Definition of digger in English:



  • 1A person, animal, or large machine that digs earth.

    • ‘As men and women watched in tears, the diggers quickly dumped earth on top.’
    • ‘Mass graves are being dug with mechanical diggers.’
    • ‘Our exercise machines are post-hole diggers, shovels, rakes, push mowers, and wheelbarrows.’
    • ‘Since a mechanical digger is no substitute for a trowel, this is not happening.’
    • ‘He thought of himself and his fellow engineers at the Cape as ditch diggers: They would be glad to dig any ditch anybody wanted when someone told them how wide, how deep, in which direction, and by when.’
    • ‘From the wound in the earth the diggers threw out yellow, sticky clay.’
    • ‘The only sound was that of the digger's massive engine as the machine moved forward and crushed the wooden fence at the end of the former front garden.’
    • ‘Some animals are diggers so you want to put screen under your deck or porch.’
    • ‘It appeared as if they used the bucket of the digger to try and lift the ATM machine off the ground.’
    • ‘And as the diggers began clawing back the earth, workers unearthed old tram lines.’
    • ‘They are also interested in the production of mechanical diggers because they remember Bulgaria's production of these goods.’
    • ‘Last Tuesday morning the diggers arrived to scrape away earth to form 14 rectangular patches of soil opposite the residents' homes.’
    • ‘The pipeline laying began with two separate crews, each with around 180 men, working on trench diggers, banding machines, pipe-liners, welders, bulldozers and trucks.’
    • ‘The Show's trades stand section included an extensive display of jeeps, tractors, diggers and other farm machinery such as combine harvesters and slurry spreaders.’
    • ‘The driver of the digger jumped from the machine just before the engine collided with it.’
    • ‘At my next visit to the orchard the site was simply bare red soil, fenced and waiting, watched over by earth moving equipment: diggers, graders, tractors.’
    • ‘A small digger lifts up mounds of it and spreads it on the ground.’
    • ‘Local Gardaí received a complaint from the local Church of Ireland rector on February 6 that many graves had been damaged by what appeared to be a mechanical digger.’
    • ‘This cost him dearly with one of his most practical machines - the trench digger.’
    • ‘Already several lagoons have formed in areas where the diggers have removed earth for a new flood bank set 500 metres inland.’
    1. 1.1 A miner.
      • ‘After these goldrushes, and the return of experienced, but mostly unsuccessful diggers, gold, copper, and silver mines were in production within a short time.’
      • ‘However, such placers became exhausted very quickly, and diggers did not have the equipment or money to mine deeper layers.’
      • ‘More than three hundred diggers sold their gold, at a much better price than they had received from the Victorians, and in March the Gold Escort was on its way back to Adelaide.’
      • ‘When the alluvial gold had petered out the family left, as did all the other diggers, and settled in Port Augusta.’
      • ‘But there was a problem - six metres down the men had come across a pocket of natural gas - overcoming and hospitalising one of the diggers.’
      • ‘Its late-nineteenth-century exponents celebrated the convicts, diggers, and bush workers as bearers of a tradition of egalitarian, masculine solidarity.’
      • ‘A ten-year boom brought diggers back across the Pacific from the declining California field, as well as from Britain, where Cornish tin-mining was declining.’
      • ‘It continued to do so for a long time even though many diggers preferred to sell their gold in Adelaide or Melbourne where it commanded a higher price.’
      • ‘Apart from the hundreds of claims pegged out by individual diggers, there were several claims being worked in earnest by companies.’
      • ‘First colonised, this place was home to the miners, diggers and low tech engineers that made up the colonisation crews, see?’
      • ‘By 1888 he had created an effective monopoly through his company, which displaced smaller companies as well as white and black diggers.’
      • ‘Later his teams carried desperately needed supplies for the starving diggers at Milparinka.’
      • ‘After they had delivered the gold they would sit on the grass and hand over any letters they might have had from the diggers.’
      • ‘Among the various carry-ons under discussion were on-screen trenches not meeting health and safety requirements and diggers being advised by programme makers to get agents.’
      • ‘It was a barren grassland dotted with farms but soon grew into a shanty town surrounded by mine dumps as the diggers went deeper and deeper.’
      • ‘He remembers the clay flats being mined, the diggers shovelling up clay into the oxcarts, the beasts relishing the mud.’
      • ‘He watched the excited diggers, who wanted to be diggers no more, climb atop great piles of coal, a new kind of black gold, and wave to those they never even bothered to exchange names with as the wagon train pulled out of camp.’
      • ‘As many of the returned diggers were in a generous mood, it enabled him to finish his chapel at Sevenhill in 1856.’
    2. 1.2 A person who excavates archaeological sites.
      • ‘He also announced on the same occasion that a new mass grave had been found and that it contained 500 bodies, although diggers at the site claimed to have found only two bodies.’
      • ‘By then the volunteer team of diggers, guides, museum attendants and receptionists had formed into the Nonsuch and Ewell Antiquarian Society.’
      • ‘And I turned round to the other diggers and said, Right who's going to excavate this?’
      • ‘Turned down, as it only really applies to land-based diggers, was ‘a bent’ of archaeologists.’
      • ‘Streamed videos from our interactive TV coverage (eg interviews with diggers and a look behind the scenes in the control room) and highlights from the shows will also be in view.’
      • ‘There are a number of diggers and excavators on site.’
      • ‘As an aside to its fundraising campaign, the Sussex Archaeological Society is inviting the 1960s diggers to a reunion on 22 May - all 800 of them.’
      • ‘The first thing he did was hire a digger and spent a day or so excavating the foundations.’
      • ‘Were the diggers moved by these poignant finds to hold their own ceremonies?’
      • ‘In the early stages of a housing development in the village of Bleadon (near Weston Super Mare), diggers unearthed several ancient circular burial pits.’
      • ‘It is all there, gathered where everyone from project manager to diggers can consult at will.’
      • ‘The publication reported last month how diggers excavating the site near Pocklington unearthed fragments of a human skeleton which almost certainly dated back to Roman times.’
      • ‘As well as the picture of the Maori warrior, the diggers have also uncovered a rua, which is a large bowl-shaped underground storage structure.’
      • ‘Summer schools could be used to offer practical experience on sites looking for inexperienced diggers.’
      • ‘I read with interest the letter on problems for inexperienced diggers.’
  • 2A member of a group of radical dissenters formed in England in 1649 as an offshoot of the Levellers, believing in a form of agrarian communism in which common land would be made available to the poor.

