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

Then a few minutes later, one of their players dribbled through four of our guys. Mike Nortrup, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Rec Sports Spotlight: Westminster United has blast in Gettysburg," 7 Sep. 2019 One batter later, Will Myers dribbled a slow grounder toward third base. Jeff Faraudo, The Mercury News, "Loud cheers but no magic in Pablo Sandoval’s likely last cameo," 1 Sep. 2019 Sinclair dribbles around her defender and slots the ball into the net. Jamie Goldberg, oregonlive.com, "Portland Thorns beat Chicago Red Stars 3-0: Highlights, live updates recap," 25 Aug. 2019 On a recent evening, teenagers, including Mbaye, dribbled across a court so precisely waxed that visitors were instructed to walk around it, not across. Sarah Maslin Nir, New York Times, "The N.B.A. Is Pushing Into Africa. Can It Compete With Soccer?," 23 July 2019 Instead of putting it back for a game-winning basket with less than 5 seconds left, Smith dribbled the ball out to the perimeter, apparently believing the Cavaliers had the lead. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bucks reportedly meeting with veteran NBA player (and personality) J.R. Smith," 18 July 2019 Answers dribbled in slowly as to who’s at fault for the water main break that left more than 220,000 people high and dry all day Thursday. Ron Hurtibise, sun-sentinel.com, "Who’s to blame for the Fort Lauderdale water main break?," 18 July 2019 If the lemony creaminess of the aioli dribbles off the ribs and onto the chard? John Kass, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Forget meat candy, try these lemony smoked Greek ribs," 12 July 2019 Lavelle, afforded acres of space, dribbled up the center of the field, deked her way around Stefanie van der Gragt, then let fly. Kevin Baxter, latimes.com, "Women’s World Cup final: U.S. leads, 2-0, after Rose Lavelle’s goal," 7 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Despite Reign FC being the more aggressive side, the home team didn’t earn themselves a card until the 31st minute when Steph Catley made a clear take down from behind on Hayley Raso after Raso lost her with the dribble. Tim Brown, oregonlive.com, "Portland Thorns fall 1-0 to Reign FC in hard-fought Cascadia rivalry game," 7 Aug. 2019 The guy to whom a 25-footer is essentially a free throw, dribbles on his foot when trying to send a text. Gary Peterson, The Mercury News, "The time the Warriors’ Klay Thompson air-balled a text message," 3 Sep. 2019 The 5-foot-2 Davis frequently incorporates two such dribbles before serves — double Isner’s norm. Marc Stein, New York Times, "For These Tennis Pros, (Basket)ball Is Life," 28 Aug. 2019 According to HomeCourt, the app has recorded 25 million shots and 20 million dribbles in 10,000 cities in 170 countries. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, "Key takeaways from the NBA's Summer League in Las Vegas," 16 July 2019 Their worst fears were realized early in the second quarter when Durant laced a hard dribble through his legs and, while attempting to drive to his left, collided with center Serge Ibaka. Connor Letourneau, SFChronicle.com, "Warriors survive Kevin Durant injury to edge Raptors in Game 5 of NBA Finals," 10 June 2019 Epps made it 4-0 in first half stoppage time with a slashing run down the right wing, including a crossover dribble that left a Richmond defender on his rear end. Jonathan Tannenwald, Philly.com, "David Accam, Anthony Fontana lead Union's 5-0 rout of Richmond Kickers in U.S. Open Cup," 5 June 2018 Yet Teen Wolf, especially in the basketball sequences, loses its dramatic dribble. Duane Byrge, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Teen Wolf': THR's 1985 Review," 23 Aug. 2019 Offensively, last week’s star was Eddie Opoku, who scored the only goal in the win at Tampa Bay, recorded four key passes and put four of five shots on target while completing 4 of 4 dribbles. Cheryl Wray, al, "Legion FC puts shutout streak on the line Saturday at home vs. Memphis," 15 Aug. 2019

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 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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Comments on dribble

What made you want to look up dribble? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a topic to which one constantly reverts

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