verb (dabs, dabbing, dabbed)[with object]
- 1Press against (something) lightly several times with a piece of absorbent material in order to clean or dry it or to apply a substance: he dabbed his mouth with his napkin [no object]: she dabbed at her eyes with a handkerchiefMore example sentences
- She lightly dabbed her bleeding forehead and winced, the pain shooting through her entire head like a sudden bolt of lightning.
- He dabbed the cut lightly with another paper towel before working on the band-aid.
- I took my napkin and gently dabbed it at my mouth, hoping that I hadn't spurted out coffee in my surprise.
- 1.1Apply (a substance) with light quick strokes: she dabbed disinfectant on the cutMore example sentences
- The sample - usually blood or cells from inside the cheek - is dabbed on to a stain card and returned to the lab in a tamperproof bag.
- To fragrance your kitchen cabinets and drawers, place a good scent dabbed on a cotton ball into an inconspicuous comer.
- They were black specks in the distance, nothing more than what looked to be dots of blotched ink dabbed on to the bright, clear blue sky.
nounBack to top
- 1A small amount of something: she licked a dab of chocolate from her fingerMore example sentences
- Working in random, one-inch sections, take a dab of pliable pomade, and coat and twist hair as you go.
- Not only does a dab of toner refresh the skin, it helps to remove any cleanser that hasn't been properly removed.
- Well, I don't use make up daily, just kohl to line my eyes, and a dab of lipstick.
- 1.1A brief application of a piece of absorbent material to a surface: apply concealer with light dabsMore example sentences
pat, press, touch, blot, mop, wipe, smudge, smear
- Writing between dabs on the forehead with a wet washcloth, she speaks of an ‘inchoate longing’ to visit paradise.
- With every stroke and dab and curve of the brush she was losing a little bit of herself.
- Because Impressionist painters had to work quickly, oil paint was usually put on the canvas in small dabs or short strokes, often with little color mixing.
- 2 (dabs) British • informal Fingerprints: the catalogue is being dusted for your dabsMore example sentences
- Campaigners are concerned that thousands of schools have used their money to buy fingerprint scanners to get kids' dabs at registration, at the library counter, and at the canteen checkout.
- The dabs are used to identify pupils in computerised class registers or library systems.
- I would presume that if they found my dabs at the scene of a crime they could match them with the details they acquired at immigration.
- A small, commercially important flatfish found chiefly in the North Atlantic.
More example sentences
- Limanda and other genera, family Pleuronectidae (several species, in particular the European L. limanda)
- Even though this rig is especially good for gurnards, it also proves superbly successful for dabs, plaice, megrim, even small turbot and brill, also haddock, cod and whiting.
- The most common are dragonets, topknots, dabs, plaice and, if you're lucky, the occasional anglerfish and thornback ray.
- These are always the prime spots for bass, dabs and plaice.
late Middle English: of unknown origin.