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’
    • ‘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 others complain that foxes are digging up their gardens, fouling their lawns, attacking their pets and ripping open their garbage bags.’
    • ‘‘This had to be completed before any more capital works as the roads would simply have had to be dug up again,’ she said.’
    • ‘The army ground that players used was dug up and replaced by a canal.’
    • ‘Gardeners digging up their borders for spring bulb planting are being urged to do their bit to help rescue the much-loved British bluebell.’
    • ‘But the surrounding land is being dug up by general contractors working for the employers' agents.’
    • ‘The most recent piece of legislation in this area was the Telegraph Act of 1863 which had loose restrictions on digging up roads.’
    • ‘Workmen digging up a front garden got a fright when they discovered an unexploded Second World War bomb.’
    • ‘When your bulbs arrive, or you buy them from the garden center, gather everyone together, hand out garden tools and start digging.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They have given up work and are digging up their gardens.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The ground has been dug up all over to put up tents and huge screens for the programme starting Friday.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The roads, which had been dug up have become slushy.’
    • ‘But the pigs are really great: they're extremely friendly creatures and love digging up the rough land.’
    • ‘The ground should be dug over to loosen the earth.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 was digging holes and calling them earthworks.’
      • ‘He went out and bought a spade and began digging a grave.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She watched anxiously out her daughter's bedroom window as Jack dug a three-foot hole in the backyard.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In the underground cable-digging system, 2-3 holes are dug for every kilometre.’
      • ‘Here though, in the local graveyard, the sweat and the labour of the man who digs the grave seem even closer to the eternal.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I've got other members of the family digging the graves.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Around 40,000 holes are dug each year in London's roads alone.’
      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.
      ‘they dug up fossils of an animal about the size of a turkey’
      • ‘I will put a stone plaque over the place where we have reburied them so they are never dug up again.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Some flower thieves were fined just last month for digging up 300 quid's worth from a Norfolk garden.’
      • ‘It's also worthwhile surrounding your pots and trays with netting (or prickly holly clippings) to prevent these rodents digging up the seeds.’
      • ‘Is it still there, waiting to be dug up like buried treasure?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His best known line was that archaeologists dig up people not things.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘I've even had treasure in my court and coins which were found when a graveyard was being dug up,’ he said.’
      • ‘The site preparation work has commenced which entails digging up and levelling some 40 million cubic metres of earth.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The flute was dug up in a cave in the Swabian mountains in south-western Germany, and pieced back together again from 31 fragments.’
      • ‘The bones of legendary outlaw Robin Hood may have been dug up in the mid-18th Century, according to a history buff.’
      • ‘In fact archaeologists dig up things not people; and that's the whole point.’
      • ‘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.’
      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.
      • ‘They began to dig in while First Brigade moved in behind as reserve.’
      • ‘So they dug in and trench warfare lasted for the next 3 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Exhausted by their previous encounters, both armies dug in for battles that were precursors to the trench warfare of World War I.’
      • ‘The English troops, mainly archers and foot soldiers, dug in behind wooden stakes between thickly wooded ground.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In an attack map, success depends on a quick strike into the enemy defences before they become too dug in.’
      • ‘US intelligence estimates there are about 3,000 insurgents dug in behind defences and booby traps in the city of about 300,000 people.’
      • ‘He says about 15,000 soldiers are dug in, ready to defend the city.’
      • ‘Everywhere she looked, Sara saw soldiers hard at work, mostly digging in.’
      • ‘Rather than give up the territory which they already held, the Germans dug in to protect themselves from the guns of the advancing Allies.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Today the soldiers are dug in behind sandbags and pickup trucks with mounted machine guns patrol the streets.’
    4. 1.4with object Excavate (an archaeological site)
      ‘apart from digging a site, recording evidence is important’
      • ‘Just digging the site was an achievement in itself, he says.’
      • ‘Two double pit alignments were dug, one east of the northern henge, the other west of the southern.’
      • ‘Hundreds of such bottles were recovered from a site being dug for construction of a Guest House for the Bangalore District Police.’
      • ‘No convincing pyre sites were found, possibly because of the way the site was dug.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Close attention had to be paid to stratification while digging, and his excavation assistants had to be properly trained.’
      • ‘Archaeologists digging in Jerusalem uncovered a piece of pottery inscribed with the name Goliath.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    5. 1.5dig 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’
      • ‘I sighed happily as I sat down and began to dig in.’
      • ‘After he had sat down and begun to eat Ella dug in.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Go on, now, fill up your 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.’
      • ‘Smoke wafts in pungent plumes but fans of his cuisine dig in with gusto, claiming that the food ‘makes men men’.’
      • ‘The food comes, and she digs 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.’
      • ‘His aunt and roommate conversed heartily on as they all began 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.’
      • ‘My mom said: ‘grab a plate and dig in.’’
      • ‘Then a cake of gelled fruits coated with sugar and cream was placed before Alexander, and he dug in heartily.’
      • ‘Despite my protests, I dug in heartily, taking a big bite of the savory food.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Scoop it out onto a plate and dig in.’
      • ‘Tommy picked up his spoon and began to dig in, too.’
  • 2with object Push or poke something in or into.

