dab·​ble | \ˈda-bəl \
dabbled; dabbling\ -​b(ə-​)liŋ \

Definition of dabble 

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

1a : to paddle, splash, or play in or as if in water

b : to reach with the bill to the bottom of shallow water in order to obtain food

2 : to work or involve oneself superficially or intermittently especially in a secondary activity or interest dabbles in art

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

With it, any baker can dabble with a recipe to make modifications that benefit pie lovers everywhere. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Why IBM Paid $34 Billion for a Company That Gives Away Software for Free," 29 Oct. 2018 Although these Flashing Lights powders are easily the most vivid shades in KKW Beauty's relatively short, mostly neutral-toned history, the brand has dabbled in the occasional bright color before. Marci Robin, Allure, "KKW Beauty Is Launching Super-Colorful Flashing Lights Powders for Kim’s Birthday," 15 Oct. 2018 When the show first premiered in 2013, Netflix was just dabbling in the realm of original series, with little idea of what was to come with their breakout hits. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "House of Cards Season 6: Everything You Need to Know," 15 Oct. 2018 Born and raised in central London, her parents dabbled in the arts (including, according to Heindorff, her mom working as an extra in things like Little Shop of Horrors and Blade Runner). Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Cody Wilson was Defense Distributed—so who is the organization’s new leader?," 6 Oct. 2018 Google dabbled in a similar idea with its media player, Nexus Q, but that didn’t work out either. Emily Stewart, Vox, "How much would the iPhone cost if it were made in America?," 21 Sep. 2018 After the Spice Girls broke up in 2000, Beckham dabbled in modeling, solo music, and even design collaborations before ultimately deciding to launch her namesake brand in 2008. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "How Victoria Beckham Went From Posh Spice to Prestige Fashion Designer," 17 Sep. 2018 Tom Ford and Clinique have dabbled in releasing products for men, but Chanel just announced a new line of products for 2019 called Boy de Chanel. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "Chanel Is Launching a Makeup Line For Men," 20 Aug. 2018 But the hyper-connected investor still dabbles in national politics, particularly on gun control issues. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "Ten big Silicon Valley money players behind this November’s U.S. midterm elections," 20 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dabble.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of dabble

1557, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for dabble

perhaps frequentative of dab entry 2

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Statistics for dabble

Last Updated

17 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dabble

The first known use of dabble was in 1557

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English Language Learners Definition of dabble

: to take part in an activity in a way that is not serious

: to play or move around in water


dab·​ble | \ˈda-bəl \
dabbled; dabbling

Kids Definition of dabble

1 : to wet by splashing : spatter

2 : to paddle or play in or as if in water Ducks dabbled in the pond.

3 : to work without any deep involvement I just dabble with art.

Other Words from dabble

dabbler \ ˈda-​blər \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on dabble

See words that rhyme with dabble

Spanish Central: Translation of dabble

Nglish: Translation of dabble for Spanish Speakers

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