Definition of daub in English:



  • 1 Coat or smear (a surface) with a thick or sticky substance in a carelessly rough or liberal way.

    ‘she daubed her face with night cream’
    • ‘Farm machinery was sabotaged, cars were daubed with paint stripper and the home windows of staff were smashed.’
    • ‘Since May 16, hunting activists have daubed paint in nine different places around York, Selby and Ryedale.’
    • ‘Back in Edinburgh clients are daubed with the dead sea mud or seaweed (or both, one after the other) and wrapped in a mylar sheet - the type of fabric worn by athletes to cover up after a race.’
    • ‘And she claims her home was daubed with paint, and she has been pelted with stones.’
    • ‘One theory is that ‘a male model was daubed with paint and wrapped in the sheet to create the shadowy figure of Christ.’’
    • ‘In the corner someone had daubed red paint on the arms of a goth mannequin with leather wrist bands, a nod to the obsession with self-harm that features in many of the songs with which its teenage customers are familiar.’
    • ‘One is tempted to imagine a scenario: someone, a child perhaps, daubing paint beside the window where the light was good and then abandoning the brush.’
    • ‘When the boy was caught daubing paint on an Uncle's car, and subsequently whacked with a walking stick to teach him a lesson, she didn't speak to the family for two years.’
    • ‘A graveside statue of the Virgin Mary in Sligo Cemetery is the latest local monument to be daubed with red paint.’
    • ‘To get the keys to the car she had to watch half of it being daubed with black paint - by her dad.’
    • ‘So they slaughter a goat, daub Joseph's coat of many colours with blood and return to their father, feigning great sorrow at the unfortunate death of their poor brother Joseph.’
    • ‘The away dressing room walls were initially daubed dark purple (they've now been lightened to mauve) and the insides of the toilet doors have mirrors on them.’
    • ‘The couple are accused of daubing neighbours' homes and cars with paint, hurling torrents of abuse at passers-by, and holding drunken all-day and all-night parties.’
    • ‘St Bride's Primary School off the Lisburn Road in south Belfast had a classroom damaged by fire and four cars outside and walls were daubed with paint.’
    • ‘He uses a brush, a palette knife or his fingers to daub the oil pigments on to the canvas as thickly as mashed potato.’
    • ‘People daub paint or smear mud over their bodies and go wild in the streets.’
    • ‘After this process has been repeated eight to 30 times, workers daub a special mud on it, lay it out in the sun for some time, then wash it and sun-dry it again.’
    • ‘Using a paper towel, she daubs a thick coat on the bark of the trees and shrubs she wants protected.’
    • ‘Methodically daubing the treacly floor paint all over the architect's white and grey glaze walls, the waffle-textured bamboo wallpaper, the skylights, the portholes, the glass, bricks and the panora-fenestrals.’
    • ‘Who knows if that was the reason persons unknown decided to daub the famous photo with paint.’
    bedaub, smear, plaster, bespatter, splash, stain, spatter, splatter, cake, cover thickly, smother, coat, deface
    besmear, befoul, besmirch, begrime
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    1. 1.1Spread (a thick or sticky substance) on a surface in a rough or liberal way.
      ‘a canvas with paint daubed on it’
      • ‘They saw Viro, daubed with the mud of the Trail of the Wending Willow, seated nobly, upon the battle-wearied steed; and the dangling head of Eshtu from the saddle.’
      • ‘The upper reaches of the canvas is stark icy white and brushed with streaks of deep green and brown, and daubed with the eye engorging colours of wild flowers in the valley.’
      • ‘Until now residents and businesses have had to pay the council to use its high-pressure water jets to remove any graffiti daubed on their property.’
      • ‘The graffiti, which was daubed on the creamery wall read: ‘Martin Ferris is here to stay‘.’
      • ‘Looming over Agard-Oudad is ‘Napoleon's Hat ’, and nearby lie the ‘Painted Rocks’, a tennis court-sized hump daubed red and blue by a Belgian artist.’
      • ‘Fireworks were thrown at them, paint was daubed on their car, their puppy was pelted with bricks and there were arson attacks on their home.’
      • ‘Residents at a Haydon Wick centre for the disabled find car windows smashed and graffiti daubed on walls.’
      • ‘Did you come back to find anything daubed on your walls?’
