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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.
See also: dab, hand


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 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!
See also: dab, folk, on

dab (something) off

To remove something, often with light and 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.
See also: dab, off

dab at (something)

To touch something lightly and carefully. 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.
See also: dab

dab on

To apply something lightly and carefully. 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.
See also: dab, on

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

a dab hand

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.
See also: dab, hand

a little dab'll do ya


a little dab will do you

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.
See also: little, YA


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
References in periodicals archive ?
Launched in 2012, Fresh Dab toilet paper gel is the newest innovation in bathroom hygiene.
Commenting on the financing, Domantis' CEO, Robert Connelly, said, "Domantis' twelve lead programs are based on novel dAb products for treating major diseases including COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and colorectal cancer.
When that brought no reward he switched to the beach and finished with eight whiting and a dab for 5lb 7oz.
Chris Wood was runner-up with eight whiting and a dab for a weight of 6lb 13oz, also from Hartlepool.
Which countries are best placed to benefit from increased DAB receiver availability during 2004?
Fourteen fished, with six weighing in 11 dabs, nine flounder and two plaice.
The commitment by Bristol-Myers Squibb is further validation of dAbs as the next generation of antibody therapeutics.
Formulated with 5 natural herbal extracts, Fresh Dab personal hygiene gel is a natural way to clean an area of the body that is sometimes overlooked, and it's easy to use too.
Fresh Dab eliminates these issues by easily cleaning excess residue, and once flushed, it breaks down almost immediately.
bottle contains up to 200 dabs which comes out to just 4 cents per dab.
But a product called Fresh Dab toilet paper gel provides a solution by removing the cause of the clogs; the wipe itself.
Not only is Fresh Dab eco-friendly, but it is also gentle to the body.
But a new product called Fresh Dab personal hygiene gel offers a solution by using toilet paper in place of a pre-moistened wipe.
Domantis is fortunate to have a team of world-class scientists at its Cambridge, UK, facility and they are currently building a rich pipeline of novel dAb medicines to combat disorders such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and cancer.
5 /PRNewswire/ -- Domantis Limited, the human Domain Antibody (dAb) therapeutics company, today announced a multi-target discovery collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb Company to develop dAb therapeutics for uses in the fields of immunology and oncology.