Definition of dibble in US English:



  • A pointed hand tool for making holes in the ground for seeds or young plants.

    • ‘Using a conical-tipped length of steel reinforcing bar as a dibble, Aaron pokes a hole through the paper where he wants each clove.’
    • ‘Watered by wet-season rains or irrigation, wet-rice fields range from small plots that can only be worked with a hoe or dibble stick to those large enough for a water-buffalo - drawn plow.’
    • ‘A dibble was an instrument for poking holes in the ground for planting.’
    • ‘Planting tools vary: hoedads, foot-long flat blades mounted on handles for scraping down to bare mineral soil around each planting site; long or short-handled shovels; pointed dibbles and augers for digging the hole.’
    • ‘Use a dibble or broom handle to make holes that are 6 inches deep, and place one transplant in each hole.’
    • ‘The dibble used to rapidly punch a hole for seedlings or bulbs, had a curved tubular handle without a cap and was 10 ½ inches long.’
    • ‘Make a dibble hole to drop the young plants into, and use a hose to gently wash soil into the hole.’
    • ‘They are made by local artisans, as are the trowel, dibble (used for punching holes in the soil in order to plant seeds), and line reel, which enables one to plant in neat, straight rows.’
    • ‘For small bulbs, make holes with a dibble and plant bulbs 3 to 5 inches apart.’


[with object]
  • 1Make (a hole) in soil with a dibble.

    1. 1.1 Sow (a seed or plant) with a dibble.
      • ‘The seeds were dibbled at the rate of two seeds per hole at an espacement of 30 cm by 45 cm during the second week of September.’
      • ‘Okay, he's a man of the soil, but his dibbling is astonishing.’
      • ‘I know one lady who dibbles pieces of last year's growth in a border on the east side of her house where they root with no special care.’
      scatter, spread, broadcast, disperse, strew, disseminate, distribute
      View synonyms


Late Middle English: apparently related to dib (also used in this sense in dialect).