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

  • transitive v. To apply with short poking strokes: dabbed some paint on the worn spots.
  • transitive v. To cover lightly with or as if with a moist substance.
  • transitive v. To strike or hit lightly.
  • intransitive v. To tap gently; pat.
  • n. A small amount: a dab of jelly.
  • n. A quick light pat.
  • n. Any of various flatfishes, chiefly of the genera Limanda and Hippoglossoides, related to and resembling the flounders.
  • n. Chiefly British A dab hand.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. An expert; a knowing or skilful man; a dabster.
  • Clever; skilled: as, a dab hand at a thing.
  • With a dab; without hesitation; vigorously.
  • n. A quick or sudden blow.
  • n. A gentle blow or pat with the hand or some soft substance.
  • n. A dig; a peck, as from the beak of a bird.
  • n. A first or imperfect impression on the metal in making a die.
  • n. A small lump or mass of something soft or moist; a small quantity: as, a dab of mortar; a dab of butter.
  • n. A trifle; a slight, insignificant thing or person: in contempt.
  • n. plural Refuse foots of sugar.
  • n. A pinafore.
  • n. The salt-water flounder or fluke, Limanda limanda.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. apply (usually a liquid) to a surface
  • n. a light touch or stroke
  • v. hit lightly
  • n. a small quantity of something moist or liquid


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

Middle English dabben, to strike.
Middle English dabbe.
Origin unknown.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English dabbe, from possibly imitative.

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.



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