- When you dip your feet in a pool briefly and move them around, this is an example of a time when you dabble.
- When you make a half-hearted attempt to learn to knit but never finish the first scarf you started, this is an example of a time when you dabble in knitting.
To dabble is defined as to splash or dip in water, or to show a superficial interest in some hobby but never get seriously involved.
- to dip lightly in and out of a liquid
- to wet by dipping, splashing, or sprinkling
Origin of dabbleDutch dabbelen, frequentative of Middle Dutch dabben, to strike, dab
- to play in water, as with the hands
- to feed by reaching with the bill into shallow water: said of certain ducks and other water birds
- to do something superficially, not seriously: with in or at: to dabble in painting
verbdab·bled, dab·bling, dab·bles
To splash or spatter with or as if with a liquid: “The moon hung over the harbor dabbling the waves with gold” (Katherine Mansfield).
- To splash liquid gently and playfully.
- To undertake something superficially or without serious intent: “The restaurant business entails more than &ellipsis; dabbling in interior design” (Andy Birsh).
- To feed by moving the bill back and forth just below the surface or on the bottom in shallow water. Used of ducks.
Origin of dabblePossibly from Dutch dabbelen, frequentative of dabben, to strike, tap.
(third-person singular simple present dabbles, present participle dabbling, simple past and past participle dabbled)
- To partially wet (something) by splashing or dipping; connotes playfulness.
- The children sat on the dock and dabbled their feet in the water.
- (intransitive) To participate or have an interest in an activity, but in a causal or superficial way.
- She's an actress by trade, but has been known to dabble in poetry.