Definition of digest in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Break down (food) in the alimentary canal into substances that can be absorbed and used by the body.

    • ‘Fiber is the part of plant foods that your body doesn't digest and absorb.’
    • ‘If you schedule your eating, then your body is likely to digest food more efficiently, and use energy derived from the foods better.’
    • ‘Two hours after digesting this rabbit food, I had to prick myself to monitor my blood sugar to see how my body had absorbed what, by my standards, could hardly be called a decent lunch.’
    • ‘Consequently, those animals which have a hot stomach easily digest their food.’
    • ‘Man's body was designed to digest raw food, since we eat mostly cooked or processed meals, our store of enzymes is being depleted.’
    • ‘Until he has a transplant he is only allowed to consume fruit juices and other simple liquids because his intestines cannot digest food.’
    • ‘It also produces pancreatic juice, which is needed to digest food.’
    • ‘Your body digests food best when you relax, so eat slowly and make an effort to use your entire lunch break.’
    • ‘He is obviously unaware that when he was born he was a ‘herbivore’, because his stomach was unable to digest meat.’
    • ‘Because of the stress of the burn injury, stomach activity decreases and the patient is unable to digest food or fluid.’
    • ‘The body is too busy digesting food and cannot slow down enough for a person to really feel drowsy.’
    • ‘In the pancreas, thick mucus blocks the channels that would normally carry important enzymes to the intestines to digest foods.’
    • ‘Unlike other food components such as fats, proteins or carbohydrates - which your body breaks down and absorbs - fiber isn't digested by your body.’
    • ‘The thickened digestive fluids made by the pancreas are prevented from reaching the small intestine, where they are needed to digest food.’
    • ‘According to this hypothesis, the body digests food more efficiently when there is some time between meals of mostly starches and meals of mostly protein.’
    • ‘They produce saliva, which drains into the mouth and helps to break up and digest food.’
    • ‘Their stomachs can't digest other foods properly until this age.’
    • ‘Every morsel of food we eat has to be broken down into nutrients that can be absorbed by the body, which is why it takes hours to fully digest food.’
    • ‘To digest foods, fungi excrete enzymes into the environment to break down complex carbon compounds.’
    • ‘In terms of the western view of digestion, food is digested in the stomach and passed on to the small intestines where the nutrients in the food are absorbed and distributed to all tissues and cells of the body through the blood circulation.’
    break down, dissolve, assimilate, absorb, take in, take up
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    1. 1.1 Understand or assimilate (new information or the significance of something) by a period of reflection.
      • ‘How bad the damage will be depends on European traders' abilities to digest the information coming out of the USA.’
      • ‘Today's trading update lacks the detail to fully digest the implications of the company's decline in sales.’
      • ‘Overall, his analysis of each type is systematic, detailed, and easy to digest.’
      • ‘If you don't fit yet (you will as soon as you have been living together for 3 years), then you have some time to digest this information.’
      • ‘And with every response young minds click and whirr, evaluating and digesting the information.’
      • ‘This of course creates the vicious circle where we are so used to understanding our past through stories that we can digest information only when it is has been turned into a story.’
      • ‘I merely offer the opportunity for readers of this weblog to digest the information provided by the respected French newspaper.’
