follow Dictionary.com

Why turkey has the same name as Turkey

dabble

[dab-uh l] /ˈdæb əl/
verb (used without object), dabbled, dabbling.
1.
to play and splash in or as if in water, especially with the hands.
2.
to work at anything in an irregular or superficial manner:
to dabble in literature.
3.
(of a duck) to feed on shallow-water vegetation with rapid, splashing movements of the bill.
verb (used with object), dabbled, dabbling.
4.
to wet slightly in or with a liquid; splash; spatter.
5.
Chiefly South Midland U.S. to wash or rinse off lightly.
Origin
1550-1560
1550-60; probably dab1 + -le; compare Dutch dabbelen, dabben
Related forms
dabbler, noun
dabblingly, adverb
undabbled, adjective
Synonyms
2. putter, fiddle, toy, dally.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for dabble
  • Called to the bar, he began to practise in the revision courts and to dabble in political journalism.
  • With your foundation laid, it's time to dabble in motion processing.
  • Meanwhile, everyone else will likely have to dabble with a data transfer.
  • In my field, book reviews count for zilch and are something that senior faculty dabble in.
  • In the process, they are among the first of their generation to dabble with political participation.
  • Those that did dabble in subprime loans were able to withdraw quickly.
  • These funds typically back businesses that dabble in clean tech or hire locals.
  • Twitter is trying to minimise developers' fears by being clearer about the areas it might one day dabble in.
  • The spread of fast broadband connectivity in many countries has also encouraged people to dabble in online dating.
  • These same interests dabble with the safety of all nuclear power plants worldwide.
British Dictionary definitions for dabble

dabble

/ˈdæbəl/
verb
1.
to dip, move, or splash (the fingers, feet, etc) in a liquid
2.
(intransitive; usually foll by in, with, or at) to deal (with) or work (at) frivolously or superficially; play (at)
3.
(transitive) to daub, mottle, splash, or smear: his face was dabbled with paint
Derived Forms
dabbler, noun
Word Origin
C16: probably from Dutch dabbelen; see dab1
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for dabble
v.

1550s, probably a frequentative of dab. Original meaning was "wet by splashing;" modern figurative sense of "do superficially" first recorded 1620s. Related: Dabbled; dabbling. An Ellen Dablewife is in the Lancashire Inquests from 1336.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for dabble

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for dabble

11
14
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with dabble

Nearby words for dabble