Definition of ditch in English:



  • A narrow channel dug at the side of a road or field, to hold or carry away water.

    ‘their car went out of control and plunged into a ditch’
    • ‘He even has a water-filled ditch built around the altar.’
    • ‘Consider a complex obstacle consisting of wire, minefields, and antitank ditches.’
    • ‘We found six species in a single small ditch beside the road to Bull Pond.’
    • ‘And as soon as those ditches were filled, more were dug.’
    • ‘He dived into the weeds and rolled into the ditch filled with ice-cold water.’
    • ‘Then you discover that the process has all the glamour of digging a ditch.’
    • ‘I jumped out and fell into a deep ditch by the side of the road.’
    • ‘Next, we came across a wide canal or antitank ditch that was filled with water.’
    • ‘There are extensive anti-tank ditches, all in good order.’
    • ‘But as he was about to climb up the muddy ditch, another water tree fell on him.’
    • ‘In the medieval period there was a wide ditch in front crossed by a drawbridge.’
    • ‘The vehicle hit a ditch and turned over on the driver's side.’
    • ‘The trails cross irrigation ditches, and one eventually winds through rainforest to more open fields.’
    • ‘We hit a ditch and in about ten or 15 minutes all was quite.’
    • ‘Around 2,000 years old, it was also discovered by ditch diggers in north-east Scotland in 1816.’
    • ‘And there was no drainage ditch on the side.’
    • ‘Most rural roadways are best suited to collect water in ditches on each side.’
    • ‘Just to complicate matters a little more there is a deep ditch running from corner to corner in the field.’
    • ‘In one town, invading militiamen had filled an irrigation ditch with concrete.’
    • ‘Why did Isabel Gonzalez carry flowers to a roadside ditch for more than 50 years?’
    trench, trough, channel, dyke, drain, gutter, gully, moat, duct, watercourse, conduit
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  • 1Provide with a ditch or ditches.

    ‘he was praised for ditching the coastal areas’
    dig a ditch in, provide with ditches, trench, excavate, drain
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    1. 1.1[no object]Make or repair ditches.
      ‘they would have to pay for hedging and ditching’
      • ‘His father worked for the nearby farms, doing ditching and draining, while his mother was an auxiliary nurse.’
      • ‘I remember all the crafts they used to do: hedging, ditching - that's all gone now.’
  • 2informal Get rid of or give up.