    ‘he dug his hands into his pockets’
    • ‘Taking off her headphones, she shoved her cd player in her purse and dug her hands into the pocket of her black hoodie.’
    • ‘Watching him go, I dug my elbow into Chase, pushing him away from me.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She sat still for a few seconds as Gabby dug a sharply edged eyeliner pencil into her top eyelid.’
    • ‘Ryan pushed his hands deeper into his pocket, digging his nails in his palms to assure himself he was awake.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As you push the weight back up, dig your shoulders into the bench and keep your glutes on it.’
    • ‘He dug his hands into his pockets, pushed himself off the wall.’
    • ‘He dug his feet in to gain his balance and pushed his rear-end up first.’
    • ‘I dug my fingers into his side, poking him between his ribs.’
    • ‘She dug her fork in and shoved it in her mouth, not looking at what it was, and not caring.’
    • ‘I huffed to myself, and dug my spoon back into the ice cream, and shoved an even larger than before scoop into my mouth.’
    • ‘He dug his hands deeper into his pockets and pushed his house keys into his palm between the thumb and his finger.’
    • ‘Ignoring the pain, Matt dug his hands into the floor and shards, pushing himself upward and sprinting after the assassin.’
    • ‘The hand on her shoulder tightened, each digit digging sharply into her skin.’
    • ‘I dug my hands in further, pushing, cursing at the stupidity.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Laying on her stomach, she dug her nails into the ice, pushing as best she could forward with her soaked stocking feet.’
    • ‘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 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. 2.1 Search or rummage in a specified place.
      ‘Catherine dug into her handbag and produced her card’
      • ‘So here we are, digging through my closet in search of something blue.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Unzipping the bag, she dug through the contents until she found what she was searching for.’
      • ‘He saw the look but merely knelt and dug into his pack, pulling out what looked to be a very sharp knife.’
      • ‘I dug into the case and flipped out a photo and the printed letter that went with it.’
      • ‘Again she said his name not expecting an answer, as she dug though his clothes and searched the room.’
      • ‘After deciding that all signs of the injury were well hidden she began digging through the closet yet again in search of a shirt.’
      • ‘She steeled herself for a long trip, dug into her bag, pulled out a datapad and began to read.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She dug through her backpack, desperately searching for the water pouch she knew she had with her.’
      • ‘Emily dug through the drawer, quickly searching for a black sock.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Barry dug through his pockets in search of the message.’
      • ‘I dug around in it, searching for my CDs, but I couldn't find them.’
      • ‘I dug through my pockets, searching frantically for it, and I hadn't lost it.’
      • ‘It does the search of the search engines for you, digging through ten search engines to generate your results.’
      • ‘Two minutes later, she dug into the back of her closet and pulled out a large backpack.’
      • ‘Jason dug into one of the pouches on his belt and took out a small camera and began to take pictures.’
    2. 2.2 Engage in research; conduct an investigation.
      ‘he had no compunction about digging into her private affairs’
      ‘a professional digging for information’
      • ‘If the investigator didn't dig hard enough and fast enough, the whole issue would collapse as the walls caved in on him.’
      • ‘With a natural talent for research, the Scorpio child wants to dig to the bottom of everything.’
      • ‘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 program allows participants to dig deeper and engage in more robust conversations than in programs where attendees hail from different fields.’
      • ‘It implores the police to have a third eye when investigating such cases by digging deeper and bringing the culprits to book.’
      • ‘Celebrities are easy, but on a slow week the researchers have to dig, and they often find gold.’
      • ‘But it's a debate worth engaging in - especially today as marketers dig deeper into what drives consumer behavior.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘To reach its conclusions, the investigative committee had to do a bit of digging.’
      • ‘Journalists should dig deeper when researchers claim a treatment is effective, said the doctor.’
      • ‘But investigators are determined to dig until they find the answer.’
      • ‘It is a challenge to historians of American economic development to dig more deeply and more broadly in future research.’
      • ‘As investigators started digging the family member that he was living with lied to them about him staying there.’
      • ‘You have the qualification to be a top investigator or researcher as you doggedly dig out the facts of whatever matter you are pursuing.’
      • ‘It is when actions do not fit the character that the investigator starts to dig a little harder.’
      • ‘Like most stores of its kind, you have to search and dig to find a steal.’
      • ‘Any researcher who has dug hard to find ‘the truth’ knows that it is rarely found in the media.’
      • ‘As host, his job was to conduct an interesting conversation rather than dig for historical footnotes.’
      • ‘The researchers kept digging and uncovered one of the most complete skeletons ever found from this time period, the middle Miocene epoch.’
      • ‘However, it always pays to dig deeper into a company's background before you invest to be aware of any inherent risks.’
      delve, probe, search, enquire, look
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3dig intoinformal Find money from (somewhere)
      ‘members have to dig deep into their pockets’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Well, how deeply would you dig into your pocket for the legacy of one of the most beloved composers of all time.’
      • ‘Dig into your pockets as deeply as you can and give.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘The Medicare trustees now say the system will have to start digging into its trust fund now.’
    4. 2.4dig 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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘Releasing my now trembling hand, she searched through her black purse, digging out a lighter and pack of cigarettes.’
      • ‘Let me dig out a pen.’
      • ‘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.’
      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.’
    • ‘Like I said in a previous review, I totally dig these 60s influenced garage rock bands.’
    • ‘What if someday Canadians decide they don't dig what the US is up to?’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Some melodies may be too bland for those who dig their rock with more pop.’
    • ‘At the same time, there was a girl named Natacat in Chicoutimi who dug garage rock.’
    • ‘"Anyone can go there and dig what I'm playing, I think, " he says.’
    • ‘Chicks definitely dig dudes who are able to interact with society in a non-violent manner.’
    • ‘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.’

