Definition of dig in English:

dig

verb

  • 1no object Break up and move earth with a tool or machine, or with hands, paws, snout, etc.

    ‘the boar had been digging for roots’
    with object ‘she had to dig the garden’
    ‘authorities cause chaos by digging up roads’
    • ‘Whatever we think about the truth or otherwise of this piece of ancient Irish history the story received a boost some years later, when men were digging up the soil along this area.’
    • ‘But others complain that foxes are digging up their gardens, fouling their lawns, attacking their pets and ripping open their garbage bags.’
    • ‘But the pigs are really great: they're extremely friendly creatures and love digging up the rough land.’
    • ‘The report said the sheer number of people busy digging the earth makes the three graveyards appear to be mines, but what is being dug up are human bones and skeletons of people laid to rest many years ago.’
    • ‘The roads, which had been dug up have become slushy.’
    • ‘The army ground that players used was dug up and replaced by a canal.’
    • ‘He points to the countryside that has been dug up, blasted, landscaped to make way for some of the most beautiful resorts on the earth.’
    • ‘They have given up work and are digging up their gardens.’
    • ‘The ground has been dug up all over to put up tents and huge screens for the programme starting Friday.’
    • ‘Workmen digging up a front garden got a fright when they discovered an unexploded Second World War bomb.’
    • ‘The ground should be dug over to loosen the earth.’
    • ‘When I was a boy and I used to dig in our backyard, half mimicking my dog and half pretending to be an explorer, I used to say I was digging to China.’
    • ‘The most recent piece of legislation in this area was the Telegraph Act of 1863 which had loose restrictions on digging up roads.’
    • ‘When your bulbs arrive, or you buy them from the garden center, gather everyone together, hand out garden tools and start digging.’
    • ‘‘This had to be completed before any more capital works as the roads would simply have had to be dug up again,’ she said.’
    • ‘Winter is the best time to tackle those big projects in the garden such as digging up a new garden bed, putting in a garden arch or putting in a fish pond.’
    • ‘But under the new regulations, firms which take too long to complete the job, or start digging up the road not long after another company has left, will face stiff sanctions.’
    • ‘Well, suddenly without any warning, a couple of weeks ago, men and machines arrived and started digging up the road and pavement and generally causing the usual traffic chaos.’
    • ‘But the surrounding land is being dug up by general contractors working for the employers' agents.’
    • ‘Gardeners digging up their borders for spring bulb planting are being urged to do their bit to help rescue the much-loved British bluebell.’
    cultivate, till, harrow, plough, turn over, work, break up, spade
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with object Make (a hole, grave, etc.) by breaking up and moving earth.
      ‘he took a spade and dug a hole’
      ‘a newly dug grave’
      • ‘Here though, in the local graveyard, the sweat and the labour of the man who digs the grave seem even closer to the eternal.’
      • ‘A few of the people on the community took his advice and dug the post holes and carted the timber to make the enormous trellises required to grow these fruit.’
      • ‘I've got other members of the family digging the graves.’
      • ‘Eventually, by digging foot holes in the ice with my ice pick, I was slowly able to crawl up to reach the summit where the sandstone ledge jutted out.’
      • ‘At one action project, participants dug holes to place signs at a new park.’
      • ‘I grabbed a spade and frantically dug a hole in the garden, hoping like hell my flatmate wouldn't turn up during the process.’
      • ‘For even though the mother turtle carefully and craftily dug a hole, laid the eggs and then patted the sand down, they were found.’
      • ‘In the underground cable-digging system, 2-3 holes are dug for every kilometre.’
      • ‘Around 40,000 holes are dug each year in London's roads alone.’
      • ‘We arrived to the clan cemetery and I watched as my uncles brought the casket to the newly dug hole and they lowered it in.’
      • ‘He went out and bought a spade and began digging a grave.’
      • ‘I was digging holes and calling them earthworks.’
      • ‘They also steal tulip and crocus bulbs from newly planted beds, dig holes in gardens to get at seeds and bury nuts, and gobble seed from bird feeders.’
      • ‘She watched anxiously out her daughter's bedroom window as Jack dug a three-foot hole in the backyard.’
