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 Photography has become more accessible and affordable to dabble in (who even needs a real camera with phones these days?). Megan Spurrell, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Complete Guide to Travel Photography," 19 Nov. 2019 Bigger return, bigger risk The carpenters' fund is not the only local pension fund to dabble in risky deals. Jc Reindl, Detroit Free Press, "Metro Detroit union sunk $100M+ into risky deals — now retirees could pay the price," 12 Nov. 2019 Yet what first drew the developmental biologist Kimberly Cooper to dabble in gene drive technology for mice was not conservation but evolution. Quanta Magazine, "Gene Drives Work in Mice (if They’re Female)," 27 Aug. 2019 Most of these men and women, as one told me, do not have the time nor inclination to dabble in this thing called social media. John Archibald | Jarchibald@al.com, al, "When disagreement was common ground," 25 Aug. 2019 After volunteering as team mother, scorekeeper and chauffeur to their children while they were involved in softball, baseball, tennis and soccer, Loretta was free to dabble in other pursuits when the couple became empty nesters. Ramona Sentinel, "Donhams collect memories from a lifetime in Ramona," 22 Aug. 2019 The land was owned by Robert Morris, mostly known as the financier of the American Revolution, a man not unknown to dabble in the slave trade. Stephan Salisbury, Philly.com, "Lemon Hill mansion becomes an image of resistance in daring art takeover," 13 Apr. 2018 My choice for aging gracefully is to dabble in treatments. Christie Brinkley As Told To Sarah Spellings, The Cut, "Christie Brinkley Thinks Life Is Too Short to Ignore Cheese," 11 Jan. 2018 Rich Mayor has been a high school sports reporter and editor since August 2011, occasionally dabbling in the college and pro ranks. Rich Mayor, chicagotribune.com, "Kate McLaughlin’s stellar season leads New Trier to field hockey state title," 9 Nov. 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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Time Traveler for dabble

Time Traveler

The first known use of dabble was in 1557

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Statistics for dabble

Last Updated

1 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Dabble.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dabbled. Accessed 9 December 2019.

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More Definitions for dabble


How to pronounce dabble (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dabble

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dabble

Spanish Central: Translation of dabble

Nglish: Translation of dabble for Spanish Speakers

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