Performing the dab dance move.



  • To press lightly in a repetitive motion with a soft object without rubbing.
  • To apply a substance in this way.
  • To strike by a thrust; to hit with a sudden blow or thrust.
  • To apply hash oil to a heated surface for the purpose of efficient combustion.
  • To perform the dab dance move, by moving both arms to one side of the body parallel with your head.


  • A soft tap or blow; a blow or peck from a bird's beak; an aimed blow.
  • A soft, playful box given in greeting or approval.
  • A small amount, a blob of some soft or wet substance.
  • Fingerprint.
  • A hip hop dance move in which the dancer simultaneously drops the head while raising an arm, briefly resting their face in the elbow, as if sneezing into their elbow.
  • One skilful or proficient; an expert; an adept.
  • A small flatfish of the family Pleuronectidae, especially Limanda limanda (species); a flounder.
  • A sand dab, a small flatfish of genus Citharichthys (genus).




  • From Middle English dabben ("to strike"), perhaps ultimately imitative. Comparable with Middle Dutch dabben ("to pinch, knead, fumble, dabble") (Dutch dabben ("(of a horse) to stamp with the forelegs")), Dutch deppen ("to dab"), possibly German tappen ("to fumble, grope").
  • The noun is from Middle English dabbe ("a strike, blow"), from the verb. Related to tap. Compare also drub, dub.
  • African-American sense of “playful box” perhaps influenced by dap.
  • Perhaps corrupted from adept.
  • Late Middle English dabbe, of Unknown origin; perhaps related to dab#Etymology 1 as in "a soft mass dabbed down."
  • backslang for bad.

Modern English dictionary

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