\ 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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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

First, a tunnel had to be dug from a home several hundred meters away into the sewage system. Raf Casert, The Seattle Times, "A tunnel, a hole in the floor: Belgium ponders bank heist," 4 Feb. 2019 The plan was for Mr. Guzmán’s sons to buy a plot of land near the prison, so that a tunnel could be dug there. Nicole Hong, WSJ, "Wife of ‘El Chapo’ Coordinated His 2015 Prison Escape, Witness Says," 23 Jan. 2019 Although those two things seem at odds, The North Face has dug down into the nano-fibers to discover the next phase of making these opposite design ideas work together. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "The North Face's New Fabric Is Waterproof, Breathable, and Brought to You by Science," 8 Jan. 2019 Beyoncé, Kylie Jenner, and Jhene Aiko among them—have dug deep into their closets and pulled out a greatest hits selection of her wares, too. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Travis Scott Brings Back a Classic (And Kanye-Approved) Piece of Philo-Era Celine," 12 Nov. 2018 Since then, Musk has purchased a boring machine to tunnel under the Los Angeles neighborhood with the hope of making modifications to the machinery that will allow tunnels to be dug more quickly. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Elon Musk tweets a date for the opening of his first Los Angeles tunnel," 22 Oct. 2018 Workers have already dug a row of additional graves at the lush green cemetery, ready and waiting for whoever comes next. Fox News, "Search for Guatemala eruption victims halted as death toll hits 109," 2 Oct. 2018 Production nurseries are limited in which plants can be dug during the summer season. Tim Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "Missed the spring planting season? It's not too late to plant.," 2 July 2018 Crews dug more than 7 feet into the street to find the dog, a 5-week old puppy named MJ, according to Observer news partner WBTV. Lavendrick Smith, charlotteobserver, "A puppy fell deep inside a sewer pipe in Ballantyne. Here’s how it was rescued.," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Some point to the demolition of a nearby government building, which could have sent rats scooting to new digs. Ian Lovett, WSJ, "Politics Is a Dirty Business—Starting with the Rats at Los Angeles City Hall," 10 Feb. 2019 Faulconer previously said in a commentary published in The San Diego Union-Tribune that city police work to protect everyone regardless of immigration status, an apparent dig at Trump’s approach to immigration enforcement. Julie Watson, The Seattle Times, "San Diego mayor unveils plan to integrate immigrants," 4 Feb. 2019 Renovating the house was like an archaeological dig! Fred Nicolaus, House Beautiful, "How Andrew Flesher Used Bright Colors And Leopard Print To Rescue A Historic Home," 6 Dec. 2018 After a decisive split from Yellowfin this season, however, Mann has landed south of the Route 72 causeway in some sharp new digs at Gregory’s in Ship Bottom. Craig Laban, Philly.com, "Jersey Shore restaurants offer tasty food options from Cape May to LBI," 29 June 2018 Jimmy Don is getting the quite the treatment in his new digs, too. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Jimmy Don Holmes Is Getting His Own Store Across from Chip and Joanna's Magnolia Market," 29 Jan. 2019 Dancing her way into her new digs on Capitol Hill wasn’t the only way Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) made a splash in Congress this week. Roberta Gorin-paracka, Teen Vogue, "Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Explains Why She Wore Red Lipstick and Gold Hoop Earrings to Swearing-In Ceremony," 5 Jan. 2019 Needham 3, Westfield 1 — Eli Wallace had 37 assists and seven kills, Cam Robins logged 21 kills and six blocks, Jack Cruickshank added 15 kills, and Nate Goldberg had 16 digs as the No. Chris Bokum, BostonGlobe.com, "Cam Schlittler almost perfect for Walpole baseball," 22 May 2018 Michael Rumfola and Cole Kaitz added 11 kills each, Jose Solano had 49 assists and Sam Tipton had 16 digs for Burroughs (12-6, 8-0 in league). From Staff Reports, latimes.com, "Sports Roundup: Burroughs, Burbank volleyball net league wins," 18 Apr. 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

Verb and Noun

Middle English diggen

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Statistics for dig

Last Updated

22 Feb 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 \
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

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