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

Verb 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. Noun 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 King dribbled up the court, past a defender on the 3-pointer line and elevated for a layup. Staff Reports, Indianapolis Star, "State college basketball roundup: Ball State men lose; IUPUI women's win streak snapped," 16 Feb. 2020 Rebecca Smeyne for The New York Times New York Fashion Week dribbled into existence just after President Trump’s impeachment acquittal victory lap, and in the shadow of the Bernie-Buttigieg squabbles over Iowa. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, "Seeing the Oscar Challenge to Fashion Week and Raising It One," 10 Feb. 2020 Less than three minutes into his Warriors debut Saturday night, forward Andrew Wiggins dribbled around a screen, stepped in front of the 3-point arc and, with JaVale McGee’s hand in his face, clanged a long jumper off the back of the rim. Connor Letourneau, SFChronicle.com, "Andrew Wiggins impresses in Warriors debut as Golden State falls to Lakers," 8 Feb. 2020 With four seconds left, Lucke dribbled the ball past midcourt, deftly crossed his defender up (who fell helplessly to the ground) and launched a deep shot from several feet behind the three-point line. Allen Kim, CNN, "A high school basketball team manager hit an incredible buzzer beater in his first game," 4 Feb. 2020 Cavs forward Kevin Love performed a hard closeout, allowing Doumbouya to easily dribble past Love. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons rookie Sekou Doumbouya's emphatic dunk goes viral in win vs. Cavaliers," 8 Jan. 2020 Messi picked up the ball near the halfway line before dribbling past his opposition, finding space between his defenders and netting the goal in the back of the net. SI.com, "10 of Lionel Messi's Best Ever Individual Performances," 30 Oct. 2019 The second came when Fultz went the length of the floor, dribbled past James Ennis III and Ben Simmons and shot a reverse layup from the left side that 76ers forward Al Horford couldn’t challenge. Roy Parry, orlandosentinel.com, "Magic fall to 76ers but get strong game from Markelle Fultz," 13 Oct. 2019 Toronto’s Fred VanVleet began the game Sunday by dribbling out the shot clock. Jeff Mcdonald, ExpressNews.com, "Game goes on in wake of Kobe Bryant’s death," 26 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Iowa State kept attacking, beating perimeter defenders off the dribble, allowing Jacobson and Young to play some bull-ball inside and knocking down enough threes to keep Texas off balance. Nick Moyle, ExpressNews.com, "Texas’ NCAA hopes just about extinguished after lopsided loss to Iowa State," 15 Feb. 2020 Mitchell's quick first step made her a constant threat off the dribble, finishing second on the Fever in made free throws with 83. Akeem Glaspie, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana Fever sign guard Tiffany Mitchell to multi-year deal," 13 Feb. 2020 With an ability to move off the ball, or free himself for shots off the dribble, Johnson seems to be benefiting from the training Ivory used to help develop one of the greatest shooters of all time. Nate Weitzer, BostonGlobe.com, "At Phillips Andover, connection with coach helps Dallion Johnson bloom," 10 Feb. 2020 The Blazers scored on each of their next four possessions, all by breaking down the Rockets defense off the dribble. Jonathan Feigen, Houston Chronicle, "Trail Blazers shut down James Harden to defeat Rockets," 15 Jan. 2020 Every kid on that team can beat you off the dribble. cleveland, "No. 1 Laurel girls basketball parlays fast pace and stout defense to claim 82-62 victory over No. 3 Elyria Catholic," 14 Dec. 2019 During this possession in the first quarter, James picked up his dribble to take three steps before starting his dribble again. Erik García Gundersen, LeBron Wire, "LeBron James got away with a hilarious travel Wednesday night at Jazz," 5 Dec. 2019 Fultz took a step to his left, then moved to his right toward the basket, maintaining his dribble and jumped to take a possible shot. Roy Parry, orlandosentinel.com, "Magic’s young core of Aaron Gordon, Markelle Fultz, Jonathan Isaac and Mo Bamba thriving early in preseason," 6 Oct. 2019 But as Porter stopped to plant and change direction with a live dribble, Minnesota Timberwolves swingman Robert Covington appeared to clip the back of Porter’s left foot. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Kevin Porter Jr.'s knee injury stalls rapid ascension: ‘It hurt my heart a little bit, he was looking like the steal of draft’," 6 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for dribble

Time Traveler

The first known use of dribble was circa 1589

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Statistics for dribble

Last Updated

19 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dribble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dribble. Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for dribble


How to pronounce dribble (audio)

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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