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


Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for dig

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of dig in a Sentence

Verb 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. Noun She gave me a dig in the ribs to get my attention. She participated in a dig last summer.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Bailenson, a professor of communications and founder of the Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford University, wanted to dig deeper. Jennifer Lu, Los Angeles Times, "Four reasons why Zoom is so exhausting and what you can do about it," 25 Feb. 2021 Those absences have created a domino effect, forcing Bickerstaff to dig deeper. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Cleveland Cavaliers’ lack of playable depth shows in 117-101 loss to Oklahoma City Thunder," 22 Feb. 2021 In the same Zoom session with reporters, Nagy criticized the Bears offense and challenged his coaching staff to dig deeper for solutions. Dan Wiederer, chicagotribune.com, "Chicago Bears Week 13 storylines: The instant success of interim coaches, David Montgomery’s longest run and Matt Nagy’s stern tone," 4 Dec. 2020 Yet the news of his passing recalled for me his reservoir of strength and his frequent admonition to us to dig deeper within ourselves. Anne N. Sosin, The Christian Science Monitor, "I learned to lean into the hills," 25 Nov. 2020 Even quite junior staff would sometimes hear quite senior staff pooh-pooh any need to dig deeper for pertinent information on a given issue. Bruce Bartlett, The New Republic, "Bush Doesn’t Look Better in Hindsight. He Looks Worse.," 23 Nov. 2020 Racing to Stay Relevant To dig deeper into this puzzling result, Kasinathan looked for clues to the functions of Nicknack and Oddjob, two essential ZAD-ZNF genes that evolved quickly. Quanta Magazine, "Scientists Find Vital Genes Evolving in Genome’s Junkyard," 16 Nov. 2020 Another worker used an excavator to dig around the machine to free Davis. Alex Chhith, Star Tribune, "Co-workers on a remote logging site in northern Minnesota rescue man trapped in flooded truck cab," 8 Feb. 2021 Brockhouse also wants to dig into the city’s reserve fund to prop up small businesses that have financially suffered during the pandemic. San Antonio Express-News, "Former San Antonio councilman Brockhouse announces second bid for mayor," 6 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Among the gardens’ organic solutions: hugelkultur beds, composting, no-dig edible gardening permaculture and drought-tolerant plants. Lisa Boone, Los Angeles Times, "Airbnb for gardens is a thing. Rent an L.A. oasis to nap, do yoga, work, it’s up to you," 23 Feb. 2021 Update starts with a solid dig on Ted Cruz, who continues to provide a target throughout the segment. Matthew Love, Vulture, "Saturday Night Live Recap: Regé-Jean Page, Gladly Seducing America," 21 Feb. 2021 And even what some may consider a minute microaggression — a sideways look or subtle racist dig — can have long-term health effects. Katherine Singh, refinery29.com, "A Year Into COVID, Anti-Asian Racism Continues To Spread," 15 Feb. 2021 The gold foil amulet was just one of several important finds during the dig. Fox News, "Archaeologists in Egypt uncover 2,000-year-old mummy with gold tongue," 5 Feb. 2021 The tractor-pull regulars who have gathered to watch our little contest are so impressed by the Silverado's dig from a standstill that the crowd spits out a string of expletives. David Beard, Car and Driver, "Tested: 2020 Chevrolet, Ford, and Ram HD Pickup Pull-Off," 5 Feb. 2021 The solar barge interpretation is challenged by Dr. Gebhard and Dr. Krause, who think the curved shape of the figure does not match contemporaneous depictions of such sky boats found in dig sites from Egypt up through Scandinavia. New York Times, "A Bitter Archaeological Feud Over an Ancient Vision of the Cosmos," 19 Jan. 2021 The dig becomes a race against its encroachment because once war breaks out such work will be suspended. Bill Goodykoontz, Detroit Free Press, "British history at the heart of busy script for ‘The Dig’," 16 Jan. 2021 Biden had indicated his Education secretary would have experience as a public school educator, a not-so-veiled dig at DeVos’ background as a billionaire philanthropist. Joey Garrison, USA TODAY, "Biden poised to pick Connecticut schools chief Miguel Cardona as Education secretary, reports say," 22 Dec. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dig

Time Traveler for dig

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for dig

Last Updated

28 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dig.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dig. Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on dig

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!