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Etymology 1[edit]

Middle English drabelan


drabble ‎(third-person singular simple present drabbles, present participle drabbling, simple past and past participle drabbled)

  1. (transitive) To wet or dirty, especially by dragging through mud.
  2. (intransitive) To fish with a long line and rod.
    to drabble for barbels

Etymology 2[edit]

From a word game in Monty Python's Big Red Book in which the first player to write a novel wins; the UK Science Fiction fandom agreed that 100 words will suffice; not, as is sometimes stated, from the surname of the author Margaret Drabble.


drabble ‎(plural drabbles)

  1. A short fictional story, typically in fan fiction, sometimes exactly 100 words long.
Usage notes[edit]

The "100 words" limit is the original meaning, although in practice (and drabble purists have denounced this extension), it frequently extends up to around 500 words, with a variety of limits used.


See also[edit]

  • drabble” in Dictionary.com Unabridged, v1.0.1, Lexico Publishing Group, 2006.
  • drabble” in Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Online.