dab(redirected from dabs)
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a dab hand
Someone who is skilled in a particular area. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. Amanda can fix that hole in your blouse—she's a dab hand at sewing.
a little dab'll do ya
A small amount of something, especially a paste, cream, ointment, etc., will be enough to serve your purpose. Originally part of an advertising slogan in the 1950s for Brylcreem, a hair styling product for men. Primarily heard in US. This is a very powerful anti-inflammatory cream, so don't use too much—a little dab'll do ya. Now, a little dab'll do ya with this chili paste, as you don't want to overpower the other flavors in the curry.
be a dab hand
To be skilled in a particular area. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. Amanda can fix that hole in your blouse—she's a dab hand at sewing.
1. noun A gesture or dance move in which one nods the head while covering the face with one arm bent at the elbow and the other arm held parallel and outstretched. Doing the dab in the end zone is so 2016.
2. verb To perform such a move. Nobody dabs anymore because it got too mainstream.
dab (something) off of (something)
To remove some substance from something with light, careful strokes. I dabbed the jam off of my son's face after lunch. I dabbed the toothpaste off the mirror before Mom saw it.
dab (something) onto (something)
To apply something lightly and carefully to something else. I dabbed concealer onto my zit and then blended it with a make-up brush. Just dab a bit of paint onto the discolored part of the wall. You don't want to overdo it.
dab at (something)
To repeatedly touch something lightly and carefully, as if gently applying or removing something. After lunch, I tried to clean my son up by dabbing at his jam-covered face. I only dabbed at the mirror so that I didn't make the smear worse.
To remove some substance (from something else) with light, careful strokes. A noun or pronoun can be used between "dab" and "off." I used a handkerchief to dab off the jam that had gotten smeared on my son's face after lunch. I dabbed the toothpaste off the mirror before Mom saw it.
To apply something (onto something else) with light, careful strokes. A noun or pronoun can be used between "dab" and "on." I dabbed on some concealer and then blended it with a make-up brush. Use the sponge to dab paint on the canvas.
dab on them folks
An imperative to celebrate, boast, or show one's superiority by performing the dab, a gesture or dance move in which one nods the head while covering the face with one arm bent at the elbow and the other arm held parallel and outstretched. Dab on them folks out there today! Nobody's stopping you!
just a dab'll do ya
A small amount of something, especially a paste, cream, ointment, etc., will be enough to serve your purpose. Based on an advertising slogan ("A little dab'll do ya!") in the 1950s for Brylcreem, a men's hair-styling cream. Primarily heard in US. This is a very powerful anti-inflammatory cream, so don't use too much—just a dab'll do ya. Now, just a dab'll do ya with this chili paste, as you don't want to overpower the other flavors in the curry.
1. Very forcefully, noisily, or violently. The truck crashed slap-dab through the wall, causing chaos throughout the building. She wasn't watching where she was going and ran slap-dab into the side of her neighbor's car.
2. Precisely or directly. With a location slap-dab in the middle of the city, they're poised to become one of the trendiest shops in the area. I don't understand why they had to schedule camp slap-dab at the beginning of summer vacation. I just want a couple weeks to veg out on my own!
Directly; exactly at a particular place. Usually used to emphasize a prepositional phrase of location, especially "in the middle." There I was, smack-dab in the middle of Taiwan with no money and no way to contact my family. The criminal turned the corner and ran smack-dab into a group of off-duty police officers.
smack-dab in the middle
Right in the middle or most central part (of something). There I was, smack-dab in the middle of Taiwan, with no money and no way to contact my family. You don't want the levels to get too high or too low. You need to keep it smack-dab in the middle.
See also: middle
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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!
dab something off (of) somethingand 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.
dab something on(to) somethingand dab something on
to pat or spread carefully something onto something else. Dab some medicine onto the scratch. Dab on some medicine.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
a dab handBRITISH
COMMON If you are a dab hand at something, you are very good at doing it. She was a dab hand at solving crossword puzzles. We gave big lunches every weekend and I became a dab hand at roasts. Note: In the late 17th century, `dab' meant clever or skilful.
a little dab'll do yaor
a little dab will do youAMERICAN, INFORMAL
People say a little dab'll do ya or a little dab will do you to mean that a small amount of something is enough. The thing to remember about cooking with shrimp paste is that a little dab will do ya. Note: This expression was originally an advertising slogan for hair cream in the 1960s.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
be a dab hand atbe expert at.
Dab in this sense is recorded since the late 17th century, but its origin is unknown.
1998 Bookseller Stephanie Cabot…is apparently a dab hand at milking cows, according to one of those mystifying diary items in Skateboarders' Weekly.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
be a dab ˈhand at something/at doing something(British English, informal) be very good at doing something: Ask Neil to do it — he’s a dab hand at carpentry.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.