball sense is by 1892 (implied in dribbling). Related: Dribbled; dribbling. As a noun from 1670s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper