One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
verb[NO OBJECT]NZ, Australian
1Rummage; search.‘he spent years fossicking through documents’
rummage, search about, scrabble around, feel around, grope around, forage around, fish about, fish around, poke about, poke around, scratch about, scratch around, delve, dig, huntView synonyms
- ‘Assuming that a web search is the same as fossicking through a newspaper archive is the biggest research mistake search-engine expert David Hawking ever made.’
- ‘Now you're obviously fossicking through plants for special substances to see if they're useful.’
- ‘In May, Lucky turned 75 and has just purchased a caravan in order to go fossicking for sapphires with his wife.’
- ‘Robyn, you have to understand that when we do find this, it is a war grave and we don't want to go fossicking through the ship.’
- ‘They are fossicking for books to satisfy a well defined need.’
- 1.1 Search for gold in abandoned workings.
search, scour, look around in, explore, sweep, probe, hunt through, look through, scrabble about in, scrabble around in, root about in, root around in, ferret in, ferret about in, ferret around in, rummage about in, rummage around in, rummage round in, rummage in, rummage through, forage through, fish about in, fish around in, poke about in, poke around in, dig in, grub about in, grub around in, delve in, go through, sift through, rake, rifle through, ransack, turn over, go through with a fine-tooth combView synonyms
- ‘The Indonesian police claim that those involved in the January 7 incident were not local people, but ‘illegal miners’ armed with spears and mining tools, who had come to Halmahera from Sulawesi and other islands to fossick for gold.’
- ‘But potential prospectors shouldn't take a pick and shovel - it's now illegal to fossick for gold in the Egmont National Park that embraces the Kaitakes.’
- ‘Before that they were aware that people were interested in going to the station to fossick for gold - but were unaware that changes to the mining act in the year 2000, gave fossickers automatic rights of entry to the property.’
Mid 19th century (referring to mining): probably from the English dialect sense ‘obtain by asking’ (i.e. ‘ferret out’).
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