\ ˈdig How to pronounce dig (audio) \
dug\ ˈdəg How to pronounce dug (audio) \; digging

Definition of dig

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to break up, turn, or loosen (earth) with an implement digging dirt with a shovel machines digging up the road
b : to prepare the soil of dig a garden
2a : to bring to the surface by digging : unearth dig potatoes
b : to bring to light or out of hiding dig up facts
3 : to hollow out or form by removing earth : excavate dig a hole dig a tunnel
4 : to drive down so as to penetrate : thrust dug her toes into the sand The hawk dug its claws into its prey.
5 : poke, prod dug me in the ribs with his elbow

6 slang

a : to pay attention to : notice dig that fancy hat
b : understand, appreciate couldn't dig the medical jargon
c : like, admire High school students dig short poetry.— David Burmester

intransitive verb

1 : to turn up, loosen, or remove earth digging in the garden dig for buried treasure
2 : to work hard or laboriously
3 : to advance by or as if by removing or pushing aside material digging into the history of the company



Definition of dig (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : thrust, poke a dig in the ribs
b : a cutting remark a subtle dig at their lack of preparedness

2 digs plural

a : accommodations (see accommodation sense 1a) for living or working buying furniture for his new digs
b chiefly British : lodging sense 2b
3 : an archaeological excavation site also : the excavation itself participated in a dig

Definition of dig (Entry 3 of 3)


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Synonyms for dig

Synonyms: Verb

excavate, shovel

Synonyms: Noun

dab, jab, lunge, poke

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Examples of dig in a Sentence


Some animal has been digging in the garden. They dug into the sand with their hands. He dug down about 10 feet before he hit water. Dig a hole three feet deep. The first step in building a house is to dig the foundation. The prisoners escaped by digging a tunnel under the fence. digging clams on the beach These detectives won't stop digging until they find out what happened.


She gave me a dig in the ribs to get my attention. She participated in a dig last summer.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