      • ‘They were forced to dig a hole in the grave to bury the statue.’
      • ‘When I die, a man will prepare my body for burial and dig my grave and again a male pastor will most likely conduct my funeral service and commit my body to the ground.’
      • ‘Then they dug the hole wider so that they could pull the statue out.’
      • ‘Also use a spade anytime you want to dig a straight-sided hole.’
      • ‘With the trowel, he dug a little hole, making it just deep enough that the grain sprout would still be able to push through the dirt on top of it.’
      • ‘He digs holes in my flower beds, poops in my yard, and recently has decided to make my front flower bed his own personal bathroom.’
      excavate, dig out, quarry, hollow out, scoop out, gouge out, cut, bore, tunnel, burrow, mine, channel
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2with object and adverbial Extract from the ground by breaking up and moving earth.
      ‘the water board came and dug the cable up’
      • ‘The flute was dug up in a cave in the Swabian mountains in south-western Germany, and pieced back together again from 31 fragments.’
      • ‘Dahlias are best dug up and brought in when the foliage has been blacked by the first frosts, although warmer winters do give them a better chance of surviving in the garden.’
      • ‘Spectacle is what lets us say that plants can be dug up and put in a place together (that the land and the process of growing are separate from the growth of the plant).’
      • ‘The dogs from next door often burrow under the fence and into my garden digging up plants.’
      • ‘Piles of earth around the coffin showed it had recently been dug up, and it appears the decaying lid was smashed to get at the bones.’
      • ‘The movie ends with a harrowing scene of the father digging up his son's coffin, only to discover a piece of wood inside the box.’
      • ‘His best known line was that archaeologists dig up people not things.’
      • ‘Is it still there, waiting to be dug up like buried treasure?’
      • ‘‘I've even had treasure in my court and coins which were found when a graveyard was being dug up,’ he said.’
      • ‘It's also worthwhile surrounding your pots and trays with netting (or prickly holly clippings) to prevent these rodents digging up the seeds.’
      • ‘In fact archaeologists dig up things not people; and that's the whole point.’
      • ‘Some flower thieves were fined just last month for digging up 300 quid's worth from a Norfolk garden.’
      • ‘Rabbits who have taken up residence on the remains of a 14th century manor house in England are digging up fragments of a medieval glass window.’
      • ‘We must have been down there a hour and a half whilst the guide, an ex-miner showed us how coal was dug up in Victorian times right up to the mechanised way they do it nowadays.’
      • ‘Actually, the giant marine reptile whose remains have lain buried near Whitby for 185 million years and who was dug up last week doesn't actually have a name, yet.’
      • ‘The bones of legendary outlaw Robin Hood may have been dug up in the mid-18th Century, according to a history buff.’
      • ‘I have got a plot reserved for myself at the foot of their graves, but I don't like the thought of them being dug up later, splitting up the family.’
      • ‘I will put a stone plaque over the place where we have reburied them so they are never dug up again.’
      • ‘The site preparation work has commenced which entails digging up and levelling some 40 million cubic metres of earth.’
      unearth, dig up, pull up, grub up, root up, root out, bring to the surface, extract from the ground
      exhume, disinter, unearth, bring to the surface, bring out of the ground
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3dig in (of a soldier) protect oneself by digging a trench or similar ground defence.
      • ‘Exhausted by their previous encounters, both armies dug in for battles that were precursors to the trench warfare of World War I.’
      • ‘Today the soldiers are dug in behind sandbags and pickup trucks with mounted machine guns patrol the streets.’
      • ‘Eventually, they were forced to retreat, and moved north to the River Aisne where they dug in, setting the pattern of trench warfare for the next four years.’
      • ‘Being in the studio is about digging in the trenches, rediscovering music and peeling off the layers to find out what it all means.’
      • ‘On June 26, the battalion had moved up and begun to dig in to a new position when the tell-tale sound of an incoming shell was heard.’
      • ‘Rather than give up the territory which they already held, the Germans dug in to protect themselves from the guns of the advancing Allies.’
