• (RP) IPA: /ˈdæb(ə)l/
  • (GA) IPA: /ˈdæbəl/

dabble (dabbles, present participle dabbling; past and past participle dabbled)

  1. (transitive) To make slightly wet#Adjective|wet or soiled#Adjective|soiled by spatter#Verb|spattering or sprinkle#Verb|sprinkling a liquid#Noun|liquid (such as water#Noun|water, mud, or paint#Noun|paint) on it; to bedabble. [from late 16th c.]
    • 1640, I. H. [i.e., James Howell], “A Character of Itelia”, in ΔΕΝΔΡΟΛΟΓΊΑ [DENDROLOGIA]. Dodona’s Grove, or, The Vocall Forrest, London: By T[homas] B[adger] for H. Mosley [i.e., Humphrey Moseley] […], OCLC 987785018 ↗, page 32 ↗:
      The Itelians […] reſpectleſſe of gentry, of few words, for they barrell up commonly more then they can broach, and ſo may be ſaid to be like a great bottle with a narrow necke; yet they are moſt cunning and circumſpect in negotiating, ſpecially when they have bin tampering with the Vine or the hop, and are dabbled a little with their liquor.
  2. (transitive) To cause splashing#Noun|splashing by moving a body part like a bill#Noun|bill or limb in soft mud, water, etc., often playfully; to play#Verb|play in shallow#Adjective|shallow water; to paddle#Verb|paddle.
    The children sat on the dock and dabbled their feet in the water.
  3. (intransitive, figuratively) To participate or have an interest#Noun|interest in an activity in a casual or superficial way.
    She’s an actress by trade, but has been known to dabble in poetry.
  4. (intransitive, obsolete) To interfere or meddle#Verb|meddle in; to tamper#Verb|tamper with.
Synonyms Translations Translations
  • German: ein wenig befassen, dilettieren
  • Italian: dilettarsi, occuparsi a tempo perso
  • Russian: занима́ться пове́рхностно
  • Spanish: aventurarse en

dabble (plural dabbles)

  1. A spattering#Noun|spattering or sprinkling#Noun|sprinkling of a liquid#Noun|liquid.
    • 1936, D[avid] H[erbert] Lawrence, “Adolf”, in Edward D[avid] McDonald, editor, Phoenix: The Posthumous Papers of D. H. Lawrence, London: William Heinemann Ltd., OCLC 906447154 ↗, page 9 ↗:
      Opening the scullery door, I heard a slight scuffle. Then I saw dabbles of milk all over the floor and tiny rabbit-droppings in the saucers. And there the miscreant, the tips of his ears showing behind a pair of boots. I peeped at him. He said bright-eyed and askance, twitching his nose and looking at me while not looking at me.
  2. An act of splashing#Noun|splashing in soft mud, water#Noun|water, etc.
  3. An act of participation in an activity in a casual or superficial way.
Translations Translations
  • Spanish: escarceo

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