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dig - Wiktionary


Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary Jump to navigation Jump to search See also: dìg, DIG, and dIG



English Wikipedia has an article on:dig Wikipedia

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English diggen (“to dig”), alteration of Old English dīcian (“to dig a ditch, to mound up earth”) (compare Old English dīcere (“digger”)) from dīc, dīċ (“dike, ditch”) from Proto-Germanic *dīkaz, *dīkiją (“pool, puddle”), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰīgʷ-, *dʰeygʷ- (“to stab, dig”). Additionally, Middle English diggen may derive from an unrecorded suffixed variant, *dīcgian. Akin to Danish dige (“to dig, raise a dike”), Swedish dika (“to dig ditches”). Related to Middle French diguer (“to dig”), from Old French dikier, itself a borrowing of the same Germanic root (from Middle Dutch dijc). More at ditch, dike.



dig (third-person singular simple present digs, present participle digging, simple past and past participle dug)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To move hard-packed earth out of the way, especially downward to make a hole with a shovel. Or to drill, or the like, through rocks, roads, or the like. More generally, to make any similar hole by moving material out of the way.
    They dug an eight-foot ditch along the side of the road.
    In the wintertime, heavy truck tires dig into the road, forming potholes.
    If the plane can't pull out of the dive it is in, it'll dig a hole in the ground.
    My seven-year-old son always digs a hole in the middle of his mashed potatoes and fills it with gravy before he starts to eat them.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 8, in The Celebrity:
      Miss Thorn began digging up the turf with her lofter: it was a painful moment for me. ¶ “You might at least have tried me, Mrs. Cooke,” I said.
  2. (transitive) To get by digging; to take from the ground; often with up.
    to dig potatoes;   to dig up gold
  3. (mining) To take ore from its bed, in distinction from making excavations in search of ore.
  4. (US, slang, dated) To work like a digger; to study ploddingly and laboriously.
    • Paul L. Ford
      Peter dug at his books all the harder.
  5. (figuratively) To investigate, to research, often followed by out or up.
    to dig up evidence;   to dig out the facts
    • 2013 September-October, Henry Petroski, “The Evolution of Eyeglasses”, in American Scientist:
      Digging deeper, the invention of eyeglasses is an elaboration of the more fundamental development of optics technology. The ability of a segment of a glass sphere to magnify whatever is placed before it was known around the year 1000, when the spherical segment was called a reading stone, essentially what today we might term a frameless magnifying glass or plain glass paperweight.
  6. To thrust; to poke.
    He dug an elbow into my ribs and guffawed at his own joke.
    • Robynson (More's Utopia)
      You should have seen children […] dig and push their mothers under the sides, saying thus to them: Look, mother, how great a lubber doth yet wear pearls.
  7. (volleyball) To defend against an attack hit by the opposing team by successfully passing the ball
Derived terms[edit]
Derived terms
to move hard-packed earth out of the way get by digging, take up from the ground
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.
Translations to be checked


dig (plural digs)

  1. An archeological or paleontological investigation, or the site where such an investigation is taking place.
  2. (US, colloquial, dated) A plodding and laborious student.
  3. A thrust; a poke.
    He guffawed and gave me a dig in the ribs after telling his latest joke.
  4. (Britain, dialectal, dated) A tool for digging.
  5. (volleyball) A defensive pass of the ball that has been attacked by the opposing team.
archeological investigation
See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From African American Vernacular English; due to lack of writing of slave speech, etymology is difficult to trace, but it has been suggested that it is from Wolof dëgg, dëgga (“to understand, to appreciate”).[1] It has also been suggested that it is from Irish dtuig.[2] Others do not propose a distinct etymology, instead considering this a semantic shift of the existing English term (compare dig in/dig into).[3]



dig (third-person singular simple present digs, present participle digging, simple past and past participle dug)

  1. (slang) To understand or show interest in.
    You dig?
  2. (slang) To appreciate, or like.
    Baby, I dig you.
slang: to appreciate, or like slang: to understand or show interest in

Etymology 3[edit]




dig (uncountable)

  1. (medicine, colloquial) Digoxin.
    dig toxicity


  1. ^ Smitherman, Geneva (2000), Black Talk: Words and Phrases from the Hood to the Amen Corner (revised ed.), Boston: Houghton Mifflin, →ISBN
  2. ^ Random House Unabridged, 2001
  3. ^ eg: OED, "dig", from ME vt diggen





dig (nominative du)

  1. (personal) you (2nd person singular object pronoun, informal)

Usage notes[edit]

Also used as reflexive pronoun.

See also[edit]

Danish personal pronouns NumberPersonInflectionNominativeAccusativePossessiveReflexiveReflexive possessive SingularFirstcommonjeg mig min neutermit pluralmine Secondcommondu dig din neuterdit pluraldine formalDe Dem Deres Thirdmasculinehan ham hans sig sin femininehun hende hendes commonden den dens neuterdet det dets sit plural sine PluralFirst—vi os vores commonvor neutervort pluralvore Second–I jer jeres formalDe Dem Deres Third–de dem deres sig


Alternative forms[edit]

  • dej (strongly colloquial)


From Old Norse þik, from Proto-Germanic *þek, from Proto-Indo-European *te-ge.




  1. you (objective case, singular)
    Jag såg dig aldrig där
    I never saw you there
  2. reflexive case of du: compare yourself
    Skulle du vilja lära dig jonglera?
    Would you like to learn how to juggle?
    Skar du dig på kniven?
    Did you cut yourself on the knife?

Usage notes[edit]

Note that some verbs have special senses when used reflexively. For example, do not confuse du lär dig att... ("you learn to...") [reflexive] with jag lär dig att... ("I teach you to...") or du lär dig själv att... ("you teach yourself to..."). Here, lär means teach(es) if it is not reflexive, but learn(s) if it is reflexive. Thus, the separate pronoun "dig själv" is needed when object and subject agree, even though the verb should not be used in the reflexive case.

Also note that in the imperative, when there's usually no explicit subject given, the "själv" is dropped.


Swedish personal pronouns subjectobjectpossessive singularfullfullcommonneuterplural 1st person jag mig, mej3 min mitt mina 2nd person du dig, dej2 din ditt dina 3rd person masculine han honom, han2 hans 3rd person feminine hon henne hennes 3rd person gender-neutral hen1 hen1, henom1 hens1 3rd person common den den dess 3rd person neuter det det dess 3rd person indefinite man or en6 en ens 3rd person reflexivesig, sej3 sin sitt sina plural 1st person vi oss vår, våran2 vårt, vårat2 våra 2nd person ni er, eder5 er, eran2, eder5 ert, erat2, edert5 era, edra5 3rd person de, dom4 dem, dom4 deras 3rd person reflexivesig, sej3 sin sitt sina 1Not universally accepted. 2Informal 3Colloquial pronunciation spelling sometimes found in colloquial texts. 4Informal pronunciation spelling found very often in informal writings. 5Dated 6Dialectal, also used lately as a gender-neutral alternative to man.

See also[edit]

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