      • ‘US intelligence estimates there are about 3,000 insurgents dug in behind defences and booby traps in the city of about 300,000 people.’
      • ‘In an attack map, success depends on a quick strike into the enemy defences before they become too dug in.’
      • ‘The soldiers were dug in on both sides of the bridge from where they mounted a deafening defence using tanks, artillery and RPGs.’
      • ‘An enemy that dug in to fight on the high ground would be an entirely different situation.’
      • ‘So they dug in and trench warfare lasted for the next 3 years.’
      • ‘Everywhere she looked, Sara saw soldiers hard at work, mostly digging in.’
      • ‘They were like soldiers in the trenches when they dug in to repel waves of attack when beating the Dutch 1-0 at Lansdowne Road in the qualifiers.’
      • ‘The English troops, mainly archers and foot soldiers, dug in behind wooden stakes between thickly wooded ground.’
      • ‘Fighting against well dug in troops and defences that had been prepared years in advance they clawed their way over the dunes and onto the coastlines and into the hedgerows.’
      • ‘They began to dig in while First Brigade moved in behind as reserve.’
      • ‘He says about 15,000 soldiers are dug in, ready to defend the city.’
    4. 1.4with object Excavate (an archaeological site)
      ‘apart from digging a site, recording evidence is important’
      • ‘No convincing pyre sites were found, possibly because of the way the site was dug.’
      • ‘It may seem, from our news pages, that British archaeologists are digging an endless supply of good sites.’
      • ‘The experts moved on to the site on Monday last week and began digging in search of any historical remains.’
      • ‘Archaeologists digging in Jerusalem uncovered a piece of pottery inscribed with the name Goliath.’
      • ‘Close attention had to be paid to stratification while digging, and his excavation assistants had to be properly trained.’
      • ‘He said that recognising that this might be part of an ancient human, he had continued to dig at the site and collected more pieces of skull.’
      • ‘On one of the three mounds on the machair there is Iron Age and Pictish pottery, and this summer we will dig the site to see if there was a sequence of farms in those periods.’
      • ‘Just digging the site was an achievement in itself, he says.’
      • ‘Hundreds of such bottles were recovered from a site being dug for construction of a Guest House for the Bangalore District Police.’
      • ‘Two double pit alignments were dug, one east of the northern henge, the other west of the southern.’
      • ‘It was also unusual, he added, to be digging a site as recent as the 1880s for the express purpose of adding to local knowledge.’
      • ‘We may dig, study, and scrutinize every part of Stonehenge, but we will never know all of the secrets of the ancient megalith known as Stonehenge.’
    5. 1.5dig ininformal Begin eating heartily.
      • ‘Despite my protests, I dug in heartily, taking a big bite of the savory food.’
      • ‘After he had sat down and begun to eat Ella dug in.’
      • ‘Tommy picked up his spoon and began to dig in, too.’
      • ‘I sighed happily as I sat down and began to dig in.’
      • ‘Go on, now, fill up your plate and dig in.’
      • ‘Smoke wafts in pungent plumes but fans of his cuisine dig in with gusto, claiming that the food ‘makes men men’.’
      • ‘He suspected she'd still manage to catch every nuance of his reaction, though, so he took his spoon and dug in with all the heartiness he could summon.’
      • ‘More than anything, it shows that food is a reflection of who we are as people - when she eats an Italian picnic on the floor of her otherwise perfect kitchen, the mess is almost more than she can bear, but soon she digs in with gusto.’
      • ‘By now the guests have started to hover around the buffet and Ismail, who is showing discreet signs of kitchen-fatigue, encourages all to dig in.’
      • ‘I suppose that giving students just a small taste of the historical feast could whet their appetites and entice them to dig in heartily.’
      • ‘Then a cake of gelled fruits coated with sugar and cream was placed before Alexander, and he dug in heartily.’
      • ‘My mom said: ‘grab a plate and dig in.’’
      • ‘Loving the smell of the meal in front of her (a green chili sauce for a chicken and a pile of home-made tortillas), she began digging in.’
      • ‘His aunt and roommate conversed heartily on as they all began to dig in.’
      • ‘Scoop it out onto a plate and dig in.’
      • ‘The food comes, and she digs in.’
  • 2with object Push or poke sharply.

