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


v. dab·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).
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.


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 ?
Franklin's universal genius, dabbling in everything, dabbled in what he called "decorative painting.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thus urged, he would frequently give himself the trouble of watching them from the windows during their play; at times, he would follow them through the grounds, and too often came suddenly upon them while they were dabbling in the forbidden well, talking to the coachman in the stables, or revelling in the filth of the farm-yard--and I, meanwhile, wearily standing, by, having previously exhausted my energy in vain attempts to get them away.
Early in the morning I worked barefooted, dabbling like a plastic artist in the dewy and crumbling sand, but later in the day the sun blistered my feet.
After dabbling in Darwin and Feynman, and cleaning out Schrodinger's Cat, Robin now delves into his mind, and possibly your mind too.
David Parish, defending, said White was at the time dabbling with drugs and kept them at her neighbour's so her grandchildren wouldn't see.
ENGLAND'S top medical officer yesterday admitted dabbling with cannabis while she was at university.
This is a multi-stage furnace performing the functions - Titanium diffusion in lithium niobate at temperatures up to 1080 A C under a stream of O2 dabbling in H2O at 80 A C, : - Annealing of lithium niobate after proton exchange at temperatures of about 350 A C.
Summary: San Francisco: Facebook has confirmed it was dabbling with charging members as much as $100 .