      • ‘He stood up triumphantly as I digested the information.’
      • ‘That way, we reasoned, people would have their close colleagues at hand and would still have enough personal space to digest the information.’
      • ‘Analysts said investors were also digesting the US $350 billion tax cut bill the US Congress approved Friday.’
      • ‘Undergraduates also had more difficulty digesting the class materials that address the theoretical perspectives for understanding fatherhood.’
      • ‘Rick shook his head slowly, evidently finding it hard to digest this information.’
      • ‘My eyes widened while I digested the new information slowly.’
      • ‘We take a moment to digest this information, to reconcile the image of a gangster with this quiet, personable man.’
      • ‘Looking at the floor, he silently digested the information I had given him before concluding that my narrative was inaccurate.’
      • ‘However, the US dollar recovered its losses after the market had digested the information.’
      • ‘Elaine had a bit of trouble digesting this information.’
      • ‘A pause is in order here to let you assess and digest that comment from a man who doesn't seem to be given to pronouncements of fancy.’
      • ‘Professionals need to be able to digest information in a certain way, so while the internet gave us the growth in information what we hear them to say is help me understand what is important.’
      • ‘He was still digesting all she mentioned and continued looking at the sketch.’
      assimilate, absorb, take in, understand, comprehend, grasp, master, learn, familiarize oneself with
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    2. 1.2 Arrange (something) in a systematic or convenient order, especially by reduction.
      ‘the computer digested your labors into a form understandable by a program’
      • ‘Along with his National Security Advisor he should be consolidating intelligence from all sources and digesting it in order to make the correct decisions.’
      • ‘User A’s machine digests the data into a simple string of code after user A’s software has encrypted the message digest with his private key.’
      • ‘Sensors will provide real time information about the status of the crop and computer software and data fusion techniques will help to digest the data into management decisions.’
      • ‘They are also where we collate, catalogue, index and digest the sources of our and other systems of law.’
      • ‘We all know burned-out activists who have turned angry over the years as they see their finest efforts come to naught or, at best, only slowly digested by the system.’
      • ‘The group will eventually digest the data into reports, which will serve as irrefutable evidence in the court of public opinion.’
      • ‘Our customer teams digest how their purchasing systems work and do their best to get aligned with each customer's priorities.’
      • ‘But for the most part, I digested the techniques and systematized them in my own way in Argentina.’
      classify, catalogue, tabulate, codify, arrange, order, dispose, systematize, methodize
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    3. 1.3Chemistry Treat (a substance) with heat, enzymes, or a solvent in order to decompose it or extract essential components.
      • ‘That protein enzymes can digest proteins raises the important question of how enzymes are regulated.’
      • ‘It seems that Japanese researchers have inserted a gene from the human liver into rice to enable it to digest pesticides and industrial chemicals.’
      • ‘Aliquot of the plant material was digested with nitric sulphate.’
      • ‘Proteins were digested with proteinase K and precipitated with SDS.’
      • ‘In the meanwhile the fruit will become literally putrefied in the strong enzymes and extra time it takes to digest the protein.’