noun

  • 1in singular An act or spell of digging.

    ‘a thorough dig of the whole plot’
    • ‘The resources required for a digging project need to be appropriate to the specific circumstances of the dig.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 first dig of Lot B1 was made on Wednesday, as part of the project to improve and expand the airport.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It is a time for a drive in the country, a dig in the garden, a football game or a family dinner.’
    • ‘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. 1.1 An archaeological excavation.
      • ‘When an archaeological dig takes place, the position of each ‘find’ is carefully recorded on a plan of the area.’
      • ‘Do you think I could look around the dig for a while?’
      • ‘The artefacts unearthed have intrigued university experts so much that they hope to continue the dig next year.’
      • ‘A better project hypothesis would have been to uncover and analyze the findings of the dig, period.’
      • ‘But time is running out for the dig which is scheduled to finish by February 14 when developers move on to the site…’
      • ‘During a new dig, he has now discovered a rare Viking buckle with a ‘wonderful runic design’ dating back to the 10th century.’
      • ‘The training dig, which will last until September 5, is on the site of the mediaeval hospital of St Leonard's.’
      • ‘But a spokeswoman for the company said it was happy, regardless, to let the dig continue until its natural conclusion.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘This week the dig finished and the remains, some dating back as far as the sixth century, are in Preston awaiting analysis.’
      • ‘Three other artifacts found in the dig initially seemed at odds with a trash pit scenario.’
      • ‘The same dig also uncovered a silver decorated Roman cavalry helmet, the only one ever found in England.’
      • ‘But as a result of the find, the dig has been widened to see if the land contains any more artefacts.’
      • ‘About 100 volunteers, both young and old, attended the two-week dig.’
      • ‘About 700 trainees have worked at the four-year dig, and 65,000 visitors have come to watch the work in progress.’
      • ‘The dig has uncovered the remains of a hut circle and unearthed lots of pottery, including Roman samianware and 17th century German ballamineware.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 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.’
    • ‘Martina - not even interrupting her conversation with Julie, but somehow aware of Mike's derogatory comments - digs her elbow into his side.’
    • ‘Scott spluttered, earning himself a sharp dig in the ribs from Josh.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All three took the digs, the elbows, the studs-up tackles and the raking down the shins and moved on.’
    • ‘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
    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.’
      • ‘I'm allowing you unregulated access to take digs at me and my opinions.’
      • ‘He made a pointed dig at France, Germany and Belgium.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘While criticising communal parties, he had a dig at the Congress, saying that people know the aims and objectives of communal forces.’
      • ‘Most hilarious moments came when poets took a dig at politicians.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Was he also taking a sly dig at the Canadian pretense that we don't engage in American dreaming?’
      • ‘It savages venal music industry poseurs and also takes a dig at the clash between ‘art’ and pop culture.’
      • ‘The show also takes a dig at current Anglo-American relations.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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’.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The Flemish version of the news item has a dig at Dutch cuisine, because they only got two 2-star restaurants.’
      • ‘What's more, he is pretty sly in getting in his dig at Christianity for its highly unlikely belief in the virgin birth.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      snide remark, cutting remark, jibe, jeer, taunt, sneer, insult, barb, slur, slight, affront, insinuation
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Phrases

  • dig in one's heels (or toes or feet)

    • Resist stubbornly; refuse to give in.

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

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

    • Get oneself into an awkward or restrictive situation.

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

Origin

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

Pronunciation

dig

/diɡ//dɪɡ/