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

For example, the brand recently delved into makeup, launching its first-ever highlighting trio called GlamPowder this past June, which retails for [$42 on sephora.com]. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "GlamGlow to Launch TropicalCleanse Daily Exfoliating Cleanser This Fall," 27 Aug. 2018 The special will delve deeply into the life of Rader, who posed as a seemingly ordinary neighbor by day, but brutally killed by night. Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, "BTK killer Dennis Rader tells all in unheard interview for doc: 'It's a demon that's within me'," 21 Aug. 2018 Beginning with his Spring 2011 show and continuing through his Fall 2012 one, Simons delves deep into couture ideas at Jil Sander. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "A Brief History of Raf Simons’s Storied Career in Fashion," 22 Dec. 2018 Streaming on Hulu Tuesday, November 27 Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath: Remini delves deeper into the fascinating world of scientology in another season of her hit reality series. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "10 TV Shows and Movies to Watch This Week," 25 Nov. 2018 The book also delves into Obama's experiences meeting the Queen at the 2009 G20 summit—and that now infamous, royal protocol-breaking hug. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Queen Elizabeth and Michelle Obama Once Bonded Over High Heels and Sore Feet," 13 Nov. 2018 Boulder Crest delves into family because childhood trauma is surprisingly common among soldiers. Jim Rendon, Marie Claire, "When Female Veterans Return Home," 29 Oct. 2018 This episode delves into the coping mechanisms that Toby developed in childhood in order to deal with his parents’ arguing and his mom’s own depression. Emma Dibdin, Country Living, "'This Is Us' Reveals the Heartbreaking Promise Miguel Made to Jack Before He Died," 24 Oct. 2018 Now, both Google and Bing attempt tosurround your query with supplemental information—and encourage you to keep delving deeper. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft shines a 'spotlight' on Bing news searches to add more context," 27 Aug. 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 and Noun

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

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Dictionary Entries near delve

deluvium

deluxe

delvauxite

delve

dely

dem

Dem

Statistics for delve

Last Updated

19 Jan 2019

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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More from Merriam-Webster on delve

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with delve

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for delve

Spanish Central: Translation of delve

Nglish: Translation of delve for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of delve for Arabic Speakers

Comments on delve

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