Definition of dig in English:

dig

verb

  • 1[no 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’
    • ‘The most recent piece of legislation in this area was the Telegraph Act of 1863 which had loose restrictions on digging up roads.’
    • ‘Gardeners digging up their borders for spring bulb planting are being urged to do their bit to help rescue the much-loved British bluebell.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘This had to be completed before any more capital works as the roads would simply have had to be dug up again,’ she said.’
    • ‘But the surrounding land is being dug up by general contractors working for the employers' agents.’
    • ‘The army ground that players used was dug up and replaced by a canal.’
    • ‘But others complain that foxes are digging up their gardens, fouling their lawns, attacking their pets and ripping open their garbage bags.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Workmen digging up a front garden got a fright when they discovered an unexploded Second World War bomb.’
    • ‘They have given up work and are digging up their gardens.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The roads, which had been dug up have become slushy.’
    • ‘The ground should be dug over to loosen the earth.’
    • ‘The ground has been dug up all over to put up tents and huge screens for the programme starting Friday.’
    • ‘But the pigs are really great: they're extremely friendly creatures and love digging up the rough land.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When your bulbs arrive, or you buy them from the garden center, gather everyone together, hand out garden tools and start digging.’
    cultivate, till, harrow, plough, turn over, work, break up, spade
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[with object] Make (a hole, grave, etc.) by breaking up and moving earth.
      ‘he took a spade and dug a hole’
      ‘the newly dug grave’
      • ‘For even though the mother turtle carefully and craftily dug a hole, laid the eggs and then patted the sand down, they were found.’
      • ‘They were forced to dig a hole in the grave to bury the statue.’
      • ‘Here though, in the local graveyard, the sweat and the labour of the man who digs the grave seem even closer to the eternal.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I was digging holes and calling them earthworks.’
      • ‘Also use a spade anytime you want to dig a straight-sided hole.’
      • ‘At one action project, participants dug holes to place signs at a new park.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I've got other members of the family digging the graves.’
      • ‘Then they dug the hole wider so that they could pull the statue out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He went out and bought a spade and began digging a grave.’
      • ‘Around 40,000 holes are dug each year in London's roads alone.’
      • ‘In the underground cable-digging system, 2-3 holes are dug for every kilometre.’
      • ‘She watched anxiously out her daughter's bedroom window as Jack dug a three-foot hole in the backyard.’
      • ‘I grabbed a spade and frantically dug a hole in the garden, hoping like hell my flatmate wouldn't turn up during the process.’
      excavate, dig out, quarry, hollow out, scoop out, gouge out, cut, bore, tunnel, burrow, mine, channel
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2[with object] Extract from the ground by breaking up and moving earth.
      ‘they dug up fossils of an animal about the size of a turkey’
      • ‘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).’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The flute was dug up in a cave in the Swabian mountains in south-western Germany, and pieced back together again from 31 fragments.’
      • ‘His best known line was that archaeologists dig up people not things.’
      • ‘The site preparation work has commenced which entails digging up and levelling some 40 million cubic metres of earth.’
      • ‘The bones of legendary outlaw Robin Hood may have been dug up in the mid-18th Century, according to a history buff.’
      • ‘I will put a stone plaque over the place where we have reburied them so they are never dug up again.’
      • ‘It's also worthwhile surrounding your pots and trays with netting (or prickly holly clippings) to prevent these rodents digging up the seeds.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Some flower thieves were fined just last month for digging up 300 quid's worth from a Norfolk garden.’
      • ‘Is it still there, waiting to be dug up like buried treasure?’
      • ‘The dogs from next door often burrow under the fence and into my garden digging up plants.’
      • ‘‘I've even had treasure in my court and coins which were found when a graveyard was being dug up,’ he said.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In fact archaeologists dig up things not people; and that's the whole point.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      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 making a trench or similar ground defense.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So they dug in and trench warfare lasted for the next 3 years.’
      • ‘Rather than give up the territory which they already held, the Germans dug in to protect themselves from the guns of the advancing Allies.’
      • ‘He says about 15,000 soldiers are dug in, ready to defend the city.’
      • ‘Today the soldiers are dug in behind sandbags and pickup trucks with mounted machine guns patrol the streets.’
      • ‘US intelligence estimates there are about 3,000 insurgents dug in behind defences and booby traps in the city of about 300,000 people.’
