Definition of "dabble" [dab•ble]

  • To splash or spatter with or as if with a liquid: "The moon hung over the harbor dabbling the waves with gold” ( Katherine Mansfield). (verb-transitive)
  • To splash liquid gently and playfully. (verb-intransitive)
  • To undertake something superficially or without serious intent: "The restaurant business entails more than . . . dabbling in interior design” ( Andy Birsh). (verb-intransitive)
  • To bob forward and under in shallow water so as to feed off the bottom. (verb-intransitive)
  • To dip, move, or splash (the fingers, feet, etc) in a liquid (verb)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

  • To deal (with) or work (at) frivolously or superficially; play (at) (verb)
  • To daub, mottle, splash, or smear (verb) (c) HarperCollins Publishers Ltd 2016

Use "dabble" in a sentence
  • "The previous Transporter films have had Martin dabble with romance before (once with Asian actress Shu Qi and a brief flirtation in the last film with Amber Valetta)."
  • "Perhaps she needed to "dabble" a bit in order to find her way, and ultimately, her choice of faith needs to be respected."
  • "Perhaps the question should be: Does the word "dabble" bother you when referencing part of your spiritual quest, even if it was only short-lived?"