drab

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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 ?
Nevertheless, one must admit that his style is a refreshing and illuminating antidote to the drabness and triteness in so much academic writing.
It is an experience during which "in glorious revolt from the drabness of the city, the camper drinks in the wine of the sunset, lays his head close to fresh and smelly earth-things, and is lulled to sleep by that sweetest symphony in all the world -- the patter of raindrops on the tent roof."
He paints the strait-jacketed literary scene, the 'Establishment', and the drabness of post-war Britain in grey hues - it is this, a sort of ubiquitous London smog, clammy and stifling, against which each author struggles.
But the drabness, the awful drabness, is just what you find in Kafka's stories long before Communism.
The common corridors take a step away from the usual nondescript drabness of New York apartment buildings with custom fabric drum shade lighting and each apartment entry boasts a walnut plank panel surround.
Halpin, in "a wig both sad and lifeless" while carrying "a once vivacious bouquet of flowers long since faded to the land of sepia." Hannah Arendt spoke of the banality of evil in regard to that other mass murderer Adolph Eichmann; Patrick McCabe shows us the drabness of insanity, for even Pat McNab's hallucinations are painfully unoriginal.
This, combined with the overall drabness of this book means that a severe attention retention problem could occur.
NEW YORK-A world of color seems to have faded without Design Research, and some bemoan the relative drabness in fashion.
The old grey drabness has been completely transformed by entrepreneurship and a host of new skyscrapers is rising, just one sign of the huge investment that has been pouring in.
Consider, for example, his opening gambit in the essay on Brigitte Fassbaender: "Just as one sometimes thinks it is worth the agony of losing a train ticket, a house key, a wrist watch or whatever for the pleasure of finding it again, so it may happen that a bad night at the opera will have a redemptive pleasure in store by revealing all the more clearly the star quality of a singer who shone among the general drabness." What a set up!
Such a character suits that explosion of allusions and references that is Western Europe today, not post-glasnost Russia and the drabness and the stylistic confusion that has crept over its ballet.
The exuberant hues of these ornate fabrics contrast dramatically with the drabness and poverty of the surroundings.
Sporting Beasley is allowed to forget the insults and drabness of his inconsequential life as he, resplendent with Prince Albert coat, white spats, and cane, struts it "till the sun goes down." In a tone that is decidedly mock-epical, the speaker describes the bon vivant at a concert as he strides down the aisle to his seat in row A and majestically pulls out his opera glasses amid the laughter of the crowd.
The secondary wealth of such leaders consists of portable works of precious metals and other rare durable materials, embodying fine craftsmanship - objects that can alleviate the drabness of a subsistence economy, that can symbolize the magical powers of command and education at the disposal of the elite, that can be given as rewards for service to a faithful thane or samurai, and that can honor the God of Christendom (or the mandate of Heaven, or the pyramid of Tlaloc).
In Szczury (1932; "Rats") he depicted the drabness of everyday life in the sort of small provincial town where many Polish Jews lived.