9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[dig] /dɪg/
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,
  1. to dig trenches, as in order to defend a position in battle.
  2. to maintain one's opinion or position.
  3. 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,
  1. to remove earth or debris from by digging.
  2. to hollow out by digging.
  3. to find by searching:
    to dig out facts for a term paper.
dig up,
  1. to discover in the course of digging.
  2. to locate; find:
    to dig up information.
Origin of dig1
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


[dig] /dɪg/
verb (used with object), dug, digging. Slang.
to understand:
Can you dig what I'm saying?
to take notice of:
Dig those shoes he's wearing.
to like, love, or enjoy:
She digs that kind of music. We really dig each other.
1935-40; perhaps < Irish (an) dtuig(eann tú mé?) do you understand me? and parallel expressions with tuigim I understand (see twig2)


1. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for dig
  • If you want to actually understand the causes of the crisis, you have to dig into those complexities though.
  • The dig marks made by a predatory dinosaur, including a claw impression.
  • Knowing where fossils were found in the past might help them decide where to dig.
  • The colleges were forced to dig into their own pockets to support the students.
  • They can barely dig it out fast enough to meet demand.
  • Or alternatively, smaller males withdraw to a respectful distance and dig tunnels of their own.
  • So to sniff out the tunnels, law enforcement has decided to dig a few of its own.
  • These two conditions would allow him to survive the intense cold and the arduous dig out of his snow tomb.
  • Paleontologists will have to dig deeper to find out.
  • Carter talked him into bankrolling a final season, promising to pay the costs himself if the dig came up empty.
British Dictionary definitions for dig


verb digs, digging, dug
when tr, often foll by up. to cut into, break up, and turn over or remove (earth, soil, etc), esp with a spade
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
(often foll by through) to make or force (one's way), esp by removing obstructions: he dug his way through the crowd
(transitive; often foll by out or up) to obtain by digging: to dig potatoes, to dig up treasure
(transitive; often foll by out or up) to find or discover by effort or searching: to dig out unexpected facts
(transitive; foll by in or into) to thrust or jab (a sharp instrument, weapon, etc); poke: he dug his spurs into the horse's side
(transitive; foll by in or into) to mix (compost, etc) with soil by digging
(transitive) (informal) to like, understand, or appreciate
(intransitive) (US, slang) to work hard, esp for an examination
(intransitive) (Brit, informal) to have lodgings: I dig in South London
the act of digging
a thrust or poke, esp in the ribs
a cutting or sarcastic remark
(informal) an archaeological excavation
See also dig in, digs
Word Origin
C13 diggen, of uncertain origin


(NZ, informal) short for Digger (sense 1)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dig

early 14c. (diggen), of uncertain origin, perhaps related to dike and ditch, either via Old French diguer (ultimately from a Germanic source), or directly from an unrecorded Old English word. Native words were deolfan (see delve), grafan (see grave (v.)).

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. Strong past participle dug appeared 16c., but is not etymological. Related: Digging.


late 17c. as "a tool for digging," from dig (v.). Meaning "archaeological expedition" is from 1896. Meaning "thrust or poke" (as with an elbow) is from 1819; figurative sense of this is from 1840.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for dig


  1. A derogatory, irritating, or contemptuous comment: It wasn't quite an insult, more a dig (1840+)
  2. An archaeological excavation (1896+)
  1. To interrogate or inquire vigorously: She won't tell you, no matter how hard you dig (1940s+)
  2. To understand; comprehend: Nobody ain't pimping on me. You dig me? (1930s+ Black)
  3. o like; admire; prefer: Do you dig gazpacho and macho? (1930s+ Black)
  4. dig up
  5. To hear or see in performance; catch: dug a heavy sermon at Smoky Mary's last week (1930s+ Black)
Related Terms

take a dig at someone

[the cool senses, originally black, are probably related to the early 19th-century sense, ''study hard, strive to understand'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Related Abbreviations for dig


  1. digest
  2. digitalis
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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