Definition of dribble in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdribəl/


1 [no object] (Of a liquid) fall slowly in drops or a thin stream: rain dribbled down the window
More example sentences
  • These appear wherever water dribbled or dripped in ancient times, adding a touch of the exotic to this already mysterious and silent place.
  • The water dribbled down his chin to fall across his boyish chest.
  • Water dribbles down the paddles and soaks your T-shirt.
1.1 [with object] Pour (a liquid) slowly in drops or a thin stream: he dribbled cream into his coffee
More example sentences
  • Blend together for a few seconds, then very slowly dribble the oil through the feeder tube - drop by drop to begin with.
  • She then proceeds to dribble hot liquids, smear sticky things or leave trails of crumbs - whatever seems most appropriate to the fouling of the surface in question.
  • As essential oils were dribbled onto my third eye, I felt I was participating in an ancient rite, not some modern holistic ritual.
1.2Allow saliva to run from the mouth: his mouth was open and he was dribbling
More example sentences
  • Stripes snaked down his body, yellowy eyes stared back at both warriors, orange fur bristled in the heat, and sharp canines dribbled with saliva.
  • His mouth dribbled at the thought of the human food; though it lacked the piquancy of live prey, it had strangely appetizing flavours.
  • And, for a number of babies, this can make them a little irritable, more inclined to wake up crying at night, more liable to drool and dribble, and need more soothing and comfort.
drool, slaver, slobber, salivate, drivel
2 [with object] (Chiefly in soccer, field hockey, and basketball) take (the ball) forward past opponents with slight touches of the feet or the stick, or (in basketball) by continuous bouncing: he attempted to dribble the ball from the goal area [no object]: he dribbled past a swarm of defenders
More example sentences
  • He had to use a hockey stick to dribble a ball round some cones.
  • That, of course, was exactly my plan, and I pushed past him, dribbling the ball down the field before scoring after many failed attempts at stealing the ball on his part.
  • Charging past him, she dribbled the ball with one hand, to get a shot in at the three-point line.


1A thin stream of liquid; a trickle: a dribble of blood
More example sentences
  • Once an emulsion has begun to form, you can increase the dribble to a thin, slow stream.
  • With thick dribbles of paint streaming down the canvases, a certain symmetry is achieved.
  • A dribble of blood trickled from the corner of his mouth as he fought to find enough force to speak.
1.1Saliva running from the mouth.
Example sentences
  • With a stretch, a yawn and a scratch, he adjusted his position and returned to sleep, a spot of dribble suspended from his mouth.
  • I had a bit of a snooze and woke up with dribble all down my shirt.
  • Man, where are the tissues when you need them - there was dribble everywhere.
2(In soccer, hockey, and basketball) an act or instance of taking the ball forward with repeated slight touches or bounces.
Example sentences
  • He is taking the ball to the basket aggressively and making plays off the dribble for his teammates.
  • While he makes certain rookie ball-handling mistakes, he also shows a low dribble and ball control that lets him get to the hoop against tough defense.
  • He's an awesome athlete, knows how to play above the rim, and can take any Power Forward off the dribble.



Pronunciation: /ˈdrib(ə)lər/
Example sentences
  • He gets you on the edge of your seat - everyone likes to see dribblers.
  • But this was not a day which encouraged the dribblers.
  • The reason you refuse to wear a necktie is because you're a dribbler.


Mid 16th century: frequentative of obsolete drib, variant of drip. The original sense was 'shoot an arrow short or wide of its target', which was also a sense of drib.

  • drip from Old English:

    Drip is Old English but the slang use of the word to refer to a ‘feeble or dull person’, dates only from the middle of the 20th century. Drip had a variant drib, source of dribble (mid 16th century). The original sense was ‘shoot an arrow short or wide of its target’, also a sense of drib, which survives in the expression dribs and drabs (early 19th century). A driblet meaning ‘a small drop or stream of liquid’ dates from the late 16th century when it meant a ‘small sum of money’. Drop is related, and so is droop (Middle English).

Words that rhyme with dribble

dibble, fribble, Gribble, kibble, nibble, quibble, scribble

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: drib·ble

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