      • ‘Being in the studio is about digging in the trenches, rediscovering music and peeling off the layers to find out what it all means.’
      • ‘In an attack map, success depends on a quick strike into the enemy defences before they become too dug 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.’
      • ‘They began to dig in while First Brigade moved in behind as reserve.’
      • ‘Exhausted by their previous encounters, both armies dug in for battles that were precursors to the trench warfare of World War I.’
      • ‘Everywhere she looked, Sara saw soldiers hard at work, mostly digging in.’
      • ‘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.’
    4. 1.4dig ininformal [in imperative] Used to encourage someone to start eating with gusto and have as much as they want.
      ‘put the sausage on top of the polenta; then dig in’
      • ‘Go on, now, fill up your plate and dig in.’
      • ‘My mom said: ‘grab a plate and dig in.’’
      • ‘Scoop it out onto a plate and dig in.’
      • ‘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.’
    5. 1.5dig something in/into[with object] Push or poke something in or into.
      ‘he dug his hands into his pockets’
      • ‘I dug my hands in further, pushing, cursing at the stupidity.’
      • ‘He dug his hands deeper into his pockets and pushed his house keys into his palm between the thumb and his finger.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The hand on her shoulder tightened, each digit digging sharply into her skin.’
      • ‘He dug his hands into his pockets, pushed himself off the wall.’
      • ‘I huffed to myself, and dug my spoon back into the ice cream, and shoved an even larger than before scoop into my mouth.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Ignoring the pain, Matt dug his hands into the floor and shards, pushing himself upward and sprinting after the assassin.’
      • ‘Ryan pushed his hands deeper into his pocket, digging his nails in his palms to assure himself he was awake.’
      • ‘He pushed my foot hard, and I screamed, digging my fingernails into his arm.’
      • ‘She dug her fork in and shoved it in her mouth, not looking at what it was, and not caring.’
      • ‘As you push the weight back up, dig your shoulders into the bench and keep your glutes on it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Taking off her headphones, she shoved her cd player in her purse and dug her hands into the pocket of her black hoodie.’
      • ‘I dug my heels in, leaned forward, and shoved off with my legs at the same time I pushed out hard with my arms.’
      • ‘He dug his feet in to gain his balance and pushed his rear-end up first.’
      • ‘She sat still for a few seconds as Gabby dug a sharply edged eyeliner pencil into her top eyelid.’
      • ‘I dug my fingers into his side, poking him between his ribs.’
      poke, prod, jab, stab, shove, ram, push, thrust, drive, nudge
      View synonyms
    6. 1.6[with object] Excavate (an archaeological site)
      ‘apart from digging a site, recording evidence is important’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The experts moved on to the site on Monday last week and began digging in search of any historical remains.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It may seem, from our news pages, that British archaeologists are digging an endless supply of good sites.’
      • ‘No convincing pyre sites were found, possibly because of the way the site was dug.’
      • ‘Archaeologists digging in Jerusalem uncovered a piece of pottery inscribed with the name Goliath.’
      • ‘Just digging the site was an achievement in itself, he says.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Hundreds of such bottles were recovered from a site being dug for construction of a Guest House for the Bangalore District Police.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Close attention had to be paid to stratification while digging, and his excavation assistants had to be properly trained.’
      • ‘Two double pit alignments were dug, one east of the northern henge, the other west of the southern.’
    7. 1.7dig something out[with object] Bring out something that is hidden or has been stored for a long time.
      ‘they dug out last year's notes’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Eventually, his research team dug up the English translation and the original story in Chinese and figured out what was going on.’
      • ‘Let me dig out a pen.’
      • ‘I could dig out old journals and search but that's an activity fraught with danger.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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?’
      uncover, unearth, dredge up, root out, hunt out, ferret out, nose out, sniff out, track down, extricate, turn up, come across, discover, detect, reveal, bring to light, bring into the open, expose
      View synonyms
    8. 1.8dig intoinformal Find money from (somewhere)
      ‘members have to dig deep into their pockets’
      • ‘Dig into your pockets as deeply as you can and give.’
      • ‘By the way, here's my birthday wish, if you felt like digging into your pockets today.’
      • ‘Find out just how deep you'll have to dig into your pockets if you want to buy a new house.’
      • ‘The Medicare trustees now say the system will have to start digging into its trust fund now.’
      • ‘Well, how deeply would you dig into your pocket for the legacy of one of the most beloved composers of all time.’
      • ‘We dug into the finances of football, and especially football in the Scottish SecondDivision.’
      • ‘They get carried away by the apparent bargains and dig deep into their pockets.’
      • ‘What method encourages you to dig into your pockets?’
    9. 1.9 Search or rummage in a specified place.