    ‘he dug his hands into his pockets’
    • ‘I dug my fingers into his side, poking him between his ribs.’
    • ‘As you push the weight back up, dig your shoulders into the bench and keep your glutes on it.’
    • ‘I dug my hands in further, pushing, cursing at the stupidity.’
    • ‘Juanita chose that moment to dig her razor sharp long nails into my left arm as Rachel grabbed the right and Teresa shoved me right into a wall.’
    • ‘Ryan pushed his hands deeper into his pocket, digging his nails in his palms to assure himself he was awake.’
    • ‘I huffed to myself, and dug my spoon back into the ice cream, and shoved an even larger than before scoop into my mouth.’
    • ‘Ignoring the pain, Matt dug his hands into the floor and shards, pushing himself upward and sprinting after the assassin.’
    • ‘Laying on her stomach, she dug her nails into the ice, pushing as best she could forward with her soaked stocking feet.’
    • ‘Watching him go, I dug my elbow into Chase, pushing him away from me.’
    • ‘Taking off her headphones, she shoved her cd player in her purse and dug her hands into the pocket of her black hoodie.’
    • ‘When he teased me, but in a way that didn't deserve a truly biting retort, I pushed his chest lightly, or dug a finger into his waist.’
    • ‘I dug my heels in, leaned forward, and shoved off with my legs at the same time I pushed out hard with my arms.’
    • ‘The hand on her shoulder tightened, each digit digging sharply into her skin.’
    • ‘She sat still for a few seconds as Gabby dug a sharply edged eyeliner pencil into her top eyelid.’
    • ‘He dug his hands into his pockets, pushed himself off the wall.’
    • ‘She dug her fork in and shoved it in her mouth, not looking at what it was, and not caring.’
    • ‘Sighing, she dug her feet in and began pushing again, struggling to pass over all the grass while cutting around the ant piles that dotted the yard.’
    • ‘He dug his feet in to gain his balance and pushed his rear-end up first.’
    • ‘He dug his hands deeper into his pockets and pushed his house keys into his palm between the thumb and his finger.’
    • ‘He pushed my foot hard, and I screamed, digging my fingernails into his arm.’
    poke, prod, jab, stab, shove, ram, push, thrust, drive, nudge
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1no object, with adverbial Search or rummage in a specified place.
      ‘Catherine dug into her handbag and produced her card’
      • ‘I was attending the funeral of a friend's father last year and a woman who was seated in the church in front of me started digging frantically in her handbag as her cell started ringing.’
      • ‘They dug through their handbags for suitable implements to rescue them.’
      • ‘She steeled herself for a long trip, dug into her bag, pulled out a datapad and began to read.’
      • ‘I dug through my pockets, searching frantically for it, and I hadn't lost it.’
      • ‘Deciding to steer clear of the bed for a bit, Christopher went over to one of his bags and began to dig through it, searching for his journal and pen.’
      • ‘Jason dug into one of the pouches on his belt and took out a small camera and began to take pictures.’
      • ‘Two minutes later, she dug into the back of her closet and pulled out a large backpack.’
      • ‘Unzipping the bag, she dug through the contents until she found what she was searching for.’
      • ‘When the search engine visitor submits their query, the search engine digs through its database to give the final listing that is displayed on the results page.’
      • ‘I dug into the case and flipped out a photo and the printed letter that went with it.’
      • ‘So here we are, digging through my closet in search of something blue.’
      • ‘After deciding that all signs of the injury were well hidden she began digging through the closet yet again in search of a shirt.’
      • ‘Barry dug through his pockets in search of the message.’
      • ‘It does the search of the search engines for you, digging through ten search engines to generate your results.’
      • ‘I dug around in it, searching for my CDs, but I couldn't find them.’
      • ‘He dug around for a few seconds in search of his cell-phone, but eventually gave up.’
      • ‘He saw the look but merely knelt and dug into his pack, pulling out what looked to be a very sharp knife.’
      • ‘Emily dug through the drawer, quickly searching for a black sock.’
