\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

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 Less joy came from digging through the dark matter and attempting to make some neat narrative from the many objects in this collection. Brittany Allen, Longreads, "Getting Tricked by Helen DeWitt," 9 July 2018 One episode in the second season spent several minutes on the reporters’ efforts to dig through countless numbers of files in an old, little-used facility that had become a dumping ground for such materials. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Journalism has a trust problem. The podcast In the Dark proposes a compelling solution.," 7 July 2018 State officials confirmed the bizarre incident, telling TV station WTNH the bear burst in through a back door of the Barkhamsted home June 28, walked past the mother and child, then proceeded to dig through the refrigerator, cabinets and pantry. Mark Price, charlotteobserver, "Bold bear chases family and their pets from home, then cleans out their refrigerator," 3 July 2018 But after digging through historical archives, Wright’s story was found to be accurate. Tommy Rowan, Philly.com, "Forgotten Martin Luther King Jr. speech in Cape May finds new life," 27 June 2018 Fans of the Verve and Spiritualized might want to dig through their back issues of NME and Melody Maker to make sure these folks aren't time travelers! Leor Galil, Chicago Reader, "Chicago band Diagonal do mid-90s shoegaze so well they might have a time machine," 26 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Homeless cats have just gotten finer digs — and an easier way to get adopted — at Tri-County Animal Rescue in Boca Raton. The upgraded cat and kitten rooms have all new cages, toys and cat beds. Marci Shatzman, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Boca shelter offers new digs for cats, easier adoptions for potential owners," 16 June 2018 Even these spacious new digs are not large enough for everyone in Philadelphia who’s lost a child to gun violence. Samantha Melamed, Philly.com, "After 26 years working with at-risk teens, can a Philly couple forgive the one who killed their son?," 13 July 2018 Krasowski again commanded the back row for Sandburg in 2017, adding 410 digs. Tony Baranek, Daily Southtown, "The blue-and-gold standard: Volleyball standout Rachel Krasowski looking for junior achievement at Sandburg," 12 July 2018 With a journey through geologic dig sites across North America, the hands-on experience will feature 26 life-size animatronic dinosaurs along with two full-body skeletons and dozens of fossils. Dan Kelly, kansascity, "KC events June 28-July 4: Booms & Blooms, ‘Cinderella,’ ‘Dinosaurs Revealed,’ Royals," 26 June 2018 Molly recorded 223 kills, 148 digs, 31 aces and 28 blocks. Brian Gosset, star-telegram, "Sisters duo has aspirations of playing in Olympics. They’re off to a good start," 13 July 2018 Archaeologists continued the dig by hand, and were excited to discover that the mortar seal around the heavy lid was entirely intact. Declan Walsh, New York Times, "Sarcophagus Found. Contents Unknown. (‘No Guessing, Please.’)," 13 July 2018 However, among the digs at Tester, Trump made a particularly interesting comment, originally noted by Deadline. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Donald Trump Says He's Broken More Attendance Records Than Elton John With 'the Mouth' as His Musical Instrument," 5 July 2018 The dig revealed more than 6,000 fragments and pieces of different household objects that helped paint a picture of how these workers lived in the mid-1800s. Caroline Blackmon, Detroit Free Press, "Digging for mid-1800s trash uncovers lives of Corktown residents," 1 July 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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Learn More about dig

Phrases Related to dig

dig for

dig into

dig one's own grave

in digs

Statistics for dig

Last Updated

4 Oct 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

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