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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.
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Examples from the web for dabbled
  • He's already dabbled in stop-motion animation where his objects act out more elaborate scenes.
  • He had dabbled in online marketing and was studying to get his real estate license.
  • They dabbled in teaching, ad copywriting, architecture criticism and still photography.
  • He dabbled in television and also worked as a scriptwriter and editor.
  • Although it has dabbled in technology, the party largely missed out on the high-tech boom of the last decade.
  • She has dabbled in appropriations law because it seems to answer so many questions.
  • In fact, she dabbled in golf and sports club marketing early in her career.
  • He remained single through his twenties and thirties, dabbled in photography, and did some work for a local newspaper.
  • He dabbled in alchemy and devoted himself to theology.
  • He was a woodcarver by trade but was also an antiquarian and dabbled in inventing.
British Dictionary definitions for dabbled

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
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Word Origin and History for dabbled

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
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