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1. Literally, to overturn soil or a similar substance by digging. A noun or pronoun can be used between "dig" and "up." That darn groundhog has dug up my herb garden for the second year in a row.
2. To unearth or uproot something by digging. A noun or pronoun can be used between "dig" and "up." The dog keeps burying bones and digging them up.
3. To search for and find something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "dig" and "up." If you give me some time, I'm sure I can dig up the deed to the house.
4. To uncover negative information about someone or something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "dig" and "up." Once I contact my usual sources at the tabloids, I should be able to dig up some dirt on that actress.
5. slang Listen! Hey, the boss is talking—dig up!
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
Sl. Listen carefully! John: All right, you guys! Dig up! You're going to hear this one time and one time only! Bill: Dig up! I'm only going to say this once. Bob: What was that? Bill: I said listen!
See also: dig
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
exclam. Listen up!; Pay attention! Dig up, man! This is important.
See also: dig
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.