  • 1A compilation or summary of material or information.

    ‘a digest of their findings’
    • ‘Young people accustomed to taking information off screens particularly like the back page digest which directs them to the pages they want.’
    • ‘I decided yesterday to put all 4 related pieces together on my site in order to have an easily retrievable digest of the info.’
    • ‘What follows is a digest of their discoveries, amplified by material and opinions of my own.’
    • ‘It has about as much literary appeal as the annual digest of the Central Statistical Office.’
    • ‘This digest offers some collected wisdom regarding considerations and strategies for selecting and retaining teacher mentors.’
    • ‘When it's your job to produce a digest inside three hours for your boss, doing it at home too (not that, given the time, I'm actually at home!) seems a bit of a drag.’
    • ‘Today's digest has been prepared with care and diligence to avoid exposing my PC to any vires that these e-mails may have carried.’
    • ‘Read your digest well as some of the topics will always come from there.’
    • ‘He kept meticulous records of his expenditure in Africa and reading the six-page digest shows just what a herculean task remains to be faced.’
    • ‘The site also functions as a digest for U.S. embassy telephone numbers and information on the location of various United Nations missions.’
    • ‘What's more, they can publicly post a digest of favorites for others to admire and learn from, or choose from preselected - and ad-friendly - digests of the most popular blogs.’
    • ‘Few people will read them in full, so for most people their main sources of information are executive summaries, digests, and press reports.’
    • ‘Both of these sources are aggregation services: they gather together high quality links and references into a handy digest.’
    • ‘This digest discusses the types of data that schools should collect and the ways to use the information effectively in decision making to enhance equity.’
    • ‘So many have sprung up that one can only tend to a narrow selection or a digest of highlights.’
    • ‘There's still work to be done to make both the digests a bit more useful and I'd like to have several digests of my own.’
    • ‘The digest recommends a number of strategies that have been successfully used in early childhood programs and in schools.’
    • ‘A digest of the information is provided on separate pages, along with the profession of the head of the family, and the residential telephone number.’
    • ‘Here's a digest, in reverse chronological order, of some of the big stories I missed while on vacation during the last two weeks.’
    • ‘Readers should note that the dates of records in this digest are given when known, but that they are covering dates which do not necessarily indicate the presence of records for all intervening years.’
    list, chart, diagram, figure, graph, plan
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    1. 1.1 A periodical consisting of condensed versions of pieces of writing or news published elsewhere.
      • ‘Music is entertainment, music digests should be entertaining too.’
      • ‘This digest reviews some of the recent literature about adult female students at community colleges.’
      • ‘The news digest has a section in it called ‘Boring But Important’.’
      • ‘It's a morning digest of California political news, with a bit of attitude thrown in.’
      • ‘You'll be able to see this new series of articles in our lunchtime e-mail, with some articles appearing in the weekly digest.’
      • ‘They also produced a number of highly regarded publications which served as weekly digests that were used throughout the government.’
      • ‘Music videos, advertisements, and literary digests, as well as fast food, computer games, and activities within simulators, all aim for similar packages of condensed stimuli.’
      • ‘It offers a weekly digest of the best postings on their discussion forums, finance news and stock market movements.’
      • ‘Would you rather receive our daily news digest in your in-box each morning?’
      • ‘In 1991 in the Directory of Electronic Journals and Newsletters, there were about 30 electronic journals and over 60 newsletters and digests published over the Internet.’
      • ‘The pithy news digest is a must-read for America's movers and shakers’
      • ‘The email sign-up box in the left column of this page is where you enter your email address to receive our soon-to-be-launched weekly digest.’
      • ‘In 1758 he began to edit the newly-established Annual Register, a yearly digest of politics, history, and the arts.’
      journal, publication, magazine, newspaper, paper, review, gazette, newsletter, organ, serial, annual, quarterly, monthly, bimonthly, fortnightly, weekly, biweekly
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    2. 1.2 A methodical summary of a body of laws.
      • ‘For all retention decisions based on a legal requirement, the documentation should show a brief digest of the law, together with its citation.’
      • ‘Your Honours will see the second-last paragraph of what I might conveniently refer to as the digest.’
      • ‘The wealth of charts, chronologies, and digests of laws and regulations (including more than a page of initials and what they stand for) will be useful to activists and interested citizens.’
      • ‘We have included the digest of the law provided by the Indiana general assembly.’
      • ‘The largest ever digest of Irish High Court and Supreme Court judgements will be launched by the Chief Justice this week.’
      • ‘A projected digest of the law of contract (which would have been much fuller than the Indian Code) fell through for want of time.’
      summary, synopsis, abstract, precis, résumé, outline, sketch, rundown, quick rundown, round-up, abridgement, summation, review, compendium
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    3. 1.3 The compendium of Roman law compiled in the reign of Justinian.
  • 2Chemistry
    A substance or mixture obtained by digestion.

    ‘a digest of cloned DNA’
    • ‘After incubating the cells for one hour with soluble or lysate digests; calcium, iron, or zinc standards; or pure buffer, the researchers lysed the cells and measured mineral levels using atomic absorption spectroscopy.’
    • ‘Lung digests were obtained as previously described.’
    • ‘Phosphate in the digests and in culture solutions was measured spectrophotometrically using the molybdate and malachite green method described earlier.’
    • ‘The digest was fractionated overnight on an agarose gel as described above.’
    • ‘A number of clones from each digest were isolated.’


Late Middle English: from Latin digest- ‘distributed, dissolved, digested’, from the verb digerere, from di- ‘apart’ + gerere ‘carry’; the noun from Latin digesta ‘matters methodically arranged’, from digestus ‘divided’, from digerere.