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

There isn’t often room to dribble safely, much less make an actual move. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "Top 100 NBA Players of 2020," 12 Sep. 2019 Dunn scored off a cross from Jaelene Hinkle in the 61st minute before Williams nabbed the hat trick in the 68th minute after the Thorns allowed Debinha to dribble straight down the middle of the field before finding Williams. Jamie Goldberg, oregonlive, "Portland Thorns suffer worst loss in club history with first place in NWSL on the line," 12 Sep. 2019 Equally impressive has been Qazaishvili’s ability to dribble through defenders and find open teammates. Elliott Almond, The Mercury News, "Does San Jose have the best soccer team in America?," 26 July 2019 There were times Tatum was noticeably less comfortable beyond the arc, opting to dribble inside into a more challenging, midrange offering. Adam Himmelsbach, BostonGlobe.com, "Jayson Tatum’s skills coach details his big summer," 24 July 2019 Highsmith used the screen to dribble his way past Celtics forward Grant Williams and decided to attack the basket. Roy Parry, orlandosentinel.com, "Tacko Fall wows fans during NBA Summer League debut with Celtics," 7 July 2019 Sinclair dribbled around her defender and slotted a shot into the net to give Portland the 1-0 lead. Jamie Goldberg, oregonlive.com, "Portland Thorns coast to 3-0 victory over Chicago Red Stars," 25 Aug. 2019 Ryan Lopez dribbled into the box and chipped the ball up to Diaz, who headed the ball past Hartford keeper Cody Cropper. Shawn Mcfarland, courant.com, "Hartford Athletic scores four times in second half to defeat Puerto Rican national team 5-1 in international friendly," 18 Aug. 2019 First, Harden dribbled between his defender's legs and could have kept going for an easy dunk that would have been perfectly fine and fun, but he wasn't done. Matt Young, Houston Chronicle, "Watch James Harden's crossover that dropped YouTuber to a knee," 23 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 That’s a concern for almost every rookie, but Johnson may find himself at the four trying to handle a much stronger player in the paint or keeping him off the dribble. Duane Rankin, azcentral, "What Cameron Johnson, Ty Jerome and Jalen Lecque can bring to the Suns now, in the future," 3 July 2019 Zazuetta, a dynamic playmaker off the dribble, led Segerstrom to an undefeated run through the league. Daily Pilot Staff, latimes.com, "Ocean View’s Helen Reynolds shares Golden West League girls’ basketball MVP award," 3 July 2019 Taking multiple Sky defenders off the dribble, Gray got to the rim and earned a pair of free throws. Brady Klopfer, Los Angeles Times, "Chelsea Gray makes clutch shots to lead Sparks past Sky," 11 Aug. 2019 Press shook a defender on the dribble near midfield and found Rodriguez on the run with a pass, but on a full sprint and without much room to fire a shot, the ball from Rodriguez simply didn’t have enough power to find the net. Tim Brown, oregonlive.com, "World-class play on display as Portland Thorns duel Royals to a wild 2-2 draw in Utah," 19 July 2019 Leonard—6 feet, 7 inches tall and 230 pounds, with wide hands and a stony expression—took two hard dribbles to the rim, jump-stopped, and rose for a layup, but the Warriors center Kevon Looney arrived to deliver a hard foul. Robert O'connell, The Atlantic, "The Toronto Raptors Were Ready," 14 June 2019 Thompson is about as low-usage as backcourt stars come, famously scoring 60 points in December 2016 on just 11 dribbles. Michael Nowels, The Mercury News, "Warriors backcourt duo of Curry and Russell share offseason workout," 29 July 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

17 Sep 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).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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