dab hand


3 [dab] Slang.
Also called dab hand. a person skilled in something; an expert.
an excellent or extraordinary person or thing.
expert; excellent; extraordinary.

1685–95; of uncertain origin

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
dab1 (dæb)
vb , dabs, dabbing, dabbed
1.  to touch lightly and quickly
2.  (tr) to daub with short tapping strokes: to dab the wall with paint
3.  (tr) to apply (paint, cream, etc) with short tapping strokes
4.  a small amount, esp of something soft or moist: a dab of ink
5.  a small light stroke or tap, as with the hand
6.  chiefly (Brit) (often plural) a slang word for fingerprint
[C14: of imitative origin]

dab2 (dæb)
1.  a small common European brown flatfish, Limanda limanda, covered with rough toothed scales: family Pleuronectidae: a food fish
2.  (often plural) Compare sand dab any of various other small flatfish, esp flounders
3.  Also called: patiki a sand flounder, Rhombosolea plebia, common around New Zealand's South Island
[C15: from Anglo-French dabbe, of uncertain origin]

dab3 (dæb)
informal (Brit) See dab hand
[C17: perhaps from dab1 (vb)]

abbreviation for
digital audio broadcasting

dab hand
informal (Brit) a person who is particularly skilled at something; expert: a dab hand at chess

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

c.1300, "heavy blow with a weapon," from dabben "to strike," perhaps imitative. Modern sense of "strike with a slight, quick pressure" developed by 1590s, infl. by Fr. dauber (see daub). Dab hand is British slang, 1828, from dab "expert" (1691), said to be school slang, of unknown origin.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
Dictionary of American Biography
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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