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Old English delfan "to dig" (class III strong verb; past tense dealf, past participle dolfen), common West Germanic verb (cf. Old Saxon delban, Dutch delven, Middle High German telben "to dig"), from PIE root *dhelbh- (cf. Lithuanian delba "crowbar," Russian dolbit', Czech dlabati, Polish dłubać "to chisel;" Russian dolotó, Czech dlato, Polish dłuto "chisel"). Weak inflections emerged 14c.-16c. Related: Delved; delving.