\ˈdig \
dug\ ˈdəg \; 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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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

The best advice is still to dig and destroy any plant that shows symptoms of the virus. Walter Reeves, ajc, "Invasive stiltgrass loves moisture and shade," 13 June 2018 Use a garden fork to dig under and lift the plant onto a tarp to carry it to the new location. Arricca Sansone, Country Living, "How to Grow a Lilac Bush," 24 May 2018 Short-term extensions were made so bank officials had time to dig though files to evaluate the faltering real-estate loans, David Wilks, North’s lawyer, told jurors. Jef Feeley, Bloomberg.com, "Delaware Bankers Guilty of Fraud Tied to Subprime-Era Loans," 3 May 2018 The coffins covered in green cloth were lined up at a memorial center and new burial pits were dug at the massive graveyard that already holds 6,575 victims found previously. Washington Post, "Bosnian Muslims to bury 35 Srebrenica massacre victims," 11 July 2018 As investigators dug deeper, the explanations given for the injuries by Benavides-Ruiz and her husband kept changing, according to the warrant. Jeff Truesdell, PEOPLE.com, "Allegedly Abusive Mom Blamed Her Infant's Skull Fracture on a Ghost: Police," 10 July 2018 Evan Horowitz digs through data to find information that illuminates the policy issues facing Massachusetts and the nation. Evan Horowitz, BostonGlobe.com, "Work is getting better, especially for women," 14 July 2018 Now an attorney, Gregory has spent much of the last year digging through records, trying to uncover who is responsible for the vacant house that collapsed and killed a man in March 2016. Tim Prudente, baltimoresun.com, "With ownership in question, lawsuit stalls over deadly West Baltimore collapse," 12 July 2018 Tens of thousands of rescue and recovery workers and volunteers dug through the debris, as the search for dozens still missing enters its fifth day. Haruka Nuga, Fox News, "Abe visiting flood-hit western Japan as deaths reach 176," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

FarBridge had lent a hand to CyArk before, assembling the Oculus virtual reality experience Masterworks: Journey Through History using CyArk point maps of Mount Rushmore, Thai temples, a Peruvian archaeological dig, and more. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian, "This Free Virtual Reality App Drops Users in the Heart of Historic Armenia," 28 June 2018 The students comprised most of the laborers on Mazar's most recent dig, which was also fully funded by the foundation. Maayan Jaffe-hoffman, Jewish Journal, "The untold story of Americans unearthing Israeli archaeology," 21 June 2018 After giving McBride a little time to settle in, Style talked to him about the new digs, the brand itself and the magical power of shoes. Gail Goldberg, SFChronicle.com, "Intentionally Blank steps it up with new Mission store," 21 June 2018 Update, 3/5: At last night's Oscars, many thought that Taraji P. Henson took a subtle dig at Ryan Seacrest during her red carpet interview. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Update: Taraji P. Henson Clarifies She Did Not Shade Ryan Seacrest At The Oscars," 5 Mar. 2018 Neal is regular contributor to the Hot Property blog, keeping tabs on the luxury digs of L.A. sports figures. Neal J. Leitereg, latimes.com, "‘Episodes’ co-creators Jeffrey Klarik and David Crane list L.A. penthouse for $29.9 million," 11 July 2018 For one, the art deco digs are enormous, with nearly 400 rooms, three restaurants and gorgeous ballrooms with terraces. Kate Silver, chicagotribune.com, "You're going where? St. Louis," 19 June 2018 The archaeology dig is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 12 to 16 and June 19 to 23 at Garfield Farm Museum in La Fox. Joy Davis, Aurora Beacon-News, "Diana Krall to perform at Paramount in Aurora," 7 June 2018 During the trip, Rosenberger stayed at the W Hotel Hollywood, luxury digs that are blocks from the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Chrissie Thompson, Cincinnati.com, "Ohio speaker, under FBI investigation, thought Disney might move to Cincy. He was wrong.," 2 May 2018

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


Middle English diggen


see dig entry 1

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Statistics for dig

Last Updated

1 Nov 2018

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 \
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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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).


obstinately defiant of authority

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