      • ‘She dug through her backpack, desperately searching for the water pouch she knew she had with her.’
      • ‘Again she said his name not expecting an answer, as she dug though his clothes and searched the room.’
    2. 2.2no object Engage in research; conduct an investigation.
      ‘he had no compunction about digging into her private affairs’
      • ‘With a natural talent for research, the Scorpio child wants to dig to the bottom of everything.’
      • ‘You have the qualification to be a top investigator or researcher as you doggedly dig out the facts of whatever matter you are pursuing.’
      • ‘As host, his job was to conduct an interesting conversation rather than dig for historical footnotes.’
      • ‘If the investigator didn't dig hard enough and fast enough, the whole issue would collapse as the walls caved in on him.’
      • ‘It is a challenge to historians of American economic development to dig more deeply and more broadly in future research.’
      • ‘Celebrities are easy, but on a slow week the researchers have to dig, and they often find gold.’
      • ‘She digs deeper in her investigation, trying to get at the shared assumptions which underlie her subjects' diverse approaches to choosing and remaining with a partner.’
      • ‘But investigators are determined to dig until they find the answer.’
      • ‘The program allows participants to dig deeper and engage in more robust conversations than in programs where attendees hail from different fields.’
      • ‘As investigators started digging the family member that he was living with lied to them about him staying there.’
      • ‘It is when actions do not fit the character that the investigator starts to dig a little harder.’
      • ‘His fingers went down to the keyboard and began to fly over it as he started to dig deeper and investigate it some more.’
      • ‘Any researcher who has dug hard to find ‘the truth’ knows that it is rarely found in the media.’
      • ‘Like most stores of its kind, you have to search and dig to find a steal.’
      • ‘But it's a debate worth engaging in - especially today as marketers dig deeper into what drives consumer behavior.’
      • ‘Journalists should dig deeper when researchers claim a treatment is effective, said the doctor.’
      • ‘However, it always pays to dig deeper into a company's background before you invest to be aware of any inherent risks.’
      • ‘To reach its conclusions, the investigative committee had to do a bit of digging.’
      • ‘The researchers kept digging and uncovered one of the most complete skeletons ever found from this time period, the middle Miocene epoch.’
      • ‘It implores the police to have a third eye when investigating such cases by digging deeper and bringing the culprits to book.’
      delve, probe, search, enquire, look
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3dig something up/out Bring out or discover something after a search or investigation.
      ‘they dug out last year's notes’
      ‘have you dug up any information on the captain?’
      • ‘Let me dig out a pen.’
      • ‘If you want to spend a few moments with the big cheese himself, load your camera, dig out a pen, and get in line here.’
      • ‘Releasing my now trembling hand, she searched through her black purse, digging out a lighter and pack of cigarettes.’
      • ‘Manchester Royal Infirmary, which is losing 1,000 pairs of crutches a year, is hoping former patients will dig them out of the loft, garage or garden shed and bring them back - no questions asked.’
      • ‘I could dig out old journals and search but that's an activity fraught with danger.’
      • ‘So, dig out your latest bank statement, check it carefully and cancel the direct debits and standing orders that you don't need any more.’
      • ‘Eventually, his research team dug up the English translation and the original story in Chinese and figured out what was going on.’
      • ‘For starters, where in the wide world of Wall Street are they going to dig up the investors to pony up the capital for yet another national wireless network?’
      • ‘The girls on the next to the back pew would inevitably dig out some gum or candy and share with the guys on the back pew.’
      uncover, unearth, dredge up, root out, hunt out, ferret out, nose out, sniff out, track down, extricate, find, find out, turn up, come across, discover, detect, reveal, bring to light, bring into the open, expose
      View synonyms
  • 3informal with object Like, appreciate, or understand.