      • ‘The incidents include verbal abuse, slogans daubed on walls and physical assaults.’
      • ‘He has given up removing the graffiti daubed on the walls and sadly admits that taunts and name-calling have become a staple part of his life.’
      • ‘In the background, just visible, slogans can be seen daubed on the ruins and on banners hanging from windows.’
      • ‘Slogans were daubed on the pavement including, ‘What sort of liberators use depleted uranium, napalm, cluster bombs?’’
      • ‘With their faces daubed in camouflage paint and with assault rifles and machine guns under their arms they were a terrifying sight for the Hassan family, who huddled together in fear.’
      • ‘One night, after a wedding, the villagers return to their homes to find their front doors daubed with red, the creatures' colour.’
      • ‘Rapidly daubed abstract surfaces, these colored backgrounds often dissolve into areas of white gesso.’
      • ‘‘Smith Out’ read the graffiti daubed on wall at the Bellefield training ground as the first-team squad reported back for duty.’
      • ‘Homeowner Rebecca Wiggins, whose white walls were daubed with red spray-paint, certainly agrees.’
      • ‘He looked bizarre in a Rasta wig, a multi-coloured hat, a Caribbean-style shirt and brown make-up paint daubed over his face.’
      • ‘Supported by Youthful red-clad males and females with twin white-cross flags daubed on each cheek, shod in comfortable shoes and with the odd scarlet, acrylic perm wig worn as a badge of Swiss humour.’
      • ‘Sydney Opera House staff inspect the ‘no war’ slogan daubed on the building by protesters.’
      smear, plaster, slather, lather, apply, put
      cover, coat, layer, smother
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    2. 1.2Paint (words or drawings) on a surface by daubing.
      ‘they daubed graffiti on the walls’
      • ‘Three windows were smashed and graffiti was daubed on the walls of the mobile classrooms.’
      • ‘Earlier this year officers launched the town's first dispersal order in Stratton to split up gangs of troublesome teenagers that congregate to cause criminal damage, daub graffiti and intimidate people.’
      • ‘The intruders forced their way into the house through the back door in the early hours of Tuesday morning, daubing graffiti on walls, smashing windows and throwing paint over the furniture.’
      • ‘Symbols and letters in mustard yellow and white were daubed on seats and rocks in the wooded ravine off Wells Road.’
      • ‘The perimeter fence was also set ablaze, windows smashed, plants destroyed and buildings daubed with graffiti.’
      • ‘It was reported as this newspaper went to press that Feltham Assembly Hall had been daubed with National Front supporting graffiti.’
      • ‘Many in the capital wore the Yushchenko campaign colour of orange, while some showed their disdain for Yanukovich by daubing skips and wheelie-bins with the words ‘This is where Yanukovich belongs’.’
      • ‘Recently, graffiti has been daubed on walls and an elderly resident has suffered a broken window.’
      • ‘The Metropolitan police choose to stand back from the protest until one group of protesters attacks the fast food restaurant and daubs slogans on the Cenotaph.’
      • ‘Anti-globalisation graffiti was daubed on the Tesco Express store in the town on Christmas Eve.’
      • ‘Criminals are costing British businesses more than £1.3bn a year as traders live in fear of louts who steal from their shops, daub graffiti on their walls or subject them to intimidation.’
      • ‘Many evangelical churches had windows smashed and walls daubed with offensive graffiti.’
      • ‘Burns was warned by ‘those who knew’ that any thing of this sort would immediately be trashed, burned or daubed with graffiti.’
      • ‘There have been several attempts to set fire to the building and graffiti has been daubed on the walls on a number of occasions.’
      • ‘The walls daubed with her name and accuse the girl of betrayal.’
      • ‘Graffiti has been daubed on the newly-opened Walton skatepark.’
      • ‘St John's has long been a target for thieves and vandals and only three weeks ago racist slogans were daubed on the church walls.’
      • ‘The slogan was daubed with black paint on the Mercedes, which was parked outside their home in Blacklion, Cavan.’
      • ‘Martin Eadon, a director in London, had his walls daubed with slogans.’
      • ‘Protesters in rigid inflatable boats also daubed the words ‘No War’ on Dutch cargo ship Magdalena Green.’


