drib·ble | \ˈdri-bəl \
dribbled; dribbling\-(ə-)liŋ \

Definition of dribble 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to issue sporadically and in small bits

2 : to let or cause to fall in drops little by little

3a : to propel by successive slight taps or bounces with hand, foot, or stick dribble a basketball dribble a puck

b : to hit (a ball) without much force so that it bounces slowly along the ground

intransitive verb

1 : to fall or flow in drops or in a thin intermittent stream : trickle

2 : to let saliva trickle from the corner of the mouth : drool

3 : to come or issue in piecemeal or desultory fashion

4a : to dribble a ball or puck

b : to proceed by dribbling

c of a ball : to move with short bounces



Definition of dribble (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a tiny or insignificant bit or quantity

2 : a small trickling stream or flow

3 : an act, instance, or manner of dribbling a ball or puck

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Other Words from dribble


dribbler \-b(ə-)lər \ noun


dribbly \ˈdri-b(ə-)lē \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for dribble

Synonyms: Verb

bubble, gurgle, lap, plash, ripple, splash, trickle, wash

Synonyms: Noun

atom, bit, crumb, fleck, flyspeck, grain, granule, molecule, morsel, mote, nubbin, nugget, particle, patch, scrap, scruple, snip, snippet, speck, tittle

Antonyms: Verb

pour, roll, stream

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Examples of dribble in a Sentence


Juice dribbled down his chin. She accidentally dribbled wine onto the rug. Dribble olive oil over the warm bread before serving. She dribbled across the basketball court. He skillfully dribbled the soccer ball towards the goal.


He wiped a dribble of juice from the corner of the baby's mouth. She gave the ball a dribble before passing it.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The curious thing, though, is Smith's choice to dribble for about three seconds instead of putting up a shot attempt or immediately passing the ball to LeBron James (which is always a sound option). Dakota Crawford, Indianapolis Star, "After J.R. Smith's Game 1 blunder, Lance Stephenson drops an Instagram burn," 1 June 2018 Not ripping and going, just maybe catching and passing or catching and putting it down, dribbling in place. Jabari Young, San Antonio Express-News, "Off-Topic with Bryn Forbes," 26 Jan. 2018 Smith grabbed the rebound and inexplicably dribbled away from the basket. Pete Grathoff, kansascity, "Cavs' LeBron James abruptly ends news conference after question about J.R. Smith," 1 June 2018 No team ever reached the summit with three or four guys standing around as the point guard dribbled his way through deep thought. Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, "Warriors-Cavs, Round 4: Good riddance to Rockets — and bring on LeBron," 29 May 2018 That’s when Villanova’s backup point guard, freshman Collin Gillespie, ran amok on the Michigan baseline, dribbling back and forth until Wolverine center Moritz Wagner fouled him and sent him to the line. Charles P. Pierce, SI.com, "Villanova Is a Modern Dynasty With the Swagger Reminiscent of an Old Big East Team," 3 Apr. 2018 Chicago midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger dribbled through Portland's defense before finding Brandon Vincent, who sent a cross toward goal for an unmarked Nemanja Nikolic. Jamie Goldberg, OregonLive.com, "Portland Timbers settle for 2-2 draw with Chicago Fire," 31 Mar. 2018 The dud of a storm that dribbled through Boston on Thursday had been dubbed by the Storm Hype Industrial Complex as the Four’easter, a catchy, marketable name for the fourth nor’easter of the month. Mark Arsenault, BostonGlobe.com, "Four’easter turns into fake storm," 22 Mar. 2018 Ndiaye developed that wicked crossover by using his right arm to dribble the ball back to the left, using it during three varsity three years at Monte Del Sol Charter School in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Washington Post, "One-handed Northern Arizona player spreading inspiration," 9 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Friars tried to run a dribble-handoff to get Cartwright a look for a potential winning shot. Ben Steele, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Marquette freshman Greg Elliott has shown improvement against Big East competition," 8 Jan. 2018 In his prime, his teardrop shot, hesitation dribble and spin move were all lethal. Tom Orsborn, San Antonio Express-News, "Parker’s fearless drives won’t be forgotten," 6 July 2018 This is the perfect place to use dribbles from that bottle of expensive balsamic vinegar hidden in the back of the cabinet. Jeanmarie Brownson, charlotteobserver, "Warm cheese meets fresh herbs in a happy springtime marriage," 19 June 2018 Unlike McGrady, Bridges has shown a weakness in creating off the dribble. Keith Pompey, Philly.com, "Mikal Bridges checks a lot of boxes for Sixers," 12 June 2018 Entrusted with the game’s final dribbles, Mack responded to the final buzzer by heaving the ball high above the floor of Evansville’s Roberts Stadium. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Chris Mack made the right choice to jump on a job like Louisville basketball | Tim Sullivan," 27 Mar. 2018 Elmore directed an outside-in offense that featured his dribble-drives and deep shots, some from as far as 30 feet. Tom Krasovic, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Marshall guard Jon Elmore filling James Harden role for D'Antoni's team," 17 Mar. 2018 Florida forward Dontay Bassett disrupted Heron’s dribble and dished the ball to Chiozza, who ran it back the length of the court. Morgan Mcmullen, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Gators snap skid, upset No. 12 Auburn," 25 Feb. 2018 Robinson creates his own shot well off the dribble, changes speeds well and can put the ball in the basket from all three levels. Jeremy Woo, SI.com, "2018 NBA Mock Draft 11.0: Trade Rumors and Final Picks for Both Rounds," 21 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dribble.' 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 dribble


circa 1589, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


circa 1680, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dribble


frequentative of drib to dribble

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Dictionary Entries near dribble







driblet cone

Statistics for dribble

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dribble

The first known use of dribble was circa 1589

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More Definitions for dribble



English Language Learners Definition of dribble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to fall or flow in small drops

: to let (a liquid) fall in small drops

: to let saliva or another liquid drip or trickle from your mouth



English Language Learners Definition of dribble (Entry 2 of 2)

: a small flow of liquid

: an act of moving a ball or puck forward by tapping, bouncing, or kicking it


drib·ble | \ˈdri-bəl \
dribbled; dribbling

Kids Definition of dribble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to fall or let fall in small drops : trickle Water dribbled out of the crack.

2 : to let saliva or other liquid drip or trickle from the mouth

3 : to move forward by bouncing, tapping, or kicking dribble a basketball



Kids Definition of dribble (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a trickling flow

2 : the act of moving a ball or puck forward by bouncing, kicking, or tapping it

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one that holds something together

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