    ‘I really dig heavy rock’
    • ‘We have fought hundreds of hours on that map and I really dig the steep rocks you can jump out from into the frozen river.’
    • ‘At the same time, there was a girl named Natacat in Chicoutimi who dug garage rock.’
    • ‘Now that the fake holidays have made me understand the holiday cheer a little bit, I can dig some of the real ones, like Halloween or New Years.’
    • ‘Like I said in a previous review, I totally dig these 60s influenced garage rock bands.’
    • ‘Don't even start on how there are some chicks who dig them.’
    • ‘He dug them for their rock 'n' roll spirit, they dug him for his; fate will always find a way, and now it's love, right?’
    • ‘Like I said, it took me by surprise and I would recommend it to anyone who currently digs the rock thing, even if it's too heavy at times.’
    • ‘"Anyone can go there and dig what I'm playing, I think, " he says.’
    • ‘If you dig scratchy lead guitars and appreciate real good Hard Rock, that has come through a lot of neo-influences, then this album is for you.’
    • ‘What if someday Canadians decide they don't dig what the US is up to?’
    • ‘Some melodies may be too bland for those who dig their rock with more pop.’
    • ‘Chicks definitely dig dudes who are able to interact with society in a non-violent manner.’

noun

  • 1in singular An act or spell of digging.

    ‘a thorough dig of the whole plot’
    • ‘Speaking at the scene of the dig, the Detective said the witness had reported a sighting of both boys on the morning of their disappearance.’
    • ‘The resources required for a digging project need to be appropriate to the specific circumstances of the dig.’
    • ‘It is a time for a drive in the country, a dig in the garden, a football game or a family dinner.’
    • ‘Added to this is the £20,000 cost of delays because of the dig.’
    • ‘I also had a bit of a dig in the garden, clearing some weeds and replanting some of the shrubs that I had moved into pots for winter.’
    • ‘The first dig of Lot B1 was made on Wednesday, as part of the project to improve and expand the airport.’
    • ‘We're not against the motorway and we're not insisting that the dig go on indefinitely, but we want it done properly, with due regard for the importance of this site.’
    • ‘The remains of 10 individual houses have so far been uncovered and it looks as if more could be found as the dig continues.’
    • ‘He said the parents of the two boys had expressed relief at the ending of the dig, which began on Monday.’
    • ‘We still have to decide if we are doing the big dig next year to improve the drainage around the house.’
    • ‘An exploratory dig on Charles Street pay and display car park, the proposed library site, has uncovered evidence of dwellings dating back to the early Middle Ages.’
    1. 1.1count noun An archaeological excavation.
      • ‘About 700 trainees have worked at the four-year dig, and 65,000 visitors have come to watch the work in progress.’
      • ‘When an archaeological dig takes place, the position of each ‘find’ is carefully recorded on a plan of the area.’
      • ‘About 100 volunteers, both young and old, attended the two-week dig.’
      • ‘During a new dig, he has now discovered a rare Viking buckle with a ‘wonderful runic design’ dating back to the 10th century.’
      • ‘A better project hypothesis would have been to uncover and analyze the findings of the dig, period.’
      • ‘But a spokeswoman for the company said it was happy, regardless, to let the dig continue until its natural conclusion.’
      • ‘The artefacts unearthed have intrigued university experts so much that they hope to continue the dig next year.’
      • ‘The dig has already uncovered a whet stone, which would have been used for sharpening knives, and a piece of a pottery jug dated back to at least the 17th century.’
      • ‘That was when one of the archaeologists who was part of the dig stepped forward.’
      • ‘We found a grinding wheel during the dig, so one theory is that the water may have been pumped from the river through the culvert to power the machinery.’
      • ‘The same dig also uncovered a silver decorated Roman cavalry helmet, the only one ever found in England.’
      • ‘Three other artifacts found in the dig initially seemed at odds with a trash pit scenario.’
      • ‘This week the dig finished and the remains, some dating back as far as the sixth century, are in Preston awaiting analysis.’
      • ‘Do you think I could look around the dig for a while?’
      • ‘The children have had their own section of the dig and have uncovered a cobbled courtyard that stretches over 100 sq metres as well as animal bones and pottery.’
      • ‘All the dig revealed was natural chalk and flint glacial deposits, the archaeologist said.’
      • ‘But as a result of the find, the dig has been widened to see if the land contains any more artefacts.’
      • ‘But time is running out for the dig which is scheduled to finish by February 14 when developers move on to the site…’
      • ‘The dig has uncovered the remains of a hut circle and unearthed lots of pottery, including Roman samianware and 17th century German ballamineware.’
      • ‘The training dig, which will last until September 5, is on the site of the mediaeval hospital of St Leonard's.’
  • 2A push or poke with one's elbow, finger, etc.

