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[dig-er] /ˈdɪg ər/
a person or an animal that digs.
a tool, part of a machine, etc., for digging.
(initial capital letter) Disparaging.. Also called Digger Indian. a member of any of several Indian peoples of western North America, especially of a tribe that dug roots for food.
an Australian or New Zealand soldier of World War I.
(initial capital letter) English History. a member of a group that advocated the abolition of private property and began in 1649 to cultivate certain common lands.
Slang. a person hired by a scalper to buy tickets to a show or performance for resale by the scalper at inflated prices.
Origin of digger
late Middle English
late Middle English word dating back to 1400-50; See origin at dig1, -er1
Usage note
White settlers in the latter half of the 19th century used the term Digger to refer especially to the Ute, Paiute, or Western Shoshone, who foraged and dug in the ground for edible wild plants. The term implies that these Indians were considered to be primitive and animal-like. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for digger
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • You see, digger is worth a great deal more alive than dead, because of the great number of destructive Rodents he kills.

  • digger the Badger is just as much a cousin of yours as is Shadow the Weasel.

  • Hiram Edwards, the Yankee digger, had seen him there, and other miners.

    Nevermore Rolf Boldrewood
  • Chesterton's method in writing it is that of the digger wasp.

  • Dodd's had it in for digger Foss and the Selden boys and some more of 'em for a year.

    The Heritage of the Hills Arthur P. Hankins
  • In other words, diggers swarmed to the spot, with no idea of law but digger's law.

    A Simpleton Charles Reade
  • The digger Indians were the next tribe east of them; they were probably the lowest grade.

  • The digger shook his head, and uttered some unintelligible words.

    The Golden Dream R.M. Ballantyne
  • One digger gripped him around the waist, and another seized his woolly poll and shook him.

    Tom Gerrard Louis Becke
British Dictionary definitions for digger


a person, animal, or machine that digs
a miner, esp one who digs for gold
a tool or part of a machine used for excavation, esp a mechanical digger fitted with a head for digging trenches


(sometimes not capital) (archaic, slang)
  1. an Australian or New Zealander, esp a soldier: often used as a term of address
  2. (as modifier): a Digger accent
one of a number of tribes of America whose diet was largely composed of roots dug out of the ground
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 digger

mid-15c., "one who digs," agent noun from dig (v.). The communistic movement in England so called from 1649.

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



  1. An Australian or New Zealander (WWI Australian and New Zealand)
  2. gold-digger: She was just a plain digger (1920+)
  3. A pickpocket (1930s+)
  4. A person who buys tickets to be sold at prices higher than is legally permitted; scalper: They use diggers, dozens of guys who stand in lines and buy the maximum (1970s+)
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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