dig in


1 [dig]
verb (used without object), dug or (Archaic) digged, digging.
to break up, turn over, or remove earth, sand, etc., as with a shovel, spade, bulldozer, or claw; make an excavation.
to make one's way or work by or as by removing or turning over material: to dig through the files.
verb (used with object), dug or (Archaic) digged, digging.
to break up, turn over, or loosen (earth, sand, etc.), as with a shovel, spade, or bulldozer (often followed by up ).
to form or excavate (a hole, tunnel, etc.) by removing material.
to unearth, obtain, or remove by digging (often followed by up or out ).
to find or discover by effort or search.
to poke, thrust, or force (usually followed by in or into ): He dug his heel into the ground.
thrust; poke: He gave me a dig in the ribs with his elbow.
a cutting, sarcastic remark.
an archaeological site undergoing excavation.
digs, Informal. living quarters; lodgings.
Verb phrases
dig in,
to dig trenches, as in order to defend a position in battle.
to maintain one's opinion or position.
to start eating.
dig into, Informal. to attack, work, or apply oneself voraciously, vigorously, or energetically: to dig into one's work; to dig into a meal.
dig out,
to remove earth or debris from by digging.
to hollow out by digging.
to find by searching: to dig out facts for a term paper.
dig up,
to discover in the course of digging.
to locate; find: to dig up information.

1275–1325; Middle English diggen, perhaps representing an OE derivative of dīc ditch; Middle French diguer to dig (< Middle Dutch) is attested later and apparently not the immediate source

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
dig (dɪɡ)
vb (when tr, often foll by up) , digs, digging, dug
1.  to cut into, break up, and turn over or remove (earth, soil, etc), esp with a spade
2.  to form or excavate (a hole, tunnel, passage, etc) by digging, usually with an implement or (of animals) with feet, claws, etc: to dig a tunnel
3.  (often foll by through) to make or force (one's way), esp by removing obstructions: he dug his way through the crowd
4.  (tr; often foll by out or up) to obtain by digging: to dig potatoes; to dig up treasure
5.  (tr; often foll by out or up) to find or discover by effort or searching: to dig out unexpected facts
6.  (tr; foll by in or into) to thrust or jab (a sharp instrument, weapon, etc); poke: he dug his spurs into the horse's side
7.  (tr; foll by in or into) to mix (compost, etc) with soil by digging
8.  informal (tr) to like, understand, or appreciate
9.  slang (US) (intr) to work hard, esp for an examination
10.  informal (Brit) (intr) to have lodgings: I dig in South London
11.  the act of digging
12.  a thrust or poke, esp in the ribs
13.  a cutting or sarcastic remark
14.  informal an archaeological excavation
[C13 diggen, of uncertain origin]

Dig (dɪɡ)
informal (NZ) short for Digger

dig in
1.  military to create (a defensive position) by digging foxholes, trenches, etc
2.  informal to entrench (oneself) firmly
3.  informal (intr) to defend or maintain a position firmly, as in an argument
4.  informal (intr) to begin vigorously to eat: don't wait, just dig in
5.  informal dig one's heels in to refuse stubbornly to move or be persuaded

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

early 14c. (diggen), of uncertain origin, probably related to dike and ditch, either via O.Fr. diguer (ult. from a Gmc. source), or directly from an unrecorded O.E. word. Native words were deolfan, grafan (medial -f- pronounced as "v" in O.E.). Meaning "thrust or poke" (as with an elbow) is from 1819;
figurative sense of this is from 1840. Slang sense of "understand" first recorded 1934 in Black English, probably based on the notion of "excavate." A slightly varied sense of "appreciate" emerged 1939. Noun meaning "archaeological expedition" is from 1896. Related: Digging.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

dig in

  1. Excavate trenches to defend oneself in battle and hold one's position, as in The battalion dug in and held on. This usage gained currency in the trench warfare of World War I. [Mid-1800s]

  2. Also, dig in one's heels. Adopt a firm position, be obstinate and unyielding. For example, Arthur refused to argue the point and simply dug in, or The dog dug in its heels and refused to move. [Colloquial; late 1800s]

  3. Begin to work intensively, as in If we all dig in it'll be done before dark. [Colloquial; second half of 1800s]

  4. Also, dig into. Begin to eat heartily, as in Even before all the food was on the table they began to dig in, or When the bell rang, the kids all dug into their lunches. [Colloquial; early 1900s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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