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in the U.S.
since 1880
Last Name
in the U.S.
in 2010
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How to Pronounce Dig

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Meaning and Origin

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Origin and Meaning of Dig

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Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
verb Dig
  1. To turn up, or delve in, (earth) with a spade or a hoe; to open, loosen, or break up (the soil) with a spade, or other sharp instrument; to pierce, open, or loosen, as if with a spade."Be first to dig the ground." [Dryden.]
  2. To get by digging; as, to dig potatoes, or gold.
  3. To hollow out, as a well; to form, as a ditch, by removing earth; to excavate; as, to dig a ditch or a well.
  4. To thrust; to poke.(Colloq)"You should have seen children . . . dig and push their mothers under the sides, saying thus to them: Look, mother, how great a lubber doth yet wear pearls." [Robynson (More's Utopia).]
  5. To like; enjoy; admire.The whole class digs Pearl Jam.(Colloq)

Etymology: OE. diggen, perh. the same word as diken dichensee Dike Ditch); cf. Dan. dige to dig, dige a ditch; or (?) akin to E. 1st dag. √67

verb Dig
  1. To work with a spade or other like implement; to do servile work; to delve." Dig for it more than for hid treasures." [Job iii. 21.]"I can not dig; to beg I am ashamed." [Luke xvi. 3.]
  2. [Mining] To take ore from its bed, in distinction from making excavations in search of ore.
  3. To work hard or drudge;specif.(U. S.)To study ploddingly and laboriously.(Colloq)"Peter dug at his books all the harder." [Paul L. Ford.]
  4. [Mach] Of a tool: To cut deeply into the work because ill set, held at a wrong angle, or the like, as when a lathe tool is set too low and so sprung into the work.
verb dig
  1. To understand; as, do you dig me?.(slang)
  2. To notice; to look at; as, dig that crazy hat!.(slang)
  3. To appreciate and enjoy; as, he digs classical music as well as rock.(slang)
noun Dig
  1. A thrust; a punch; a poke; as, a dig in the side or the ribs. See Dig (v. t.), 4.(Colloq)
  2. A plodding and laborious student.(Cant, U.S)
  3. A tool for digging.(Dial. Eng)
  4. An act of digging.
  5. An amount to be dug.
  6. [Mining] same as Gouge.
  7. a critical and sometimes sarcastic or insulting remark, but often good-humored; as, celebrities at a roast must suffer through countless digs .
  8. An archeological excavation site.
Other Dictionary Sources
  1. The act of touching someone suddenly with your finger or elbow ("she gave me a sharp dig in the ribs")
  2. The act of digging
  3. A small gouge (as in the cover of a book) ("the book was in good condition except for a dig in the back cover")
  4. An aggressive remark directed at a person like a missile and intended to have a telling effect ("she takes a dig at me every chance she gets")
  5. The site of an archeological exploration ("they set up camp next to the dig")
  6. Get the meaning of something
  7. Poke or thrust abruptly
  8. Turn up, loosen, or remove earth ("Dig we must")
  9. Remove the inner part or the core of
  10. Create by digging ("dig a hole" and "dig out a channel")
  11. Thrust down or into ("dig the oars into the water" and "dig your foot into the floor")
  12. Remove, harvest, or recover by digging ("dig salt" and "dig coal")
  13. Work hard ("She was digging away at her math homework")

From Middle English diggen (“to dig”), alteration (possibly due to Danish dige) of Old English dīcian (“to dig a ditch, to mound up earth”) (compare Old English dīcere (“digger”)) from dīc, dīċ (“dike, ditch”) from Proto-Germanic *dīkaz, *dīkiją (“pool, puddle”), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰīgʷ-, *dʰeygʷ- (“to stab, dig”). Additionally, Middle English diggen may derive from an unrecorded suffixed variant, *dīcgian. Akin to Danish dige (“to dig, raise a dike”), Swedish dika (“to dig ditches”). Related to Middle French diguer (“to dig”), from Old French dikier, itself a borrowing of the same Germanic root (from Middle Dutch dijc). More at ditch, dike.

  1. An archeological investigation.
  2. (US, colloquial, dated) A plodding and laborious student.
  3. A thrust; a poke.
    He guffawed and gave me a in the ribs after telling his latest joke.
  4. (Britain, dialect, dated) A tool for digging.
  5. (volleyball) A defensive pass of the ball that has been attacked by the opposing team

From African American Vernacular English; due to lack of writing of slave speech, etymology is difficult to trace, but it has been suggested that it is from Wolof dëgg, dëgga (“to understand, to appreciate”). It has also been suggested that it is from Irish dtuig. Others do not propose a distinct etymology, instead considering this a semantic shift of the existing English term (compare dig in/dig into).

    dig was also found in the following language(s): Danish, Lojban, and Swedish

    Notable Persons Named Dig

    Dig Richards was a rock, roll, and country music musician, television presenter, musical theatre actor, and musical theatre. He plays Guitar and Vocals. He was most prominent from 1957 to 1983. Dig was given the name Digby George Richards on September 12th, 1940 in Dunedoo, New South Wales, Australia. Dig is also known as Richards and Digby George. He passed away on February 17th, 1983.


    Fun Facts about the name Dig

    • When was the first name Dig first recorded in the United States? The oldest recorded birth by the Social Security Administration for the name Dig is Friday, August 28th, 1891.
    • How unique is the name Dig? From 1880 to 2017 less than 5 people per year have been born with the first name Dig. Hoorah! You are a unique individual.
    • Weird things about the name Dig: Your name in reverse order is Gid. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Gdi. How do you pronounce that?

    What Digs Have Visited This Page?

    Past life for Dig born Oct 27, 1923

    I do not know how you feel about it, but you were a female in your last earthly incarnation. You were born somewhere around the territory of Southern Japan approximately on 1600. Your profession was builder of roads, bridges, and docks.

    You were a person with huge energy, good in planning and supervising. If you were just a garbage-man, you were chief garbage-man. You are bound to learn to understand other people and to meet all life difficulties with joyful heart. You should help others, bringing them spirit of joy.

    Name poster for Dig

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    • Sources:
    • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
    • 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary via the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (License)
    • Other Dictionary Sources: WordNet 3.1 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University (License).
    • Wiktionary: Titles and License.
    • Notable persons via Wikipedia: Titles and License. Click each image for the attribution information.