Definition of dabble in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdabəl/


1 [with object] Immerse (one’s hands or feet) partially in water and move them around gently: they dabbled their feet in the rock pools
More example sentences
  • Clair and Misha dabble their feet in the swimming pool, pondering last night's debate.
  • She dabbled her toes in the reflective water below, as he came and sat down beside her.
  • I was too tired to eat properly, but we made the best of it and finished off with a walk along the beach, where I dabbled my digits in the warm waters of the Pacific.
splash, dip, paddle, trail;
1.1 [no object] (Of a duck or other waterbird) move the bill around in shallow water while feeding: teal dabble in the shallows
More example sentences
  • Gadwalls forage mainly while swimming, either taking items from the surface or dabbling in shallow water, or diving, which they are more likely to do than most other dabblers.
  • They forage while wading, dabbling in shallow water, or while walking on mudflats or the shore.
  • Meanwhile, the green-winged teals were dabbling about in the water as well, looking for things to eat.
2 [no object] Take part in an activity in a casual or superficial way: he dabbled in writing as a young man
More example sentences
  • Looking back over the many extracurricular activities that our children have dabbled in at different stages, nothing has enriched their lives more than music.
  • Those who offer self-publishing services to authors who would otherwise remain unknown are naturally keen to point out that many writers who are now household names have at one time or another dabbled in self-publishing.
  • It's astounding that, at 24 years of age, the stand-up comic has already dabbled in more professions than most people attempt in a lifetime.
toy with, dip into, flirt with, tinker with, trifle with, play with, dally with



Pronunciation: /ˈdab(ə)lər/
Example sentences
  • The couple's debut project-for-profit, a farmhouse in west Cork, has just come on the market, but they've been amateur dabblers for years.
  • In the available literature on film studies, dabblers and dilettantes abound.
  • I'm a dilettante, a dabbler, and it was easy for many years to let that keep me on the sidelines.


Mid 16th century: from obsolete Dutch dabbelen, or a frequentative of the verb dab1.

Words that rhyme with dabble

babble, bedabble, drabble, gabble, grabble, rabble, scrabble

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: dab·ble

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