verb (used without object), dabbled, dabbling.
to play and splash in or as if in water, especially with the hands.
to work at anything in an irregular or superficial manner: to dabble in literature.
(of a duck) to feed on shallow-water vegetation with rapid, splashing movements of the bill.
verb (used with object), dabbled, dabbling.
to wet slightly in or with a liquid; splash; spatter.
Chiefly South Midland U.S. to wash or rinse off lightly.

1550–60; probably dab1 + -le; compare Dutch dabbelen, dabben

dabbler, noun
dabblingly, adverb
undabbled, adjective

2. putter, fiddle, toy, dally.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
dabble (ˈdæbəl)
1.  to dip, move, or splash (the fingers, feet, etc) in a liquid
2.  (intr; usually foll by in, with, or at) to deal (with) or work (at) frivolously or superficially; play (at)
3.  (tr) to daub, mottle, splash, or smear: his face was dabbled with paint
[C16: probably from Dutch dabbelen; see dab1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1550s, frequentative of dab. Original meaning was "wet by splashing;" modern fig. sense first recorded 1625.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
He might be mistaken for an eccentric dabbler, except that he is far from alone.
Intensive surveys were timed individually to best estimate dabbler populations in each survey area.
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