      ‘Catherine dug into her handbag and produced her card’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She dug through her backpack, desperately searching for the water pouch she knew she had with her.’
      • ‘I dug around in it, searching for my CDs, but I couldn't find them.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So here we are, digging through my closet in search of something blue.’
      • ‘Two minutes later, she dug into the back of her closet and pulled out a large backpack.’
      • ‘After deciding that all signs of the injury were well hidden she began digging through the closet yet again in search of a shirt.’
      • ‘It does the search of the search engines for you, digging through ten search engines to generate your results.’
      • ‘Emily dug through the drawer, quickly searching for a black sock.’
      • ‘He saw the look but merely knelt and dug into his pack, pulling out what looked to be a very sharp knife.’
      • ‘He dug around for a few seconds in search of his cell-phone, but eventually gave up.’
      • ‘They dug through their handbags for suitable implements to rescue them.’
      • ‘Barry dug through his pockets in search of the message.’
      • ‘Unzipping the bag, she dug through the contents until she found what she was searching for.’
      • ‘I dug through my pockets, searching frantically for it, and I hadn't lost it.’
      • ‘Again she said his name not expecting an answer, as she dug though his clothes and searched the room.’
      • ‘Jason dug into one of the pouches on his belt and took out a small camera and began to take pictures.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I dug into the case and flipped out a photo and the printed letter that went with it.’
      • ‘She steeled herself for a long trip, dug into her bag, pulled out a datapad and began to read.’
    10. 1.10 Engage in research; conduct an investigation.
      ‘a professional digging for information’
      ‘he had no compunction about digging into her private affairs’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Like most stores of its kind, you have to search and dig to find a steal.’
      • ‘If the investigator didn't dig hard enough and fast enough, the whole issue would collapse as the walls caved in on him.’
      • ‘But it's a debate worth engaging in - especially today as marketers dig deeper into what drives consumer behavior.’
      • ‘However, it always pays to dig deeper into a company's background before you invest to be aware of any inherent risks.’
      • ‘As investigators started digging the family member that he was living with lied to them about him staying there.’
      • ‘With a natural talent for research, the Scorpio child wants to dig to the bottom of everything.’
      • ‘It is when actions do not fit the character that the investigator starts to dig a little harder.’
      • ‘But investigators are determined to dig until they find the answer.’
      • ‘To reach its conclusions, the investigative committee had to do a bit of digging.’
      • ‘You have the qualification to be a top investigator or researcher as you doggedly dig out the facts of whatever matter you are pursuing.’
      • ‘Journalists should dig deeper when researchers claim a treatment is effective, said the doctor.’
      • ‘Celebrities are easy, but on a slow week the researchers have to dig, and they often find gold.’
      • ‘As host, his job was to conduct an interesting conversation rather than dig for historical footnotes.’
      • ‘It implores the police to have a third eye when investigating such cases by digging deeper and bringing the culprits to book.’
      • ‘The program allows participants to dig deeper and engage in more robust conversations than in programs where attendees hail from different fields.’
      • ‘Any researcher who has dug hard to find ‘the truth’ knows that it is rarely found in the media.’
      • ‘His fingers went down to the keyboard and began to fly over it as he started to dig deeper and investigate it some more.’
      • ‘The researchers kept digging and uncovered one of the most complete skeletons ever found from this time period, the middle Miocene epoch.’
      • ‘It is a challenge to historians of American economic development to dig more deeply and more broadly in future research.’
      delve, probe, search, enquire, look
      View synonyms
    11. 1.11dig something up/out[with object] Discover information after a search or investigation.
      ‘have you dug up any information on the captain?’
      • ‘Investigators can be hired to try to dig up information about jurors, their political affiliations, where they live, what their hobbies and interests are.’
      • ‘He was the investigator of the group and could dig out facts others did not have the patience to find.’
      • ‘The time had been spent going over the information that the research team had managed to dig up, and comparing that with what Sam and Mark already knew.’
      • ‘Why do you need to dig up more information?’
      • ‘And while you may have forgotten about something you have written -- a potential employer may dig up something juicy to throw you off in an interview.’
      • ‘His investigation digs up a number of dirty little secrets, as he attempts to get to the bottom of the things.’
      • ‘It took four years and several separate trips to the heart of darkness to dig up enough research to support this theory.’
      • ‘By ‘research’ I only meant that you had dug the information up, not that you were the author.’
      • ‘They called on their own, dug this out through investigative journalism.’
      • ‘This allows investors to search out users with similar investment strategies, and to dig up more information about them and their stocks before a trade.’
  • 2informal [with object] Like, appreciate, or understand.

