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digger

[dig-er]
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noun
  1. a person or an animal that digs.
  2. a tool, part of a machine, etc., for digging.
  3. (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.
  4. an Australian or New Zealand soldier of World War I.
  5. (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.
  6. 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 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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for diggers

Historical Examples

  • For too many of the diggers, though they work like horses, spend like asses.

    A Boy's Voyage Round the World

    The Son of Samuel Smiles

  • I was tolerably successful with the diggers working at their claims.

    A Boy's Voyage Round the World

    The Son of Samuel Smiles

  • Shovels are furnished by the diggers themselves in Chicago, Ill.

    Concrete Construction

    Halbert P. Gillette

  • In other words, diggers swarmed to the spot, with no idea of law but digger's law.

    A Simpleton

    Charles Reade

  • I was witness, too, of an encounter between two large parties of diggers.


British Dictionary definitions for diggers

Diggers

pl n
  1. the Diggers a radical English Puritan group, led by Gerrard Winstanley, which advocated communal ownership of land (1649–50)

digger

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

Digger

noun
  1. (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
  2. 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

Word Origin and History for diggers

digger

n.

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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