AskDefine | Define dab


Dictionary Definition



1 a light touch or stroke [syn: tap, pat]
2 a small quantity of something moist or soft; "a dab of paint"; "a splatter of mud" [syn: splash, splatter]


1 apply (usually a liquid) to a surface; "dab the wall with paint" [syn: swab, swob]
2 hit lightly; "pat him on the shoulder" [syn: pat] [also: dabbing, dabbed]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /dæb/
  • Rhymes with: -æb

Etymology 1

From dabbe < possibly imitative.


  1. To press lightly with a soft object without rubbing; to apply a substance in this way.
    I dabbed my face with a towel.


  1. A soft tap or blow; a blow or peck from a bird's beak; an aimed blow; dial. a box, a slap.
  2. A small amount, a blob of some soft or wet substance.
soft tap
small amount, blob


  1. With a dab, or sudden contact.

Etymology 2


  1. One skilful or proficient, an expert, an adept.
one skilful or proficient, an expert, an adept
Derived terms

Etymology 3

Origin unknown.


  1. A small flatfish of the family Pleuronectidae, especially Limanda limanda.
flatfish of the family Pleuronectidae



  • Oxford English Dictionary (1989)

Extensive Definition

Dab may refer to:
DAB is a three-letter initialism which may refer to: Region of the People's Republic of China
dab in Danish: DAB
dab in German: DAB
dab in French: DAB
dab in Italian: DAB
dab in Dutch: DAB
dab in Japanese: DAB (曖昧さ回避)

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

ace, adept, apply paint, atom, authority, beak, bedaub, bedizen, begild, besmear, bit, bloodstain, blot, blotch, blur, brand, brush, brush on paint, bunt, butter, calcimine, chuck, coat, color, complexion, cover, dabster, dash, daub, deep-dye, dip, distemper, dole, dollop, dot, double-dye, drag, dram, dress, dribble, driblet, drop, dub, dwarf, dye, emblazon, enamel, engild, equalize, even, eyesore, face, farthing, fast-dye, fillip, flatten, fleck, flick, flip, flirt, flyspeck, fragment, fresco, gild, glaze, gloss, gobbet, grade, grain, granule, graze, grease, groat, hair, handful, harrow, hint, hue, illuminate, imbue, ingrain, iota, japan, jot, lacquer, lay, lay on, lay on color, level, little, little bit, lubricate, macula, maculation, macule, mark, master, minim, minimum, minutiae, mite, modicum, molecule, mote, mow, nutshell, oil, ounce, paint, parget, particle, pat, patch, pebble, peck, pick, pigment, pinch, pittance, plane, planish, plaster, point, poke, prime, professional, proficient, rap, scruple, shade, shadow, shave, shellac, slap on, slather, slop on paint, smarm, smear, smear on, smidgen, smidgin, smirch, smitch, smooth, smooth down, smooth out, smouch, smudge, smut, smutch, snap, spatter, speck, speckle, splash, splatter, splotch, spoonful, spot, spread on, spread with, stain, stigma, stipple, suggestion, taint, tamp, tap, tar, tarnish, thimbleful, tickle, tinct, tincture, tinge, tint, tiny bit, tip, tittle, tone, touch, trace, trifling amount, trivia, undercoat, varnish, wash, whisk, whit, whitewash, whiz, wizard
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