verb fos·sick \ˈfä-sik\

Definition of fossick

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 Australia and New Zealand :  to search for gold or gemstones typically by picking over abandoned workings

  3. 2 chiefly Australia and New Zealand :  to search about :  rummage

  4. transitive verb
  5. chiefly Australia and New Zealand :  to search for by or as if by rummaging :  ferret out


noun, 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

Seen and Heard

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


a rounded knoll or a ridge of ice

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