Definition of fossick
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
chiefly Australia and New Zealand : to search for by or as if by rummaging : ferret out
fossickernoun, chiefly Australia and New Zealand
fossick was our Word of the Day on 04/17/2016. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
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."
Origin and Etymology of fossick
English dialect fossick to ferret out
First Known Use: 1852
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