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

Less than a minute in, Williamson took the ball near the top of the key, dribbled, and, with his back to the basket, tried to plant his left foot—only to have his Nike sneaker split and completely rip apart. Jason Gay, WSJ, "Yikes, His Nikes! Zion Williamson’s Sneaker Disaster," 21 Feb. 2019 After warming up with some traditional soccer drills — dribbling, passing — a handful of players on the Meninos Bons de Bola team in Brazil started tossing their shirts aside. Jill Langlois, latimes.com, "For this transgender men's team in Brazil, soccer is a path toward self-acceptance," 2 July 2018 With about two seconds remaining, Harper dribbled toward mid-court with a grin. Mac Engel, star-telegram, "Before J.R. Smith there was Derek Harper," 1 June 2018 After Ben Simmons stole the ball off a pass by Goran Dragic and started dribbling down the court, Dragic swung at Simmons’ head and wound up slapping him. Alysha Tsuji, For The Win, "Goran Dragic got tech after slapping the back of Ben Simmons' head in Game 5," 24 Apr. 2018 With this game tied, Ogunbowale took the inbounds pass from Jackie Young, dribbled twice toward the corner and, closely guarded, lofted home an off-balance 3 in front of the Notre Dame bench. Doug Feinburg, BostonGlobe.com, "Notre Dame beats Mississippi State on last-second shot," 2 Apr. 2018 Shooting and dribbling were far down the list of things Hatch had to re-learn in 2011 after the second crash in a small plane piloted by his father, Stephen. Ben Bolch, latimes.com, "Against the longest of odds, two basketball players from Los Angeles Loyola High end up in the Final Four," 29 Mar. 2018 That’s where Kelan Martin set up the cones and went dribbling. Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, "Doyel: You have no idea how hard Kelan Martin worked for 1,991 points," 15 Mar. 2018 Solano taught himself to dribble and to shoot, throwing up 300 baskets every day, one after another, on an outdoor court at a nearby apartment complex. Karina Bland, azcentral, "The power of an orange ball: How coaches Eddie Martinez and David Solano give back on a basketball court," 21 Nov. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Italian wizard can score off the dribble and from distance and is brilliant on free kicks. Jonathan Tannenwald, Philly.com, "Union's Alejandro Bedoya loses red card appeal; he's out vs. Toronto FC," 7 June 2018 She's best offensive player and is getting more chances to score off the dribble. Alvaro Montano, Houston Chronicle, "Girls basketball: Spring fields experienced roster in quest for district title," 25 Jan. 2018 Can shoot off the dribble, post up smaller players, attack gaps and get to the basket. Heather Boehm, SI.com, "Hawks Select Luka Doncic with No. 3 Pick in 2018 NBA Draft, Reportedly Traded to Mavs," 21 June 2018 James has always liked using a gather dribble to get into his rhythm. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "How LeBron James Became Stephen Curry," 20 Dec. 2018 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

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

11 Jun 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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showing courage and determination

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