    ‘Ginnie gave her sister a dig in the ribs’
    • ‘He didn't seem to mind making cracks likely to earn him a dig in the ribs from his fiancée, Chanelle, whom he subsequently married.’
    • ‘A dig in the ribs from my puritanical brother told me when I was going too far.’
    • ‘My remark provoked a loud laugh from the guide, a clap on the shoulder and a dig in the ribs, which I regarded as so many tributes to my skill in theological dialectic.’
    • ‘Scott spluttered, earning himself a sharp dig in the ribs from Josh.’
    • ‘All three took the digs, the elbows, the studs-up tackles and the raking down the shins and moved on.’
    • ‘Martina - not even interrupting her conversation with Julie, but somehow aware of Mike's derogatory comments - digs her elbow into his side.’
    • ‘In the first line-out he gave me a dig in the ribs, pinched my ball and waltzed off down the field with no one the wiser.’
    poke, prod, jab, stab, shove, push, nudge, elbow
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    1. 2.1informal A remark intended to mock or criticize.
      ‘she never missed an opportunity to have a dig at him’
      • ‘The Flemish version of the news item has a dig at Dutch cuisine, because they only got two 2-star restaurants.’
      • ‘Rather than having a dig at the council and its street sweepers, why not raise a litter awareness campaign aimed at tourists who visit our city and get off our backs for a change.’
      • ‘The show also takes a dig at current Anglo-American relations.’
      • ‘Was he also taking a sly dig at the Canadian pretense that we don't engage in American dreaming?’
      • ‘Both times it's over something apparently insignificant that - I'm later told by someone at Island - Heidi interprets as a dig at her and her background.’
      • ‘What's more, he is pretty sly in getting in his dig at Christianity for its highly unlikely belief in the virgin birth.’
      • ‘He made a pointed dig at France, Germany and Belgium.’
      • ‘He followed that with a dig at ‘damaging media coverage that is already so badly affecting our overseas markets and day visitors’.’
      • ‘A message inside some bags and backpacks takes a dig at an unidentified president - but you have to know the secret language to understand it.’
      • ‘There is, finally, the standard dig at political-correctness.’
      • ‘Having said all that, I can't pretend to agree with every policy of the two great powers mentioned above and will continue to have a dig at them as the need arises.’
      • ‘I even had someone come up to me in the street and tell me I had let the country down, after TV commentators had a dig at me.’
      • ‘Most hilarious moments came when poets took a dig at politicians.’
      • ‘It was a nasty dig about a girl's looks when she starts to spout unpopular opinions.’
      • ‘His statement was a clear dig at the negative reaction to his claim last weekend that a gay clique in the Democratic Alliance was behind sexual harassment allegations against him.’
      • ‘I'm allowing you unregulated access to take digs at me and my opinions.’
      • ‘Unintentionally or not, it even takes a dig at humans.’
      • ‘While criticising communal parties, he had a dig at the Congress, saying that people know the aims and objectives of communal forces.’
      • ‘It savages venal music industry poseurs and also takes a dig at the clash between ‘art’ and pop culture.’
      • ‘Instead, this is a charming memoir of a Caribbean childhood, a celebration of the good things in life, and a gentle dig at a set of values that are long gone and unlamented.’
      snide remark, cutting remark, jibe, jeer, taunt, sneer, insult, barb, slur, slight, affront, insinuation
      View synonyms

Phrases

  • dig the dirt (or dig up dirt)

    • informal Discover and reveal damaging information about someone.

