dab at (something)

(redirected from dabs at)

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.
See also: dab

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
References in classic literature ?
I promise you nothing,' said the dolls' dressmaker, dabbing two dabs at him with her needle, as if she put out both his eyes.
Druridge beach is mainly flounders and dabs at full sea with the odd turbot and bass on ragworms and mackerel.