    ‘I really dig heavy rock’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Some melodies may be too bland for those who dig their rock with more pop.’
    • ‘Don't even start on how there are some chicks who dig them.’
    • ‘Like I said in a previous review, I totally dig these 60s influenced garage rock bands.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Chicks definitely dig dudes who are able to interact with society in a non-violent manner.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘What if someday Canadians decide they don't dig what the US is up to?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘At the same time, there was a girl named Natacat in Chicoutimi who dug garage rock.’

noun

  • 1[in singular] An act or spell of digging.

    ‘a thorough dig of the whole plot’
    • ‘He said the parents of the two boys had expressed relief at the ending of the dig, which began on Monday.’
    • ‘It is a time for a drive in the country, a dig in the garden, a football game or a family dinner.’
    • ‘The resources required for a digging project need to be appropriate to the specific circumstances 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Added to this is the £20,000 cost of delays because of the dig.’
    • ‘The first dig of Lot B1 was made on Wednesday, as part of the project to improve and expand the airport.’
    • ‘We still have to decide if we are doing the big dig next year to improve the drainage around the house.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1 An archaeological excavation.
      • ‘But a spokeswoman for the company said it was happy, regardless, to let the dig continue until its natural conclusion.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The artefacts unearthed have intrigued university experts so much that they hope to continue the dig next year.’
      • ‘The training dig, which will last until September 5, is on the site of the mediaeval hospital of St Leonard's.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But time is running out for the dig which is scheduled to finish by February 14 when developers move on to the site…’
      • ‘That was when one of the archaeologists who was part of the dig stepped forward.’
      • ‘During a new dig, he has now discovered a rare Viking buckle with a ‘wonderful runic design’ dating back to the 10th century.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Do you think I could look around the dig for a while?’
      • ‘A better project hypothesis would have been to uncover and analyze the findings of the dig, period.’
      • ‘Three other artifacts found in the dig initially seemed at odds with a trash pit scenario.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When an archaeological dig takes place, the position of each ‘find’ is carefully recorded on a plan of the area.’
      • ‘The dig has uncovered the remains of a hut circle and unearthed lots of pottery, including Roman samianware and 17th century German ballamineware.’
      • ‘The same dig also uncovered a silver decorated Roman cavalry helmet, the only one ever found in England.’
      • ‘This week the dig finished and the remains, some dating back as far as the sixth century, are in Preston awaiting analysis.’
      • ‘About 700 trainees have worked at the four-year dig, and 65,000 visitors have come to watch the work in progress.’
      • ‘About 100 volunteers, both young and old, attended the two-week dig.’
  • 2A push or poke with one's elbow, finger, etc.

