dabbling


Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms.
Related to dabbling: dabbling duck, defines, traipsing

dab·ble

 (dăb′əl)
v. dab·bled, dab·bling, dab·bles
v.tr.
To splash or spatter with or as if with a liquid: "The moon hung over the harbor dabbling the waves with gold" (Katherine Mansfield).
v.intr.
1. To splash liquid gently and playfully.
2. To undertake something superficially or without serious intent: "The restaurant business entails more than ... dabbling in interior design" (Andy Birsh).
3. To feed by moving the bill back and forth just below the surface or on the bottom in shallow water. Used of ducks.

[Possibly from Dutch dabbelen, frequentative of dabben, to strike, tap.]

dab′bler n.

dabbling

(ˈdæblɪŋ)
n
1. the fact of being involved in an activity in a frivolous or superficial way
2. the fact of taking drugs occasionally without being a habitual user
References in classic literature ?
Amy had been dabbling her hand in the water during the little pause that fell between them, and when she looked up, Laurie was leaning on his oars with an expression in his eyes that made her say hastily, merely for the sake of saying something .
Of late I had often recalled this saying and this incident; for during the past week scarcely a night had gone over my couch that had not brought with it a dream of an infant, which I sometimes hushed in my arms, sometimes dandled on my knee, sometimes watched playing with daisies on a lawn, or again, dabbling its hands in running water.
It happened that an Isosceles of a low type, with a brain little if at all above four degrees -- accidentally dabbling in the colours of some Tradesman whose shop he had plundered -- painted himself, or caused himself to be painted (for the story varies) with the twelve colours of a Dodecagon.
Rothschild; but as my motive in travelling to your capital would not have been for the pleasure of dabbling in stocks, I stayed away till some favorable chance should present itself of carrying my wish into execution.
I do not know what he means to do with himself after leaving college, but trust that, by dabbling so early with the dangerous and seductive business of authorship, he will not bc tempted to become an author by profession.
From what I have heard from him this morning, I gather that he has lost heavily in dabbling with stocks, and that he is ready to do anything on earth to better his fortunes.
The Doctor has been dabbling in some of the old brimstone after all.
Although the early September weather was sultry, her arm, from her dabbling in the curds, was as cold and damp to his mouth as a new-gathered mushroom, and tasted of the whey.
And now," she continued, having received the information and the pot of honey, having been introduced to Mary, and having insisted that they should accompany her back to the ruins, since in a town with so many turnings, such prospects, such delightful little half-naked boys dabbling in pools, such Venetian canals, such old blue china in the curiosity shops, it was impossible for one person all alone to find her way to the ruins.
To-day, they manifested a particular attachment to a well at the bottom of the lawn, where they persisted in dabbling with sticks and pebbles for above half an hour.
At the first shot Dutchy sank upon the table, overturning his mug of coffee, his yellow mop of hair dabbling in his plate of mush.
She had caught a severe cold in the head by reason of her dabbling in the spring on the preceding evening; but nothing short of absolute pneumonia could have quenched her interest in culinary matters that morning.