drib·​ble | \ ˈdri-bəl How to pronounce dribble (audio) \
dribbled; dribbling\ -​(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 \ -​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 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 Emblematic of his quiet offensive night, Curry came dribbling in alone for a fast-break dunk, but slipped and fell, drawing gasps from the crowd. Beth Harris, The Seattle Times, "Thompson hits first 10 from 3, Warriors beat Lakers 130-111," 22 Jan. 2019 Rapinoe corralled the ball, dribbled it to the corner of the six-yard box then somehow nailed it, left-footed, into the net’s upper-left corner—a seemingly impossible angle. Rachel Bachman, WSJ, "Rock Star U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Makes World Cup," 15 Oct. 2018 Harrison Bader’s dribbling single to the left side leading off the sixth inning broke up the Padres’ perfection, but Cimber got Yairo Munoz on a double-play grounder and struck out pinch-hitter Dexter Fowler on three pitches to end the inning. Kevin Acee, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Padres bullpen beats Cardinals to even series," 12 June 2018 With the game tied, Ogunbowale took the inbounds pass and dribbled to the corner, hitting the game-winner. baltimoresun.com, "Ogunbowale's 3-pointer in final second lifts Notre Dame over Miss. State for NCAA women's title, 61-58," 2 Apr. 2018 Ogunbowale took the inbound, dribbled to her right along the sideline and fired the shot off with her defender chasing. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Arike Ogunbowale hits three-pointer at buzzer to lift Notre Dame to national title," 1 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 In his last great run, Ronaldinho carried Atletico with his superb passes and dazzling dribbles to second place in the 2012 Brazilian Championship. USA TODAY, "Agent: World Cup winner Ronaldinho has retired," 16 Jan. 2018 The speedy forward, bought from Flamengo, is known for his nifty dribbles. Tales Azzoni, The Seattle Times, "Real Madrid teen bitten on head in youth game," 3 Sep. 2018 Minutes later, Curry, who had fumbled his dribble with the shot clock expiring, dropped another majestic three-pointer over Kevin Love. Usa Today Sports, USA TODAY, "Steph Curry sets Finals three-point record as Warriors take 2-0 lead," 3 June 2018 With about 13 minutes remaining in the first half of MU’s eventual SEC Tournament loss to Georgia, Porter brought the basketball up court, lost his dribble and asked for the ball back from Kevin Puryear, who picked it up off the floor. Aaron Reiss, kansascity, "Michael Porter Jr. must avoid these shots in Mizzou's NCAA Tournament game vs. FSU | The Kansas City Star," 13 Mar. 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

19 Mar 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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