    ‘plans for the road were ditched following a public inquiry’
    • ‘Rules and procedures exist but, one soon realises, these are mere guidelines, to be used when helpful, and ditched when not.’
    • ‘But the second she opened the door, I ditched all my misgivings.’
    • ‘Sal wakes him up to ditch the car and has trouble sleeping himself.’
    • ‘But it bothers my head that my heart is so casual about ditching long and deeply held principles.’
    • ‘Alternatively, the psychometric tests could be ditched altogether.’
    • ‘However, to gain credibility with supporters he is ditching - or at least modifying - some of his pro-European views.’
    • ‘Still, good to see they're still around, and back in the medical uniforms they briefly ditched.’
    • ‘This would mean ditching all the stuff I've recorded and collected on quaint videotape, but it has to happen.’
    • ‘However, some traditional but gender-specific Gaelic words have been ditched in favour of English borrowings.’
    • ‘The other remedy, of course, is to ditch all home PCs - go on, just throw them out in the street and get rid of them.’
    • ‘The electro-car would be used for several hours and then ditched within specified downtown limits.’
    • ‘We ditched all the debris overboard and the chippies welded a piece of steel over the hole so we could carry on.’
    • ‘Jake ditched his bike at the clearing's edge and ran to the hut.’
    • ‘Are Kiwis following the US trend towards ditching their landline in favour of wireless connectivity?’
    • ‘We ditched the bikes and our bags and started to walk the perimeter.’
    • ‘None of my fellow smokers and ex-smokers can believe I still feel pangs of nostalgia for the habit I finally ditched in March after 25 years, on and off.’
    • ‘More of them have broadband connections and a much larger percentage have ditched their landlines for mobile phones.’
    • ‘Reaching middle age is a good time for a mental clear-out, ditching all this depressing clutter.’
    • ‘An interactive experiment gets ditched in its original form.’
    • ‘Together they ditched £155,000 of shares as the company's stock continued to hover around its highest level for three years.’
    throw out, throw away, discard, get rid of, dispose of, do away with, shed
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    1. 2.1End a relationship with (someone) peremptorily.
      ‘she ditched her husband to marry the window cleaner’
      • ‘Shanti's daughter, Raji, had a philandering husband who ditched her and took up with Kala.’
      • ‘Jen just completely ditched Ryan, which really was messed up of her.’
      • ‘She had been married for 25 years when her husband ditched her.’
      • ‘How could she just completely ditch me, and for the one person who at that time truly hated me.’
      • ‘She ditched her husband in the Sin City, as part of a life-changing de-cluttering exercise in the early nineties.’
      • ‘My best friend of many years finally ditched her louse of a husband.’
      • ‘Fred, however, is down in the dumps because Virginia has ditched him for a Texas millionaire.’
      • ‘She knew Andy wouldn't just sleep with her and then ditch her.’
      • ‘You need some breathing room, but you don't want to totally ditch Lindsay.’
      • ‘And what about her emotional strain upon being ditched?’
      • ‘A few months ago, he was poised to quit the game after being ditched cruelly at the end of last season by Glasgow.’
      • ‘The speed at which other employers are ditching gold-plated occupational schemes and cutting their contributions is causing great dismay.’
      • ‘If it feels like your girl is ditching you for the guy, relax.’
      • ‘He asked Sklar out, she accepted and, before long, she ditched her new husband and ran off with the comedian.’
      • ‘Go along with it and then ditch him as soon as possible.’
      • ‘Anyway, I had some people telling me to ditch the girl, others telling me to forgive and forget.’
      • ‘The trick is to ensure that the words you speak when you ditch her reveal your true personality at last.’
      • ‘If that means ditching a few people and making new friends than that's what she'll do.’
      • ‘Nobody's doubting Baxter's sincerity, but if he ditched even some of the throwaway lite rockers, he'd be a far edgier and ultimately more appealing prospect.’
      • ‘I mean come on you can't just ditch us because you moved across the country.’
      break up with, jilt, cast aside, throw over, finish with
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    2. 2.2North American Play truant from (school)
      ‘maybe she could ditch school and run away’
      • ‘I have never skipped school or ditched it unless I was sick.’
      • ‘At 15, Ed ditched school to go to L.A. and see the Red Hot Chili Peppers with Jason Lee, Ann, and Deanna.’
      • ‘On my way to school I thought of multiple possibilities to ditch classes today.’
      • ‘But it was well past noon; he had gotten out from school and ditched his last class to come early.’
      • ‘I was supposed to meet a friend, but she ditched.’
      • ‘I ditched seminar because he would expect to sit by me and I can't reject him without him asking me what's wrong.’
      • ‘Did they ditch class, or did their teachers declare an impromptu holiday?’
      • ‘Some claimed to have ditched their high school or middle school to be on Berkeley's campus to show their opposition to the war.’
      • ‘As your brother and your best friend, I ask you to ditch school today and go somewhere… anywhere as long as it's not school.’
      • ‘It continues to be a difficult temptation to ditch church and watch all the Sunday morning political shows, but I resisted today.’
      • ‘She ditched school and forgot the twins, all things her mother would find out.’
      • ‘If you want to ditch school and come over to hang out with me, they why should I stop you?’
      • ‘I really hate it when people ditch me without even a phone call.’
      • ‘"My friends ditched me, " answered Brice, coming level with us and grinning.’
      • ‘At that very moment I remembered I had totally ditched therapy.’
      • ‘Steve was at work and my mother was sleeping, so I could ditch school today.’
      • ‘Plus, I had the thankful job to tell her that her friends had ditched her.’
      • ‘On top of everything else, she was now ditching school.’
      • ‘What happened to regular teenage girls if they ditched school?’
      • ‘Sometimes I took classes that would be easy to pass so it wouldn't matter if I ditched.’
      stay away from school, not go to school, be absent, truant
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  • 3Bring (an aircraft) down on water in an emergency.

