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dig someone or something up
Fig. to go to great effort to find someone or something. (There is an implication that the thing or person dug up is not the most desirable, but is all that could be found.) Mary dug a date up for the dance next Friday. I dug up a recipe for roast pork with pineapple. I dug up a carpenter who doesn't charge very much.
dig up something
to find something, esp. from storage We dug up the old dairy records that showed how much milk each cow produced every day.
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of dig something up (to remove something from the ground, esp. with a tool)
1. Search out, find, obtain, as in I'm sure I can dig up a few more supporters. [Mid-1800s]
2. dig up some dirt or the dirt . Find derogatory information about someone or something. For example, The editor assigned him to dig up all the dirt on the candidates. The slangy use of the noun dirt for "embarrassing or scandalous information" dates from about 1840, but this metaphoric expression is a century newer.
1. To unearth or expose and gain access to something by digging: The scientists dug up a dinosaur fossil. The landscapers dug the tree up and replanted it.
2. To scatter earth, snow, or another substance on some surface by digging into it: The woodchucks dug up my lawn last night.
3. To discover or find something through concerted effort: I dug up some old photos that were in the back of my closet. The detective intended to dig the truth up.