Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A dab hand.
  • noun Any of various flatfishes, especially the edible Limanda limanda of northeast Atlantic waters.
  • intransitive verb To apply with short poking strokes.
  • intransitive verb To cover lightly with or as if with a moist substance.
  • intransitive verb To rub or pat (something) lightly.
  • intransitive verb To press (something) lightly against an object or surface.
  • intransitive verb To remove or brush away with light strokes.
  • intransitive verb To make light patting or stroking motions.
  • noun A small amount.
  • noun A quick light pat.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The salt-water flounder or fluke, Limanda limanda.
  • noun An expert; a knowing or skilful man; a dabster.
  • Clever; skilled: as, a dab hand at a thing.
  • noun A quick or sudden blow.
  • noun A gentle blow or pat with the hand or some soft substance.
  • noun A dig; a peck, as from the beak of a bird.
  • noun A first or imperfect impression on the metal in making a die.
  • noun A small lump or mass of something soft or moist; a small quantity: as, a dab of mortar; a dab of butter.
  • noun A trifle; a slight, insignificant thing or person: in contempt.
  • noun plural Refuse foots of sugar.
  • noun A pinafore.
  • With a dab; without hesitation; vigorously.
  • To strike.
  • To strike gently with the hand; slap softly; pat.
  • To pat or tap gently with some soft or moist substance; specifically, in etching, china-painting, etc., to pat or rub gently with a dabber, so as to diffuse or spread evenly a groundwork of color, etc.; smear.
  • To strike with a pointed or sharp weapon; prick; stab.
  • To dibble.
  • To deceive.
  • In stone-working, to pick holes in with a pointed tool; fret.
  • To prick.
  • To peck, as birds.
  • To use a dabber.
  • To fall down loosely.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun colloq. A skillful hand; a dabster; an expert.
  • noun (Zoöl.) A name given to several species of flounders, esp. to the European species, Pleuronectes limanda. The American rough dab is Hippoglossoides platessoides.
  • intransitive verb To strike or touch gently, as with a soft or moist substance; to tap; hence, to besmear with a dabber.
  • intransitive verb To strike by a thrust; to hit with a sudden blow or thrust.
  • noun A gentle blow with the hand or some soft substance; a sudden blow or hit; a peck.
  • noun A small mass of anything soft or moist.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun One skilful or proficient, an expert, an adept.
  • noun A small flatfish of the family Pleuronectidae, especially Limanda limanda; a flounder.
  • noun A sand dab.
  • verb transitive To press lightly in a repetitive motion with a soft object without rubbing.
  • verb transitive To apply a substance in this way.
  • noun A soft tap or blow; a blow or peck from a bird's beak; an aimed blow.
  • noun African American Vernacular A soft, playful box given in greeting or approval.
  • noun A small amount, a blob of some soft or wet substance.
  • noun dated, UK Fingerprint.
  • adverb With a dab, or sudden contact.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Origin unknown.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English dabbe.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English dabben, to strike.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

This definition is lacking an etymology or has an incomplete etymology. You can help Wiktionary by giving it a proper etymology.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Origin unknown.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English dabbe, from possibly imitative.

Examples

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