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
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.
To anyone raised on the stolid celebration of colonial success and the dreary dioramas of nineteenth century interiors that suggested stultifying lives of formality and drabness, I would recommend these casual and vivid letters from the 'other Victorians'.
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.
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.
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.
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.
But to relieve the drabness and routine of Southern rural life and to sell newspapers, the editors also filled their pages with the grotesque, the bizarre, and the morbid.