    ‘Ginnie gave her sister a dig in the ribs’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A dig in the ribs from my puritanical brother told me when I was going too far.’
    • ‘Scott spluttered, earning himself a sharp dig in the ribs from Josh.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All three took the digs, the elbows, the studs-up tackles and the raking down the shins and moved on.’
    • ‘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.’
    poke, prod, jab, stab, shove, push, nudge, elbow
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1informal A remark intended to mock or criticize.
      ‘this was a cruel dig at Jenny’
      • ‘It was a nasty dig about a girl's looks when she starts to spout unpopular opinions.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The show also takes a dig at current Anglo-American relations.’
      • ‘While criticising communal parties, he had a dig at the Congress, saying that people know the aims and objectives of communal forces.’
      • ‘He made a pointed dig at France, Germany and Belgium.’
      • ‘I'm allowing you unregulated access to take digs at me and my opinions.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There is, finally, the standard dig at political-correctness.’
      • ‘Was he also taking a sly dig at the Canadian pretense that we don't engage in American dreaming?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Unintentionally or not, it even takes a dig at humans.’
      • ‘He followed that with a dig at ‘damaging media coverage that is already so badly affecting our overseas markets and day visitors’.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Most hilarious moments came when poets took a dig at politicians.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘What's more, he is pretty sly in getting in his dig at Christianity for its highly unlikely belief in the virgin birth.’
      snide remark, cutting remark, jibe, jeer, taunt, sneer, insult, barb, slur, slight, affront, insinuation
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Phrases

  • dig up dirt

    • informal Discover and reveal damaging information about someone.

      • ‘When it started to dig up dirt on the Liberals, it was quickly put to silence.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Well, it turns out that he's actually an FBI agent who's working on digging up dirt about me.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘Is this the press in Whitewater mode, determined to dig up dirt about long-ago presidential business dealings?’
      • ‘‘Unless someone digs up dirt on him, it's a pretty clean confirmation,’ says one observer.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘People are always trying to dig up dirt, but there's really nothing to hide - we have a very good, friendly relationship.’
      • ‘Others have dug up dirt on management, sometimes pointing to tax evasion or bogus financial statements.’
  • dig oneself into a hole (or dig a hole for oneself)

    • Get oneself into an awkward or restrictive situation.

      • ‘We Texans have a saying: ‘When you find you've dug yourself into a hole, the very first thing to do is quit digging.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But the Princess continues to dig herself into a hole.’
      • ‘If you push yourself too much all at once, you will end up digging yourself into a hole.’
      • ‘And the more a government has dug itself into a hole, the more it believes that everyone is out to get it.’
      • ‘I think he wanted to stop me before I dug myself into a hole.’
      • ‘Daddy, you're digging a hole for yourself by not telling her the truth.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You've already dug a hole for yourself, a nasty part of my mind stated.’
  • dig in one's heels

    • Resist stubbornly; refuse to give in.

      ‘he has dug in his heels and refuses to leave’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The prison administration and the Ontario Ministry for Public Safety and Security dug in their heels.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘People will have to dig in their heels and grit their teeth.’
      • ‘Both sides have dug in their heels and are in a waiting game to see who blinks first.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Or you could dig in your heels and stubbornly fight against life, trying to defeat it, like the fallen tree.’
      • ‘The players should dig in their heels and withdraw their services if these new regulations are applied.’
      • ‘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.’
      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

/diɡ/