fos·​sick | \ ˈfä-sik How to pronounce fossick (audio) \
fossicked; fossicking; fossicks

Definition of fossick

intransitive verb

1 Australia and New Zealand : to search for gold or gemstones typically by picking over abandoned workings
2 chiefly Australia and New Zealand : to search about : rummage

transitive verb

chiefly Australia and New Zealand : to search for by or as if by rummaging : ferret out

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from fossick

fossicker noun, chiefly Australia and New Zealand

Search for the Origin of Fossick

The first people to fossick (in the oldest and still-current meaning of the word), back in the 1850s, were picking over abandoned mining excavations in Australia and New Zealand in search of gold or gemstones. But within a few decades fossick was being used more generally to mean "to search about" or "to rummage." Fossick, as we know it, is a native of Down Under, but it may have its origins in a word known to immigrants from the United Kingdom: the dialect term fussock, meaning "to bustle about" or "to fidget."

First Known Use of fossick

1852, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for fossick

English dialect fossick to ferret out

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fossick

Time Traveler for fossick

Time Traveler

The first known use of fossick was in 1852

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about fossick

Statistics for fossick

Cite this Entry

“Fossick.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Comments on fossick

What made you want to look up fossick? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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