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

  • noun Any of various small grebes of the genera Poliocephalus and Tachybaptus.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A newly hatched or unfledged chick.
  • noun Hence A delectable morsel; a childish, tender, delicate person.
  • noun A small grebe; a water-bird of the family Podicipedidæ: especially applied in Europe to the Podiceps minor, the little grebe, and in the United States to the Podilymbus podiceps, the Carolina or pied-billed grebe.

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

  • noun (Zoöl.) A small water bird (Podilymbus podiceps), allied to the grebes, remarkable for its quickness in diving; -- called also dapchick, dobchick, dipchick, didapper, dobber, devil-diver, hell-diver, and pied-billed grebe.

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

  • noun UK Popular name for the little grebe.

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

  • noun small European grebe


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

[Alteration (probably influenced by dab) of earlier dobchick, dopchick : probably obsolete English dop, to dive, plunge (from Middle English doppen; akin to Middle English doppe, diving bird from Old English -doppa, as in dūfedoppa, pelican) + chick.]


  • Old Joe and Bob grunted approbation, and Mordacks himself was beginning to believe that some dark whirlpool or coil of tangles had drowned the poor diver, when a very gentle noise, like a dabchick playing beneath a bridge, came from the darkest corner.

    Mary Anerley

  • "So active and truly aquatic is the dabchick, even when only one or two days old, that it is almost impossible to see it in a state of nature; for immediately after the young birds are hatched, they either take to the water of their own accord, or cling when not more than an hour old to the backs of their parents, who dive away with them out of harm's way."

    Country Walks of a Naturalist with His Children

  • Another name of this bird is the little grebe; several species of grebes have been found in this county; the great-crested grebe is a very handsome bird and frequents lakes and rivers; but of the five British grebes, the little dabchick is by far the most common.

    Country Walks of a Naturalist with His Children

  • Mr. Gould mentions that a friend of his, when out on a fishing excursion with him, once shot a dabchick as it dived across a shallow stream; on emerging wounded, on the surface, two young ones clinging to the back were caught by Mr. Gould in his landing net.

    Country Walks of a Naturalist with His Children

  • From among the bulrushes the coots sailed out at our approach, and the tiny dabchick dived so deep that we thought, "This time she _must_ be drowned," when, lo and behold! she would appear twenty yards off, a little black ball with a yellow bill, only to take breath and plunge again.

    Lippincott's Magazine, Vol. 26, August, 1880 of Popular Literature and Science

  • It was no doubt a dabchick, then, from your description, though I was not in time to see it before it dived; if we keep quite still and silent I dare say it will appear again.

    Country Walks of a Naturalist with His Children

  • The little grebe or dabchick (_Podiceps albipennis_) is another species that lays in July or August.

    A Bird Calendar for Northern India

  • A damp, rheumatic place, she said to herself, although she loved the river; and its backwaters, full of wild duck and dabchick and the moorhens, were enchanting places.

    Love of Brothers

  • If the kingfisher can find a living and abundant fish in our rivers and brooks, why does the dabchick migrate?

    The Naturalist on the Thames

  • Uncle Jack obeyed, while as Norman looked up, he saw himself apparently covered by the two guns, and at once dived like a dabchick.

    The Dingo Boys The Squatters of Wallaby Range


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  • "...many, many birds—kingfishers, dippers, dabchicks, and the occasional teal: coots and moorhens, of course—as well as his particular favourites, hen-harrier, sparrowhawk and kestrel and once a single splendid peregrine..."

    --Patrick O'Brian, Blue at the Mizzen, 67

    March 27, 2008

  • (n): the pied-billed grebe.

    a.k.a. dapchick, dobchick, dipchick, didapper, dobber, devil-diver, hell-diver

    January 1, 2009

  • Also the Little Grebe.

    January 5, 2009

  • "In what respect is the freight damaged?" --US Railway Association, Standard Cipher Code, 1906.

    January 21, 2013

  • Quite. I'd use a cipher too if I had to ask a chick about being damaged goods.

    January 21, 2013