      • ‘Well, it turns out that he's actually an FBI agent who's working on digging up dirt about me.’
      • ‘When it started to dig up dirt on the Liberals, it was quickly put to silence.’
      • ‘If it were not for the Prime Minister's sanction, there would be no group to dig up dirt if it can be found; or invent it if not.’
      • ‘Is this the press in Whitewater mode, determined to dig up dirt about long-ago presidential business dealings?’
      • ‘He hired a private eye to dig up dirt on this mother.’
      • ‘Why bother digging up dirt on anyone when someone is going to turn around and dig up darker and chunkier dirt in the next minute?’
      • ‘Others have dug up dirt on management, sometimes pointing to tax evasion or bogus financial statements.’
      • ‘People are always trying to dig up dirt, but there's really nothing to hide - we have a very good, friendly relationship.’
      • ‘Media outlets who want to dig up dirt in this area need to be wary that there are hordes of lawyers waiting to sue on this.’
      • ‘‘Unless someone digs up dirt on him, it's a pretty clean confirmation,’ says one observer.’
  • dig a hole for oneself (or dig oneself into a hole)

    • Get oneself into an awkward or restrictive situation.

      • ‘He said he panicked because he was on probation and told the jury he had dug a hole for himself and that was why he wanted to tell the truth and come clean.’
      • ‘We Texans have a saying: ‘When you find you've dug yourself into a hole, the very first thing to do is quit digging.’’
      • ‘Daddy, you're digging a hole for yourself by not telling her the truth.’
      • ‘If you push yourself too much all at once, you will end up digging yourself into a hole.’
      • ‘I think he wanted to stop me before I dug myself into a hole.’
      • ‘And we are further digging ourselves into a hole by endorsing the use of police interrogation methods that experts throughout the world know don't work.’
      • ‘Yet, as she began to walk over to them, she knew she had dug herself into a hole, but she tried to keep her chin up, especially after glancing back to the group.’
      • ‘You've already dug a hole for yourself, a nasty part of my mind stated.’
      • ‘And the more a government has dug itself into a hole, the more it believes that everyone is out to get it.’
      • ‘But the Princess continues to dig herself into a hole.’
  • dig in one's heels (or toes or feet)

    • Resist stubbornly; refuse to give in.

      ‘officials dug their heels in on particular points’
      • ‘Or you could dig in your heels and stubbornly fight against life, trying to defeat it, like the fallen tree.’
      • ‘Both sides have dug in their heels and are in a waiting game to see who blinks first.’
      • ‘A majority of the appeals court judges have dug in their heels in a way not seen since state courts resisted federal court rulings during the civil rights movement.’
      • ‘But the down side was that under pressure he may resent interruptions or demands on his time and react by digging in his heels and ignoring the needs of others.’
      • ‘The prison administration and the Ontario Ministry for Public Safety and Security dug in their heels.’
      • ‘People will have to dig in their heels and grit their teeth.’
      • ‘Those staff on the newspaper who had dug in their feet against my editorship or who were still sore that they themselves had not got the job saw the opportunity.’
      • ‘The difficulty for those attempting to save the credibility of Scottish football is that the very steps which would begin to redress the balance cause the Old Firm to dig in their heels in stubborn resistance.’
      • ‘My first viewing of it last year was an exercise in frustration as I dug in my heels and resisted any of its sensual pleasures as I hoped that its thematic strands would cohere into some sort of profound statement.’
      • ‘The players should dig in their heels and withdraw their services if these new regulations are applied.’
      oppose, fight against, refuse to accept, be hostile to, object to, be anti, take a stand against, defy, go against, set one's face against, kick against, baulk at
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  • dig's one's own grave

Origin

Middle English: perhaps from Old English dīc ‘ditch’.

Pronunciation

dig

/dɪɡ/