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

Definition of dabble

intransitive verb

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

transitive verb

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

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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

That same year, a Pew Research Center survey reported that roughly half of Americans had dabbled in alternative medicine. Sanam Yar, New York Times, "Now Therapists Have to Figure Out Astrology, Tarot and Psychedelics," 28 Aug. 2019 Dancing After Losing His First Tooth Music, motherhood and fashion aren’t the only areas of life Ciara has dabbled in. Jen Juneau, PEOPLE.com, "Ciara Serves as Creative Director for Nike and Jordan's Fall Kids' Collection at Finish Line," 6 Aug. 2019 The Spartans also used Justin Layne and Donnie Corley both ways as true freshmen in 2016, and Layne also dabbled at wideout last season due to a glut of injuries on offense. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State football shifts 4-star recruit Julian Barnett to WR for now," 1 Aug. 2019 One survey this year from LendEDU suggested that 7% of respondents had dabbled in cryptocurrency. Irina Ivanova, CBS News, "IRS goes after cryptocurrency owners for unpaid taxes," 26 July 2019 Uber is dabbling in an Amazon Prime-style monthly subscription service that rolls together all of its major services: ride-hailing, Uber Eats food delivery, and bike and scooter rentals. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Uber is testing an all-in-one subscription for rides, food delivery, bikes, and scooters," 23 July 2019 Among the more impressive entries this year were new trolling motors from Garmin and Lowrance, two electronics companies which had not dabbled in anything outside the field before. Frank Sargeant, al.com, "Get hooked on the latest gear that debuted at world’s largest fishing tackle show," 14 July 2019 Most of my focus with the men’s game was international, dabbling in the Champions League. Tom Hoffarth, latimes.com, "Aly Wagner Q&A: Fox Sports analyst embraces Women’s World Cup moment," 7 June 2019 The original film starred Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman as sister witches who dabbled in dark magic before finding happiness together in a small town. Jodi Guglielmi, PEOPLE.com, "Practical Magic (Starring Nicole Kidman & Sandra Bullock!) Is Getting a Prequel Series on HBO Max," 21 Aug. 2019

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 Sep 2019

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 How to pronounce dabble (audio) \
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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dabble

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dabble

Spanish Central: Translation of dabble

Nglish: Translation of dabble for Spanish Speakers

Comments on dabble

What made you want to look up dabble? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make a temporary encampment

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