from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To break up, turn over, or remove (earth or sand, for example), as with a shovel, spade, or snout, or with claws, paws or hands.
  • transitive v. To make or form by removing earth or other material: dig a trench; dug my way out of the snow.
  • transitive v. To prepare (soil) by loosening or cultivating.
  • transitive v. To obtain or unearth by digging: dig coal out of a seam; dug potatoes from a field.
  • transitive v. To obtain or find by an action similar to digging: dug a dollar out of his pocket; dug the puck out of the corner.
  • transitive v. To learn or discover by careful research or investigation: dug up the evidence; dug out the real facts.
  • transitive v. To force down and into something; thrust: dug his foot in the ground.
  • transitive v. To poke or prod: dug me in the ribs.
  • transitive v. Sports To strike or redirect (a ball) just before it hits the ground, as in tennis or volleyball.
  • transitive v. Slang To understand fully: Do you dig what I mean?
  • transitive v. Slang To like, enjoy, or appreciate: "They really dig our music and, daddy, I dig swinging for them” ( Louis Armstrong).
  • transitive v. Slang To take notice of: Dig that wild outfit.
  • intransitive v. To loosen, turn over, or remove earth or other material.
  • intransitive v. To make one's way by or as if by pushing aside or removing material: dug through the files.
  • intransitive v. Slang To have understanding: Do you dig?
  • n. A poke or thrust: a sharp dig in the ribs.
  • n. A sarcastic, taunting remark; a gibe.
  • n. An archaeological excavation.
  • n. Sports An act or an instance of digging a ball.
  • n. Lodgings.
  • dig in To dig trenches for protection.
  • dig in To hold on stubbornly, as to a position; entrench oneself.
  • dig in To begin to work intensively.
  • dig in To begin to eat heartily.
  • idiom dig in (one's) heels To resist opposition stubbornly; refuse to yield or compromise.
  • idiom dig it out Slang To run as fast as one can, especially as a base runner in baseball.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To move hard-packed earth out of the way, especially downward to make a hole with a shovel. Or to drill, or the like, through rocks, roads, or the like. More generally, to make any similar hole by moving material out of the way.
  • n. An archeological investigation.
  • n. A plodding and laborious student.
  • n. See digs.
  • v. To understand or show interest in.
  • v. To appreciate, or like.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A thrust; a punch; a poke. See dig, v. t., 4.
  • n. A plodding and laborious student.
  • n. A tool for digging.
  • n. An act of digging.
  • n. An amount to be dug.
  • n. same as Gouge.
  • n. a critical and sometimes sarcastic or insulting remark, but often good-humored.
  • n. An archeological excavation site.
  • intransitive v. To work with a spade or other like implement; to do servile work; to delve.
  • intransitive v. To take ore from its bed, in distinction from making excavations in search of ore.
  • intransitive v. To work hard or drudge
  • intransitive v. Of a tool: To cut deeply into the work because ill set, held at a wrong angle, or the like, as when a lathe tool is set too low and so sprung into the work.
  • transitive v. To turn up, or delve in, (earth) with a spade or a hoe; to open, loosen, or break up (the soil) with a spade, or other sharp instrument; to pierce, open, or loosen, as if with a spade.
  • transitive v. To get by digging.
  • transitive v. To hollow out, as a well; to form, as a ditch, by removing earth; to excavate.
  • transitive v. To thrust; to poke.
  • transitive v. To like; enjoy; admire.
  • transitive v. To understand.
  • transitive v. To notice; to look at.
  • transitive v. To appreciate and enjoy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make a ditch or other excavation; turn up or throw out earth or other material, as in making a ditch or channel or in tilling: as, to dig in the field; to dig to the bottom of something.
  • To study hard; give much time to study; grind.
  • To excavate; make a passage through or into, or remove, by loosening and taking away material: usually followed by an adverb: as, to dig up the ground; to dig out a choked tunnel.
  • To form by excavation; make by digging: as, to dig a tunnel, a well, a mine, etc.; to dig one's way out.
  • To break up and turn over piecemeal, as a portion of ground: as, to dig a garden with a spade; a hog digs the ground with his snout.
  • To excavate a passage or tunnel for; make a way of escape for by digging: as, he dug himself out of prison.
  • To obtain or remove by excavation; figuratively, to find or discover by effort or search; get by close attention or investigation: often followed by up or out: as, to dig potatoes; to dig or dig out ore; to dig up old records; to dig out a lesson.
  • To cause to penetrate; thrust or force in: followed by into: as, he dug his spurs into his horse's flanks; he dug his heel into the ground.
  • n. A thrust; a punch; a poke: as, a dig in the ribs: often used figuratively of sarcasm and criticism.
  • n. A diligent or plodding student.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an aggressive remark directed at a person like a missile and intended to have a telling effect
  • v. turn up, loosen, or remove earth
  • v. create by digging
  • n. the act of digging
  • v. work hard
  • n. the act of touching someone suddenly with your finger or elbow
  • v. remove the inner part or the core of
  • n. the site of an archeological exploration
  • n. a small gouge (as in the cover of a book)
  • v. remove, harvest, or recover by digging
  • v. thrust down or into
  • v. poke or thrust abruptly
  • v. get the meaning of something


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English diggen; perhaps akin to Old French digue, dike, trench; V., tr. and intr. perhaps influenced by Wolof degg, to hear, find out, understand, or Irish Gaelic tuigim, I understand.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English diggen ("to dig"), alteration (possibly due to Danish dige) of Old English dīcian ("to dig a ditch, to mound up earth") (compare Old English dīcere ("digger")) from dīc, dīċ ("dike, ditch") from Proto-Germanic *dīkaz, *dīkijan (“pool, puddle”), from Proto-Indo-European *dhīgw-, *dheigw- (“to stab, dig”). Akin to Danish dige ("to dig, raise a dike"), Swedish dika ("to dig ditches"). Related to, but not derived from, Middle French diguer ("to dig"), itself a borrowing of the same Germanic root (from Middle Dutch dijc), as the Middle French word appears later than the Middle English word. More at ditch, dike.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From African American Vernacular English; due to lack of writing of slave speech, etymology is difficult to trace, but it has been suggested that it is from Wolof dëgg, dëgga ("to understand, to appreciate"). It has also been suggested that it is from Irish dtuig. Others do not propose a distinct etymology, instead considering this a semantic shift of the existing English term.



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