"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[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) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for digging
  • If you're digging a large bed, consider using a power-driven rototiller.
  • People often ask me how to keep pets from chewing on leaves or digging in the dirt of houseplants.
  • The pointed end of a digging bar works well for this, he says.
  • They have done a great job of digging holes for their dust baths.
  • Gold, or placer digging as it was called, was at its height.
  • So he found his father alone in the terraced vineyard, digging about a plant.
  • She loved to see them hoisting, digging, sawing and stone cutting.
  • It was digging below the questions of the day to the eternal, unquestioned, proven truths of human experience.
  • Once you have the names of the people who will be interviewing you, do some digging.
  • The process does not include digging up past allegations of criminal behavior.
British Dictionary definitions for digging


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 digging



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 digging


Related Terms

easy digging


  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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