[drib-uh l]

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

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

to let fall in drops.
  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.


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. 2019

Examples from the Web for dribbled

Contemporary Examples of dribbled

  • Empire had dribbled away after 1945, for the Second World War exhausted victors as surely as it obliterated the vanquished.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Great Fallacy of Obama's War

    M.J. Akbar

    November 13, 2009

Historical Examples of dribbled

  • Haig uttered one more call that dribbled into a sobbing cry.

  • You dribbled down the front, you didn't spill things in your lap.


    Frank M. Robinson

  • She dribbled at the corners of her black, moist lips; her eye was soft and cynical.

    The Island Pharisees

    John Galsworthy

  • Again Berenice deftly caught it and dribbled for a yard or more.

  • The Yill servant rolled his eyes, dribbled more of the soup into the bowl.

    The Yillian Way

    John Keith Laumer

British Dictionary definitions for dribbled



(usually intr) to flow or allow to flow in a thin stream or drops; trickle
(intr) to allow saliva to trickle from the mouth
(in soccer, basketball, hockey, etc) to propel (the ball) by repeatedly tapping it with the hand, foot, or stick


a small quantity of liquid falling in drops or flowing in a thin stream
a small quantity or supply
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 dribbled



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