1press against (something) lightly several times with a piece of absorbent material in order to clean or dry it or to apply a substance:he dabbed his mouth with his napkin [no object]:she dabbed at her eyes with a handkerchief
apply (a substance) with light quick strokes:she dabbed disinfectant on the cut
2 dialect strike with a light blow.
1a small amount of something:she licked a dab of chocolate from her finger
a brief application of a piece of absorbent material to a surface:apply concealer with light dabs
2 (dabs) British informal fingerprints:the catalogue is being dusted for your dabs
Middle English: symbolic of a light striking movement; compare with dabble and dib