drab

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Related to drably: reservedly, appealingly, bluntly, tautly

dribs and drabs

Insignificant, skimpy, and/or piecemeal amounts. A: "Have you been able to get any work lately?" B: "Just some dribs and drabs to keep me ticking along, but nothing substantial."
See also: and, drab, drib

in dribs and drabs

Periodically in very small amounts; bit by bit. Information was relayed to us in dribs and drabs, but it was hours before we got the whole story of what had happened. The return on your investment will come in dribs and drabs at first, but you'll see a more steady flow of income later.
See also: and, drab, drib

in dribs and drabs

in small portions; bit by bit. I'll have to pay you what I owe you in dribs and drabs. The whole story is being revealed in dribs and drabs.
See also: and, drab, drib

dribs and drabs

Bits and pieces, negligible amounts, as in There's not much left, just some dribs and drabs of samples. The noun drib is thought to be a shortening of driblet, for "drop" or "tiny quantity," dating from the early 1700s, whereas drab meaning "a small sum of money" dates from the early 1800s.
See also: and, drab, drib

in ˌdribs and ˈdrabs

(informal) in small amounts or numbers: People started arriving in dribs and drabs from nine o’clock onwards.He paid back the money in dribs and drabs.
See also: and, drab, drib

in dribs and drabs

mod. in small portions; bit by bit. I’ll have to pay you what I owe you in dribs and drabs.
See also: and, drab, drib

dribs and drabs

Small quantities. This phrase, dating from the early nineteenth century, consists of nouns that rarely appear elsewhere. Drib, originating in the early 1700s, probably alludes to “dribble” or “trickle”; drab has meant a petty sum of money since the early 1800s.
See also: and, drab, drib
References in periodicals archive ?
A smallish woman with fine features, she was dressed in blood red with barbaric golden ornaments and looked like she'd come from the far end of the Black Sea to drably garbed Corinth.
While Our Lady takes place in a shadowy, almost operatic world, the Pacific Northwest setting of Eban and Charley is deceptively casual and drably common-place, making its love story, between the 14-year-old Charley (Giovanni Andrade) and the older Eban, all the more subversive.
One might wonder whether Davies's approach via myth and imagery (ultimately derived from Jung) risks overinterpreting a story that lacks linguistic distinction, but precisely such an approach can best explain the imaginative power exercised by some drably written fictions.
Forty years ago it wasn't that difficult to distinguish between the "bourgeoisie" and the "counterculture." The former was comprised of individuals who worked for large corporations, dressed drably, and dutifully attended PTA meetings.
I think about Dylan Klebold tootling around town in his BMW with its trunk full of bombs, and I can't help thinking about the black dentist in New Jersey who was stopped by the highway patrol more than a hundred times over four years before he finally traded in his BMW for something more drably utilitarian.) Perhaps the power of "the normative" to induce moral blind spots can be appreciated for its depth and complexity only when the world for some reason gets turned upside down.
Visually as well as emotionally and melodically, it must stand apart from all else, not drably merge with it.
Wallace (1889) noted that many species of birds that are monomorphic and have conspicuous plumage nest in cavities, while species that nest in the open have drably colored females.
The most depressing entry was the Bolshoi Ballet's Infanta and the Jester, drably choreographed and indifferently danced, and the prize for the most ruthless amid alien corn was shared by the Tokyo Festival Ballet and the Shanghai Ballet Company, a twain which aesthetically Western ballet seems fated never to meet.
In these forests there live certain events, shards of memory, scraps of once-heard lore, intimations once familiar--some painful, shameful, some drably or laughably inconsequent, others thoughts that the thinker could never hold fast and begin to tell.
Dressed drably, Chauvet demonstrated, 1 suppose, that men can act obnoxiously no matter how a woman behaves and dresses.
If the drably derivative, infuriatingly improbable police drama "McCanick" is remembered for anything, it will be for its uniformly overqualified cast, which includes Ciaran Hinds and a lead turn from David Morse.
In short order, however, it was "translated" by the conservative firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill into a drably well-behaved skyscraper whose latest rendering looks like so many other symmetrical and entirely unobjectionable towers that the firm has designed over the past half century.
The rest of Jonathan Miller's direction consisted of more aimless shuffling around the stage, the characters drably costumed by Eskandar who had a whole gushing credit in the programme.
psychedelica joins two other species in the genus Histiophryne, though the other two are very drably colored in comparison.