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dab at something

to touch or pat something. The painter dabbed at the canvas, making little changes here and there. Don't just dab at the wall, spread the paint on!
See also: dab

dab something off (of) something

 and dab something off
to pat or wipe something off something. (Of is usually retained before pronouns.) Please dab the butter off your chin. Please dab off the butter. Dab the moisture off of the apples.
See also: dab, off

dab something on(to) something

 and dab something on
to pat or spread carefully something onto something else. Dab some medicine onto the scratch. Dab on some medicine.
See also: dab, on

be a dab hand

  (British & Australian)
to be very good at an activity (often + at ) You should get Ann to have a look at that. She's a dab hand at getting stains out of clothes. (often + with ) I hear you're a dab hand with the paintbrush. (= you are good at painting)
See also: dab, hand


  (British, American & Australian informal) also smack-dab (American informal)
exactly in a particular place, especially in the middle of somewhere (always + adv/prep ) She lives smack-bang in the middle of London.


mod. directly; exactly in place. (see also smack (dab) in the middle.) I found this pop bottle slap-dab on top of the car! How’d it get there?

smack (dab) in the middle

mod. exactly in the middle. (see also slap-dab.) Not too big and not too small. Just smack in the middle.
See also: dab, middle, smack