Definition of daub in English:

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Pronunciation: /dôb/


[with object]
1Coat or smear (a surface) with a thick or sticky substance in a carelessly rough or liberal way: she daubed her face with night cream
More example sentences
  • He uses a brush, a palette knife or his fingers to daub the oil pigments on to the canvas as thickly as mashed potato.
  • Using a paper towel, she daubs a thick coat on the bark of the trees and shrubs she wants protected.
  • After this process has been repeated eight to 30 times, workers daub a special mud on it, lay it out in the sun for some time, then wash it and sun-dry it again.
smear, bedaub, plaster, splash, spatter, splatter, cake, cover, smother, coat
1.1Spread (a thick or sticky substance) on a surface in a rough or liberal way: a canvas with paint daubed on it
More example sentences
  • Slogans were daubed on the pavement including, ‘What sort of liberators use depleted uranium, napalm, cluster bombs?’
  • In the background, just visible, slogans can be seen daubed on the ruins and on banners hanging from windows.
  • The graffiti, which was daubed on the creamery wall read: ‘Martin Ferris is here to stay‘.
1.2Paint (words or drawings) on a surface by daubing: they daubed graffiti on the walls
More example sentences
  • Protesters in rigid inflatable boats also daubed the words ‘No War’ on Dutch cargo ship Magdalena Green.
  • Many in the capital wore the Yushchenko campaign colour of orange, while some showed their disdain for Yanukovich by daubing skips and wheelie-bins with the words ‘This is where Yanukovich belongs’.
  • The intruders forced their way into the house through the back door in the early hours of Tuesday morning, daubing graffiti on walls, smashing windows and throwing paint over the furniture.


1Plaster, clay, or another substance used for coating a surface, especially when mixed with straw and applied to laths or wattles to form a wall: square huts, mostly daub and wattle
More example sentences
  • Cob, rammed earth, straw, wattle & daub share the stage with papercrete, Earthships, earthbags and entire adobe homes fired to become ceramic, to name just a few.
  • But there has been no word yet on whether the hammer beamed thatched roof, mud floors and wattle & daub walls are up to spec…
  • Wattle and daub construction, the use of cisterns to collect water, the ‘Big Yard’ or common area, and verandas and porches can be traced to Africa.
1.1A patch or smear of a thick or sticky substance: a daub of paint
More example sentences
  • Now he added thick daubs of paint to the front of the panels, sometimes to the sides, using heavy impasto and deliberately crude designs.
  • Thick daubs and spatters of paint represent the fruit and jugs.
  • The last daubs of face paint carefully removes any remaining pearly traces…
2A painting executed without much skill.
Example sentences
  • It's a natural assumption that his daubs and the words he writes in them and alongside them somehow inform one another, but that's to ignore the more telling effect writing has in his early work.
  • It's tempting to see parallels between their rich, expressionist daubs and the emotionally charged abstractions of Perelman's restless muse.
  • Blanch wrote: ‘What detestable daubs his pictures are to be sure.’


Late Middle English: from Old French dauber, from Latin dealbare 'whiten, whitewash', based on albus 'white'.

  • This is from Old French dauber ‘clothe in white’, ‘clothe’, ‘whitewash’, ‘plaster’, from Latin dealbare ‘whiten, whitewash’ from albus ‘white’ ( see album). All the English uses have developed from that of ‘plaster’.

Words that rhyme with daub

absorb, bedaub, orb, sorb

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: daub

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