1

delve

verb \ ˈdelv \
Updated on: 11 Nov 2017

Definition of delve

delved; delving
transitive verb
archaic : excavate
intransitive verb
1 : to dig or labor with or as if with a spade
  • delved into her handbag in search of a pen
2 a : 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

delver

noun

delve was our Word of the Day on 10/12/2015. Hear the podcast!

Examples of delve in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples of delve from the Web

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.

Digging Up the History of delve

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.

Origin and Etymology of delve

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


2

delve

noun

Definition of delve

archaic

Examples of delve in a Sentence

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

Origin and Etymology of delve

see 1delve

delve Synonyms


DELVE Defined for English Language Learners

delve

verb

Definition of delve for English Language Learners

  • : to search for information about something

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


DELVE Defined for Kids

delve

verb \ ˈdelv \

Definition of delve for Students

delved; delving
1 : to dig or work hard with or as if with a shovel
2 : to work hard looking for information


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