drib·​ble | \ ˈdri-bəl How to pronounce dribble (audio) \
dribbled; dribbling\ ˈdri-​b(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce dribbling (audio) \

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 \ ˈdri-​b(ə-​)lər How to pronounce dribbler (audio) \ noun


dribbly \ ˈdri-​b(ə-​)lē How to pronounce dribbly (audio) \ adjective

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

But when Hobbs got cut off, the Indians improvised, with him dribbling left. Michael Osipoff, Post-Tribune, "Family matters: Lake Central's Nick Anderson adds to legacy with clutch shot," 8 Mar. 2018 John Jenkins missed a 3-pointer from the right corner, but Smith grabbed the rebound and dribbled to the left corner. Steve Herrick, The Seattle Times, "Cavs send Knicks to franchise-record 17th straight loss," 12 Feb. 2019 Kevin Ellis, who returned to the starting XI to fill the spot left by Kappelhof, dribbled to the end line to set up the striker's close-range finish. Juan Pimiento, chicagotribune.com, "Chicago Fire's unbeaten streak ends with a loss in Vancouver," 7 July 2018 Johnson stopped Alex Goligoski’s initial shot and the rebound dribbled to Strome who started circling the net before stopping and banking a shot in off the back of the goalie’s skate. azcentral, "Clayton Keller's record assists lead Coyotes past Sabres," 21 Mar. 2018 Hunter Cattoor dribbled to half court and rifled a pass to Hartmann, who drilled a corner three as the buzzer sounded. OrlandoSentinel.com, "Jess Hartmann propels Bishop Moore to district final against Leesburg," 14 Feb. 2018 But the real highlight came on the first day of the trip, when Kate visited Northern Ireland’s Windsor Park football stadium to run dribbling drills with a group of kids. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Prince George Told Kate Middleton That She's "Rubbish" at Soccer," 3 Mar. 2019 Beyond her reputation as a gym rat, Mitchell’s distinguishing characteristic is dribbling speed. David Woods, Indianapolis Star, "2018 season preview: Indiana Fever makeover starts with rookie Kelsey Mitchell," 18 May 2018 Many players of his size and profile—5-foot-8 with a penchant for dribbling in busy areas—would be considered too slight and self-indulgent for the Premier League. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "The Premier League Was Supposed to be a Two-Team Race. But Chelsea Keeps Hanging Around.," 19 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Portland fought back and with the Nets up one with the ball, Seth Curry stole Russell’s dribble and was fouled. Erik GarcÍa Gundersen, The Seattle Times, "Blazers lose Nurkic to severe leg injury, edge Nets in 2 OTs," 26 Mar. 2019 This is back to back possessions where (the Warriors) iso, 14 dribbles and misses (the shot). David Barron, Houston Chronicle, "Highlights from TNT's coverage of Game 5 of Rockets-Warriors," 24 May 2018 His deep shooting range and intelligent use of ball screens open up room for his creative dribble penetration, and turning the Sooners into an elite offensive team for a large stretch of the season was no small feat. Jeremy Woo, SI.com, "2018 NBA Draft: Final Top 100 Prospect Rankings," 18 June 2018 Michigan State went ahead for the first time when Bridges made a jumper off the dribble near the top of the key with 9:06 left. USA TODAY, "Bridges lifts No. 4 Michigan St past No. 3 Purdue 68-65," 10 Feb. 2018 So this week's scoops are more of the same dribble. Fox News, "Gutfeld: It's the cry babies vs. the jerk," 8 Sep. 2018 But in order to shine a light on these historic dribbles and blobs, the first step was to plunge them into complete darkness. Tom Avril, Philly.com, "Scans reveal secrets of medieval 'Harry Potter' book and medical texts at Penn," 14 May 2018 McCain's memoir is out later this month and is getting leaked in dribbles. Amber Phillips, Washington Post, "John McCain is poking Trump where it hurts this week," 10 May 2018 His rate goes up in the playoffs in covering for teammates who have been beaten off the dribble or screened. Bill Livingston, cleveland.com, "Cleveland Cavaliers 2018: Playoff LeBron must shore up the leaky defense -- Bill Livingston (photos)," 15 Apr. 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

23 Apr 2019

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 How to pronounce dribble (audio) \
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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