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[dibz] /dɪbz/
noun, Informal.
money in small amounts.
rights; claims:
I have dibs on the car when Jimmy brings it back.
Origin of dibs
1720-30; shortening of earlier dibstones a children's game; see dib


[dib] /dɪb/
verb (used without object), dibbed, dibbing.
to fish by letting the bait bob lightly on the water.
1600-10; expressive word akin to dab1, dip1, bob1, etc. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for dibs
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Glad you're in time, sir, and to 'ear the dibs a-rattlin' in your pockets.

    Acton's Feud Frederick Swainson
  • They'll never go for England, because England's got the dibs.

    The Message Alec John Dawson
  • Ravenhursts an awfully nice place: but(facing him) You know, one must look after the dibs.

    A Fool's Paradise Sydney Grundy
  • However, I assume that you who read this are actually in need of the dibs.

  • Miss Derwents an awfully nice girl, but you know, one must look after the dibs.

    A Fool's Paradise Sydney Grundy
  • But, hang it all, Reggie boy, what's the good of true love if you haven't got the dibs?

    Hilda Wade Grant Allen
  • Old dibs smiled a sickly smile, like he was unbending to a pair of kids.

British Dictionary definitions for dibs


plural noun
another word for jacks
a slang word for money
(foll by on) (informal) rights (to) or claims (on): used mainly by children
Word Origin
C18: shortened from dibstones children's game played with knucklebones or pebbles, probably from dib to tap, dip, variant of dab1


verb dibs, dibbing, dibbed
(intransitive) to fish by allowing the bait to bob and dip on the surface
Word Origin
C17: perhaps alteration of 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 dibs

children's word to express a claim on something, 1932, originally U.S., apparently a contraction of dibstone "a knucklebone or jack in a children's game" (1690s), of unknown origin.


see dibs.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for dibs



  1. Money: How did you make your dibs? (1807+)
  2. (also dibs on) A claim; a preemptive declaration: It's mine, I said dibs first/ Dibs on the front seat

[perhaps fr dibstones, a children's game played with small bones or other counters]



  1. A share, esp a share of money: I ought to collect the kid's dib, too (1829+)
  2. A dollar: fifty sweet dibs (1930s+)

[probably fr divvy]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Related Abbreviations for dibs


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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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Idioms and Phrases with dibs


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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