delve

verb
\ˈdelv \
delved; delving

Definition of delve 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to dig or labor with or as if with a spade delved into her handbag in search of a pen

2a : to make a careful or detailed search for information delved into the past

b : to examine a subject in detail the book delves into the latest research won't delve into her reason for leaving

delve

noun

Definition of delve (Entry 2 of 2)

archaic

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Other Words from delve

Verb

delver noun

Synonyms for delve

Synonyms: Noun

antre, cave, cavern, grot, grotto

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Digging Up the History of Delve

Verb

We must dig deep into the English language's past to find the origins of "delve." The verb originated in 9th century Old English as "delfan" and is related to the Old High German word telban, meaning "dig." For some 400 years, there was only delving - no digging - because "dig" didn't exist until the 13th century. Is the phrase "dig and delve" (as in the line "eleven, twelve, dig and delve," from the nursery rhyme that begins "one, two, buckle my shoe") redundant? Not necessarily. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, in some local uses as recently as the late 19th century, "dig" was the term for working with a mattock (a tool similar to an adze or a pick), while "delve" was reserved for using a spade.

Examples of delve in a Sentence

Verb

He tried to delve inside his memory for clues about what had happened.

Noun

a poem in which a medieval knight encounters a mysterious beauty in a darkened delve

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Ohio State University folklorist Dorothy Noyes is delighted to delve into the history of these whimsical festival practices. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian, "For Hundreds of Years, Papier-Mâché Has Lent a Surreal Face to Catalan Culture," 3 July 2018 For those looking to delve into a more serious summer of boating, the Philadelphia Canoe Club can serve as an excellent place to start. Grace Dickinson, Philly.com, "Where to rent and use kayaks and canoes in and near Philadelphia," 22 June 2018 Smith’s uses primary sources to delve deeper into history. Diana Whitney, San Francisco Chronicle, "New poetry by Tracy K. Smith, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Shauna Hannibal," 28 May 2018 The section covering the institutionalization of children delves into the psychological impact on children who do not get the attention and nurturing that would be more likely in a family setting. Carol Morello, BostonGlobe.com, "In Human Trafficking Report, State Dept. Warns Against Separating Children From Parents," 28 June 2018 My colleague Leigh Gallagher delves deep inside Match Group to understand the company’s strategy to stay relevant and keep its dominance in the ever-changing dating ecosystem. Polina Marinova, Fortune, "Term Sheet -- Wednesday, June 27," 27 June 2018 This all allows Colter to delve even deeper into Luke’s pain, his flaws, and his ego this time around. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "What went right and what went wrong for Luke Cage’s second season," 22 June 2018 James and Deborah Fallows came up with a reasonably efficient way of delving into the country’s guts. Marc Lacey, New York Times, "What Two Writers Found When They Bought a Plane and Touched Down on Main Street, U.S.A.," 12 June 2018 Korte sagely advises that guitarists experiment with the other controls before delving into the sixteen DIP switches located on the back of the pedal. Henry Robertson, Popular Mechanics, "The Technology in Guitar Pedals Has Reached a New Level of Tonal Bliss," 20 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'delve.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of delve

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for delve

Verb

Middle English, from Old English delfan; akin to Old High German telban to dig

Noun

see delve entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near delve

deluvium

deluxe

delvauxite

delve

dely

Dem

dem

Statistics for delve

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for delve

The first known use of delve was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for delve

delve

verb

English Language Learners Definition of delve

: to search for information about something

: to reach into a bag, container, etc., in order to find something

delve

verb
\ˈdelv \
delved; delving

Kids Definition of delve

1 : to dig or work hard with or as if with a shovel

2 : to work hard looking for information

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Comments on delve

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