    ‘he was picked up by a gunboat after ditching his plane in the Mediterranean’
    • ‘Deterioration of the hydraulic system could have resulted in us ditching the aircraft, just not so soon.’
    • ‘Someone must have bailed out and ditched their flying machine over the water.’
    • ‘Membership is available only to aviators who have ditched into the sea, and survived.’
    • ‘A light aircraft pilot was said to be lucky to be alive tonight after ditching his plane in the Irish Sea.’
    • ‘Then reports of a massive cyclone start coming in; the boats are trapped at sea, the pilots are forced to ditch the plane in the drink.’
    • ‘Mr Burke said he believed the pilot deliberately ditched in the river - but left it late to avoid hitting villages on either bank.’
    • ‘Yes, you can bail out of the aircraft or you can ditch the aircraft in the ocean or you can land.’
    • ‘He could see the blood on my face and thought it might be necessary for me to ditch my plane.’
    • ‘The pilot ditched his aircraft in the lagoon surrounding the islands.’
    • ‘I was concerned that I was either going to have to ditch the aircraft or would have controllability problems on deck.’
    • ‘At this point, the crew realized we might have to bail out or ditch the aircraft.’
    • ‘He cannot make it over that last ridge to ditch in the sea.’
    • ‘The outer panels of the wing were sealed to help the aircraft to float in case it had to be ditched in the sea.’
    • ‘The remaining engines subsequently lost power, and the captain ditched the airplane into the bay.’
    • ‘Last August, Fossett set a solo balloonist duration record, flying for 12 days, 12 hours and 57 minutes before ditching on a cattle ranch in Brazil.’
    • ‘Why didn't the pilot just head out to sea and ditch the plane so the Chinese wouldn't have gotten a chance to capture it?’
    • ‘Given the choice of landing in unfriendly Syria or ditching, he was forced to make a cutter landing at night, and he hasn't forgotten.’
    1. 3.1[no object](of an aircraft) make a forced landing on water.
      ‘the aircraft was obliged to ditch in the sea off the North African coast’
      • ‘All the time there were aircraft ditching in the sea.’
      • ‘When it lost control it ditched into the water which will destroy all the electronics and gear inside the plane (security feature).’
      • ‘The aircraft had to ditch in the North Sea and all six crew members were able to scramble out and into a dinghy.’
      • ‘However, he had soon narrowed the search down to five aircraft ditched around Vis.’
      • ‘Some planes searched in vain; a lot of the fighters had to ditch as they simply ran out of fuel.’
      • ‘Geelong and Cessnock were also among the first units on scene when an RMAF Hawk aircraft ditched in the early phases of the exercise.’
      • ‘More than a dozen of its Faireys are reported as crashing or ditching into the sea, though none has yet been discovered in reasonable condition.’
      • ‘Of the 16 bombers that took off, 15 crashed or ditched at sea.’
      • ‘There was no distress call from the plane which circled the airport twice before ditching into the sea.’
      • ‘The flight turned into an Immediate disaster and had to ditch in icy waters.’
      • ‘The Tunisian airliner with 39 people on board was attempting an emergency landing before ditching into the sea, Italian officials said.’
      • ‘One of their missions was to fire illumination flares to aid commercial and military aircraft that were forced to ditch at sea.’
      • ‘My wingman aborted somewhere along the line, and I escorted a B- 17 to a successful ditching in the middle of the North Sea.’
      • ‘Three crew members returning from an attack on Genoa died after their aircraft was forced to ditch in the River Humber.’
      • ‘Unknown to our crew, the skipper had told the squadron our aircraft had ditched, and survivor status was unknown.’
      • ‘Peter and Helen Walsh were among the four on board that lost their lives when the plane ditched into the sea in thick fog.’
      • ‘The plane ditched 100m north of the rocks into a sea lashed by the gusting wind, and it took only seconds to sink.’
    2. 3.2US Derail (a train).
      • ‘In Halifax I ditched the train in the first little yard (was it called Rockington... something like that), by the Bedford Basin, and went for coffee.’
      • ‘Royal Mail controversially announced last June that it was ditching the trains, after 173 years, in favour of road and air transport.’


Old English dīc, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch dijk ditch, dyke and German Teich pond, pool, also to dyke.