dab·​ble ˈda-bəl How to pronounce dabble (audio)
dabbled; dabbling ˈda-b(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce dabble (audio)

intransitive verb

: to work or involve oneself superficially or intermittently especially in a secondary activity or interest
dabbles in art
: to paddle, splash, or play in or as if in water
: to reach with the bill to the bottom of shallow water in order to obtain food

transitive verb

: to wet by splashing or by little dips or strokes : spatter

Examples of dabble in a Sentence

The ducks dabbled in the stream. She sat by the pool, dabbling her feet in the cool water.
Recent Examples on the Web Both Ike and Tina dabbled with astrology and psychic phenomena. Carl Arrington, Peoplemag, 24 May 2024 While a foldable iPhone would be a first for Apple, other mobile makers have already dabbled with self-repairing materials. Abby Montanez, Robb Report, 22 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for dabble 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dabble.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


perhaps frequentative of dab entry 2

First Known Use

1557, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of dabble was in 1557

Dictionary Entries Near dabble

Cite this Entry

“Dabble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dabble. Accessed 28 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


dab·​ble ˈdab-əl How to pronounce dabble (audio)
dabbled; dabbling -(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce dabble (audio)
: to wet by splashing : spatter
: to paddle or play in or as if in water
: to reach with the bill to the bottom of shallow water to obtain food
ducks dabbled in the pond
: to work or concern oneself lightly or without deep involvement
they dabble in poetry

More from Merriam-Webster on dabble

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