  • 1Plaster, clay, or another substance used for coating a surface, especially when mixed with straw and applied to laths or wattles to form a wall.

    ‘square huts, mostly daub and wattle’
    • ‘According to one resident who contacted the Weekender, daub is also being dumped on the site, although it was not immediately visible and so could not be confirmed.’
    • ‘Slather the daub over the surface of the wattle, attempting to seal any cracks to make the structure ‘weatherproof.’’
    • ‘This new settlement had substantial rectangular houses, made of mud brick or timber and daub on stone foundations.’
    • ‘Wattle and daub construction, the use of cisterns to collect water, the ‘Big Yard’ or common area, and verandas and porches can be traced to Africa.’
    • ‘The floor zone of the secondstage house was remarkably well defined because the walls and roof of the house had burned and collapsed into the basin, in places sealing the floor with carbonized timbers and daub.’
    • ‘Homes are constructed of waddle and daub (woven sticks and mud) with thatched roofs.’
    • ‘Picture yourself as a peasant in your wood and daub hut, while the storms of the Northern Hemisphere winter rage outside and the snow lies deep upon the ground.’
    • ‘Cob, rammed earth, straw, wattle & daub share the stage with papercrete, Earthships, earthbags and entire adobe homes fired to become ceramic, to name just a few.’
    • ‘But there has been no word yet on whether the hammer beamed thatched roof, mud floors and wattle & daub walls are up to spec…’
    • ‘So the people developed the technique of making round culm balls or bombs, by mixing the culm with sticky yellow clay or daubs, and burning them in grates known as ‘raised hearts’.’
    • ‘The Osbert Village Inn and Tavern was a waddle and daub building, like most of Osbert.’
    • ‘Two articulated adult skeletons (sex and exact age to be determined) were found lying above the floor and beneath a thick layer of charcoal and burnt wattle-impressed daub.’
    1. 1.1A patch or smear of a thick or sticky substance.
      ‘a daub of paint’
      • ‘Featuring delicate daubs of paint that created elegant dotted lines, the geometrical discipline of these lines imposed themselves on near evanescent landscapes.’
      • ‘This would be a fine accompaniment to a meal-sized toasted honey baked ham bagel, also filled with thick cut Swiss cheese, whole grain mustard, crisp lettuce and a daub of herb-speckled mayonnaise.’
      • ‘Faint daubs of paint, suggestive of blowing leaves, seem to hover around them, and a series of black lines ‘connecting’ them charge the space.’
      • ‘They were supported by bits of Granny Smith apple and a daub of pistachio purée.’
      • ‘Thick daubs and spatters of paint represent the fruit and jugs.’
      • ‘Yet the leafy bamboo is as desiccated as fake stalks would be, and the birds are casually carved chunks of wood with a few daubs of color: not lifelike models but schematic signs of birdhood.’
      • ‘We scan our memories for forms to match the synoptic daubs of paint; we attempt to complete what the artist has omitted.’
      • ‘The color of the middle form is mainly white with daubs of yellow.’
      • ‘Now he added thick daubs of paint to the front of the panels, sometimes to the sides, using heavy impasto and deliberately crude designs.’
      • ‘Central to the work is a big fir tree defined by hastily applied daubs of paint.’
      • ‘The daubs of dye were supposed to leave the top of his head looking like it had been covered in tiger-print.’
      • ‘The last daubs of face paint carefully removes any remaining pearly traces…’
      • ‘On another occasion, Turner thought his own work appeared dull next to Constable's, so he added a daub of red paint to an otherwise grey landscape.’
      • ‘A 1986 black-and-white print looks like a swarm, A work from the same year that layers blue, orange and yellow daubs on ivory paper recalls off-register photo reproduction.’
      • ‘I wipe daubs of mud from my face, grinning because I'm above the tree line, in wide open country.’
      • ‘Cooked on a circular grill, it's spread with a generous daub of Nutella and filled with chunks of papaya, avocado and banana.’
      • ‘His wings were well-groomed, colored the same deep, brick-red, and it appeared that he had taken the time to dip the end of each feather in a tiny daub of gold paint.’
      • ‘The painter's torso, made of a palette or shield that trails wings or oars, is splattered with highly stylized daubs of paint that evoke not only paint but also open wounds, swooping birds or, even, bird droppings.’
      • ‘With flicks of his wrist he allows each sheep to materialize in no more than five daubs of paint - white mixed with touches of red, lemon chrome, and black.’
      • ‘Ingram has been investigating the idea of a painting that thinks - he even invented a machine that scarified the wall with yellow daubs at this show's opening.’
      smear, smudge, splash, blot, spot, patch, pop, blotch, stain, mark
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  • 2A painting executed without much skill.

    • ‘It's tempting to see parallels between their rich, expressionist daubs and the emotionally charged abstractions of Perelman's restless muse.’
    • ‘It's a natural assumption that his daubs and the words he writes in them and alongside them somehow inform one another, but that's to ignore the more telling effect writing has in his early work.’
    • ‘Blanch wrote: ‘What detestable daubs his pictures are to be sure.’’
    • ‘I delighted in the feeling of superiority those crudely inked daubs gave me and revelled in the ignorance of my classmates as they asked me what they all meant.’
    • ‘The same protection is accorded to a casual letter or an entry in a diary and to the most valuable poem or essay, to a botch or daub and a masterpiece.’
    • ‘For Fried, however, all these works - down to the merest daub - are laden with significance.’


Late Middle English: from Old French dauber, from Latin dealbare whiten, whitewash based on albus white.