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See more synonyms for delve on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object), delved, delv·ing.
  1. to carry on intensive and thorough research for data, information, or the like; investigate: to delve into the issue of prison reform.
  2. Archaic. to dig, as with a spade.
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verb (used with object), delved, delv·ing.
  1. Archaic. to dig; excavate.
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Origin of delve

before 900; Middle English delven, Old English delfan; cognate with Dutch delven, Old High German telban
Related formsdelv·er, nounun·delved, adjective


See more synonyms for delve on Thesaurus.com
1. research, inquire, probe, examine, explore.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for delve

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The latter, with little hesitation, allowed him to delve into official secrets.


    W. A. Fraser

  • Delve from the surface of your sphere to its heart, and at once your radius joins every other.

  • It is not necessary to delve deeply into the characters of these citizens of Forks.

    The Night Riders

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • The more you delve into the religions of the Americans the more anomalies you find.

  • I wanted to know, to question, to bruise, to delve into her heart.

    Crimes of Charity

    Konrad Bercovici

British Dictionary definitions for delve


verb (mainly intr; often foll by in or into)
  1. to inquire or research deeply or intensively (for information, etc)he delved in the Bible for quotations
  2. to search or rummage (in a drawer, the pockets, etc)
  3. (esp of an animal) to dig or burrow deeply (into the ground, etc)
  4. (also tr) archaic, or dialect to dig or turn up (earth, a garden, etc), as with a spade
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Derived Formsdelver, noun

Word Origin

Old English delfan; related to Old High German telban to dig, Russian dolbit to hollow out with a chisel
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 delve


Old English delfan "to dig" (class III strong verb; past tense dealf, past participle dolfen), common West Germanic verb (cf. Old Saxon delban, Dutch delven, Middle High German telben "to dig"), from PIE root *dhelbh- (cf. Lithuanian delba "crowbar," Russian dolbit', Czech dlabati, Polish dłubać "to chisel;" Russian dolotó, Czech dlato, Polish dłuto "chisel"). Weak inflections emerged 14c.-16c. Related: Delved; delving.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper