Meaning of dab hand in English:

dab hand

Pronunciation /dab ˈhand/

See synonyms for dab hand

Translate dab hand into Spanish


informal British
  • A person who is an expert at a particular activity.

    • ‘Tony is a dab hand at golf’
    • ‘I've backed a few horses in my time and I'm a dab hand on the penny falls, but card games are different.’
    • ‘With the horticulture marquee, floral art marquee and display marquee, there should be something on site to appeal to every visitor, be they a dab hand in the garden or a complete novice.’
    • ‘The internationally renowned chef at Manchester's acclaimed Chinese restaurant is a dab hand at dealing with woks of boiling oil, and knows all about safety in the kitchen.’
    • ‘A seasoned seafood eater, I am a dab hand with the claw crushers and it wasn't long before bits of shell were flying all over the restaurant.’
    • ‘He was also a keen pool player and a dab hand at cards.’
    • ‘It turns out that they had received an anonymous letter claiming that I was a dab hand with photoshop and had deliberately altered the photo!’
    • ‘Even if you're a dab hand in the kitchen, it's worth writing a plan of action down in case you have a few too many sherries and lose your normal sense of control.’
    • ‘Since graduating, Mr Wildman has become a dab hand at using the Internet, word processing and especially emailing.’
    • ‘Those who are a dab hand with the paintbrush can update a piece of wooden furniture, such as a chair or side table, with jet-black gloss.’
    • ‘A founder member and honorary life member of Sutton Art Club, Ernest is surprisingly also a dab hand at cake decorating.’
    • ‘Unless you are a dab hand with sticky tape and card board cut outs, the Easter holidays can be a long break, trying to entertain the children.’
    • ‘He's a paediatrician, not a cook, but in the last year, during his stay in Malawi, he's become a dab hand around the kitchen.’
    • ‘Unlike his dad, Kyle is a prolific striker and is also a dab hand at golf.’
    • ‘Margery worked as a clerk for British Rail and was a dab hand at shorthand and typing.’
    • ‘John was a dab hand at transport and logistics and I was an expert with maps.’
    • ‘The young chef is a dab hand at chargrilled beef with square-cut chips and watercress sauce, perfect grilled trout, raspberry and yogurt bavarois and passion fruit coulis.’
    • ‘Margaret admits that while Cuan proved himself a dab hand at mowing lawns, washing windows and doing little odd jobs last year, this year she doesn't ask him to do anything round the house.’
    • ‘Daughter of Joe and Margaret, Donna only recently took up the sport but immediately proved a dab hand at getting her shots on target.’
    • ‘The show was often very funny and Adams proved a dab hand at physical comedy.’
    • ‘Besides cutting hair and shaving men, he was a dab hand at sharpening old style cut throat razors, as well as scissor sharpening.’
    expert, adept, genius, master, past master, master hand, maestro, virtuoso, professional, doyen, old hand, authority, pundit, prodigy, grandmaster, champion, star
    View synonyms


Early 19th century from dab, a 17th-century slang term meaning ‘skilled person, expert’, of unknown origin.