\ 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

There would be no digging around in a backpack for snacks! Michaela Bechler, Vogue, "How to Do Winter Glamping Right (Among Saguaros in Arizona)," 8 Jan. 2019 If an influencer is using something that sounds scientific to prove their diet is solid, dig a little bit into their claims to make sure that any important details aren’t being left aside. Abby Langer, SELF, "Most Diets Don't Work, But If a Diet Promises These 4 Things, Run Away," 5 Jan. 2019 This second go-round had predictably bad questions from Congresspeople who were more interested in pushing a narrative that Google Search had a bias against conservatives than digging into, well, any of the issues enumerated above. Dieter Bohn, The Verge, "The Verge 2018 tech report card: Google," 26 Dec. 2018 For a room addition or deck, trenches or holes are dug, then the footings or foundations are added by pouring concrete. Brett Martin, House Beautiful, "How Long It Takes To Renovate Every Single Room In Your House," 26 Dec. 2018 The field still has lots of open questions — many of which might make AI look much more scary, or much less so — which no one has dug into in depth. 7) Is this really likelier to kill us all than, say, climate change? Kelsey Piper, Vox, "The case for taking AI seriously as a threat to humanity," 21 Dec. 2018 Most ranchers and farmers view prairie dogs as pests that dig holes where cattle can fall and break legs, yet these remarkable rodents are essential to the ecosystem. Andrew Evans, chicagotribune.com, "Feel the pull of the prairie on a uniquely American safari in Montana," 5 July 2018 Side note: The luckiest of ants are able to dodge death by shedding their wings and digging holes in the ground before going back into hiding to start a new colony. Jennifer Hassan, Washington Post, "For Americans, it’s the Fourth of July. For Brits, it’s Flying Ant Day.," 4 July 2018 The parking lot might be repaired if workers dug a swimming-pool sized hole to remove all the frozen soil and then replaced it with gravel. Ned Rozell, Anchorage Daily News, "Warming in the north continues as predicted," 23 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Many Grande fans saw this message as a dig at the pop star, who ended her relationship with Pete at the end of October. Whitney Perry, Glamour, "Pete Davidson's Deleted Instagram, Ariana's Concern, and Kanye's Tweets: Here's What Happened," 16 Dec. 2018 The crew works in new digs at everyone from infamous attorney Michael Cohen to John DiMaggio (since the actor voicing Bender couldn’t attend; LaMarche can do a pretty spot-on impression, though). Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "A reunion with Futurama, because only one show used climactic math theorems," 10 June 2018 West Ham fans also took the opportunity to take another dig at their club after the board reportedly ruled out a move for Ben Yedder for being too small and weak for the Premier League. SI.com, "Liverpool & West Ham Fans React As Wissam Ben Yedder Brace Sends Man Utd Crashing Out of UCL," 14 Mar. 2018 Kendall Jenner appears to have taken another dig at Sofia Richie—Lionel Richie's 19-year-old daughter and Scott Disick's girlfriend—on Instagram. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Did Kendall Jenner Just Shade Sofia Richie on Instagram Again?," 6 Feb. 2018 The aluminum and glass body will look great among the blue and white lights adorning the room, and the individual LED candles come with blinking or chasing options, bringing a festive, lively vibe to your Hanukkah digs. Erin Nicole Celletti, Teen Vogue, "9 Holiday Decor Items Under $50," 3 Dec. 2018 Her ritzy new digs aren't the only perks of her new gig, though. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "25 Amazing Disney Channel Shows That You Need to Binge ASAP," 8 Aug. 2018 But despite their past digs and hurtful comments, their fashion empire and huge runway shows continue to go on. Colleen Kratofil, PEOPLE.com, "Ashley Graham, Naomi Campbell Criticized for Walking Dolce & Gabbana Show After Selena Gomez Diss," 9 July 2018 Gordy the groundhog was just born in April and is getting used to his new digs at the zoo over in the Family Farm animal encounters building. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Everything (old and new) you should do at the zoo with your kids," 25 June 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

11 Jan 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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