    • ‘Most notorious were the Diggers, who advocated the abolition of private property and an end to government.’
    • ‘The Levellers and Diggers had already been under keen scrutiny before and during the Second World War, but they received fresh and more critical attention.’
    • ‘Today, the most egregious Roundheads are to be found in New Labour; but that does not mean that the Liberal Democrats have abandoned their heritage as Diggers, Levellers and Fifth Monarchy Men.’
    • ‘Indeed he is not so far from the more radical Diggers in advocating that the poor should be allowed to dig up common land and that the rich should not be allowed to engross more land than they can use.’
    • ‘Groups such as the Diggers and the Levellers believed that after the execution of Charles I, a biblical monarchy was nigh and that Jesus would be the king.’
    • ‘Many people hoped that this would be the end of tyranny, the beginning of an era of freedom and justice. Several groups, like the Levellers and the Diggers, realised that this wasn't happening.’
    • ‘One set consists of our socialist predecessors - that is, those who looked towards collectivist solutions which were unachievable in their own time, like the Diggers in England or the Conspiracy of Equals in France.’
    • ‘We learn how the ideas of the Ranters, Levellers and the Diggers filtered into the common-sense of this labouring class.’
    • ‘Using a mixture of readings and commentary, he ranges from More's Utopia through the English Civil War period with its Levellers, Ranters and Diggers.’
    • ‘He would clearly have marched with the Diggers and the Levellers, almost as much the enemies of Cromwell's authoritarianism as of Charles' belief in the divine right of kings.’
    • ‘The Diggers put their beliefs into practice by manuring fields and sowing crops on wastelands in Surrey until they were driven away by local landowners.’
    • ‘His chosen forebears were Diggers and Ranters and Fifth-Monarchy Men.’
    • ‘It was their principle, however, to preserve property, and not ‘level men's estates’; here they differed from the self-styled True Levellers, or Diggers.’
  • 3NZ Australian informal A man, especially a private soldier (often used as a friendly form of address)

    ‘how are you, Digger?’
    • ‘Three diggers were among the 450 runners that started the race at 6am to avoid the 40C heat that is common towards the middle of the day.’
    • ‘The courage shown by the young Australian diggers, airmen and sailors should be remembered and respected.’
    • ‘If they introduce it, it will have to be across the board, it can't be just targeted at the diggers.’
    • ‘When faced with the common question of what a digger does after the war, he is blunt and to the point - ‘I did every-bloody-thing’.’
    • ‘I expect that the traditional qualities of the Australian digger, resolve, strength and compassion, will sustain us in the testing days to come.’
    • ‘‘Either we're not paying these diggers enough or we are bankrolling the most gullible army in the world.’’
    • ‘The ability of the Australian digger to think for himself and improvise is something that lots of other armies just don't have.’
    • ‘If a person does not wish to be interviewed that is there absolute right, and there are several thousand dead diggers from several wars who died for that right to exist.’
    • ‘Then, as they approached the docks, the diggers stared in awe at the remains of the once-mighty Imperial Japanese Navy.’
    • ‘As we stood above the huge ravine I could not even imagine how our diggers survived in such a place.’
    • ‘The low humming from the engine of our landing craft was just audible over the chatter of the diggers she carried.’
    • ‘Can the diggers observe and engage targets in relative safety?’
    • ‘‘I also spoke to two diggers who had been captured by the Germans, and they gave me an insight into the event itself and the ethos they felt,’ he said.’
    • ‘Why is it that a soldier may be charged for not shaving daily, but is rarely asked by a commander ‘Did you brush you teeth today, digger?’’
    • ‘The warm welcome was also extended to helping the Australians get their terminal operations functioning, which allowed the diggers to swing straight into action.’
    • ‘Being a deployed ‘combat Q-ie’ means you're a well liked bloke when things are good, but not having enough stores and equipment to provide to the diggers can soon change that.’
    • ‘Their willingness to lend a hand and to help a mate typifies the spirit of the Aussie digger and the ethos of the Australian Army.’
    • ‘These diggers are keen, and while they might not get to do this as much as the ARA sappers, they showed they want to learn and improve their skills.’
    • ‘The raid by guards on the stockade set up by diggers in the Victorian goldfields only lasted an hour.’
    • ‘He guided the young diggers and carried the unit's name very close to his heart.’
    private soldier, common soldier
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