Dab Hand

What does Dab Hand mean?

Someone really good at something

If you’re a dab hand at something, you’re pretty much a pro at it. Think of Michael Jordan acing basketball, Martha Stewart mastering home decor, or J.K. Rowling writing captivating novels.

This term was born in Britain during the 19th century. Before ‘dab hand’ made its way into common lingo, people were simply known as ‘dabs’ when they were experts at something. This usage is even recorded in a 1698-99 dictionary called the Dictionary of the Canting Crew.

As for where the word ‘dab’ comes from, it’s still a mystery. Some people think it might be linked to the verb ‘dab’, which initially meant to deliver a sharp blow. Others think it could be a variation of the word ‘adept’.

Today, ‘dab hand’ isn’t an everyday term. But thanks to the internet, social media, and popular British TV shows, it’s slowly making its way into more people’s vocabulary. However, if someone isn’t a fan of British culture, they might not know what ‘dab hand’ means.

Example for using ‘Dab Hand’ in a conversation

Hey, I need some help with fixing my bike. Do you know anyone who’s good with repairs?

I’m a dab hand at fixing bikes! I can definitely help you out.

Wow, that’s awesome! When can you come over?

I’m free tomorrow afternoon. I’ll swing by and take a look at it.