What’s more, in appeasing restaurants, Zomato may have dug itself into a bigger hole with its million-plus Gold subscriber base. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "Indian restaurants have forced Zomato to change its recipe—and customers are left with a sour taste," 21 Aug. 2019 Its likely homeowners will still have to dig into their wallets deeper because property values are at historically high levels. Martin E. Comas, orlandosentinel.com, "Most local governments propose same tax rate but will get a windfall thanks to soaring property values," 16 Aug. 2019 But local renters still have to dig deeper to come up with monthly payments. Steve Brown, Dallas News, "Dallas-area apartment rents growing slower than national rate," 13 Aug. 2019 What the researchers found was that over time states have dug themselves into a bimodal distribution. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "The Looser a State's Gun Laws, the More Mass Shootings It Has," 6 Aug. 2019 As the recycling moves through the processing facility,its first stop is a machine that spreads it evenly on a conveyor belt so employees don’t have to dig to pick out what doesn’t belong. Rachel Becker, The Mercury News, "Seabirds eating plastic. Recyclers struggling. This is what California’s waste crisis looks like," 3 Aug. 2019 To dig itself out of its rut, the city will need help. The Economist, "Baltimore needs help to fix its crime problems," 1 Aug. 2019 Trump appeared to dig a deeper hole even as a top White House aide sought to dismiss the controversy by describing Trump's comments as hyperbole. Fortune, "Trump Calls Cummings ‘Racist,’ Sharpton ‘Con Man,’ and Defends Baltimore District Comments," 29 July 2019 Police in Connecticut had to dig through branches and power lines to free a 21-year-old from his car after lightning sent a large tree branch onto the vehicle, killing the man, reports say. Char Adams, PEOPLE.com, "Connecticut Man, 21, Dead After Large Tree Branch Struck by Lightning Falls Onto His Car," 18 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Top ten episodes of The Tick The Tick vs. Dinosaur Neil (Season 1) Dinosaur Neil is a mild-mannered paleontologist who runs Dinosaur Grotto, giving public guided tours of his dig site while dressed as a green dinosaur. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Ars celebrates 25 years of The Tick by picking our top ten favorite episodes," 10 Sep. 2019 In a closed-door meeting with the House Republican conference after Sanford lost, Trump took a dig at Sanford, which did not go over well with members of the conference. Lissandra Villa, Time, "Mark Sanford Says He's in the 'Final Throes' of Deciding on a Trump Primary Challenge," 28 Aug. 2019 Harris responded by defending her work, while also taking a dig at Gabbard. cleveland.com, "Tulsi Gabbard takes on Kamala Harris and other viral moments from CNN’s Democratic debate," 1 Aug. 2019 Harris also took a dig at Gabbard’s controversial meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad two years ago. Fortune, "Biden and Harris Fend Off Attacks in Testy Second Democratic Debate," 1 Aug. 2019 On a recent afternoon, Monticello tour guide Carrie Soubra stopped in the library of Jefferson’s sunlit private suite to try to shore up the former president’s reputation, taking a dig at Hamilton along the way. Cameron Mcwhirter, WSJ, "Enough With Hamilton, Say Fans of Other Founding Fathers," 23 June 2019 The latter seemed to take a dig at Fonda's own controversial history with the Vietnam War. Eileen Reslen, Town & Country, "Megyn Kelly's Most Controversial Moments Ever," 26 Oct. 2018 An Arsenal fan getting cocky after going 2-0 up against Watford, seeing the farmed out Henrikh Mkhitaryan scoring a goal on his debut, feeling the need to have a dig and unknowingly digging his own social media grave. SI.com, "LOL: The Best Memes & Funnies From Around the Football World This Gameweek," 17 Sep. 2019 The reigning cheap eat in the neighborhood, however, is Roti King, which serves flaky Malaysian flatbread with various fillings (go for the lamb curry) from basement digs near Euston station. Vogue, "Where to Stay and Eat in London’s Renewed King’s Cross Neighborhood," 16 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dig.' 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 dig


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


1797, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for dig

Verb and Noun

Middle English diggen

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Statistics for dig

Last Updated

4 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dig

The first known use of dig was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for dig



English Language Learners Definition of dig

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to move soil, sand, snow, etc., in order to create a hole
: to form (a hole, tunnel, etc.) by removing soil, sand, snow, etc.
: to uncover (something that is underground) by moving earth, soil, sand, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of dig (Entry 2 of 2)

: a push with a body part (such as your elbow) : a poke or thrust
: a criticism or insult that is directed toward a particular person or group
: a place where scientists try to find buried objects by digging also : the act of digging for buried objects


\ ˈdig How to pronounce dig (audio) \
dug\ ˈdəg \; digging

Kids Definition of dig

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to turn up, loosen, or remove the soil The dog was digging in the garden again.
2 : to turn up or remove with a shovel or by similar means I dug into the snow.
3 : to form by removing earth dig a hole dig a cellar
4 : to uncover or search by or as if by turning up earth They dug for gold.
5 : prod entry 1 sense 1, poke He dug me in the ribs.
dig in
: to begin eating Supper's ready, so dig in.
dig into
1 : to begin eating He dug into a plate of pasta.
2 : to try to discover information Reporters were digging into the story.
dig up
1 : to uncover or remove (as from soil) dig up a bush
2 : discover I dug up information about her past.



Kids Definition of dig (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : poke entry 2 a dig in the ribs
2 : a place where buried objects are being uncovered a dinosaur dig
3 : a project to uncover buried objects The bones were found during a recent dig.
4 : a nasty remark She got in a dig about forgetting her birthday.

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More from Merriam-Webster on dig

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dig

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dig

Spanish Central: Translation of dig

Nglish: Translation of dig for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dig for Arabic Speakers

Comments on dig

What made you want to look up dig? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a bell tower

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