See more synonyms for ditch on Thesaurus.com
  1. a long, narrow excavation made in the ground by digging, as for draining or irrigating land; trench.
  2. any open passage or trench, as a natural channel or waterway.
verb (used with object)
  1. to dig a ditch or ditches in or around.
  2. to derail (a train) or drive or force (an automobile, bus, etc.) into a ditch.
  3. to crash-land on water and abandon (an airplane).
  4. Slang.
    1. to get rid of: I ditched that old hat of yours.
    2. to escape from: He ditched the cops by driving down an alley.
    3. to absent oneself from (school or a class) without permission or an acceptable reason.
verb (used without object)
  1. to dig a ditch.
  2. (of an aircraft or its crew) to crash-land in water and abandon the sinking aircraft.
  3. Slang. to be truant; play hooky.

Origin of ditch

before 900; 1940–45 for def 5, 1885–90 for def 6, 1955–60 for def 9; Middle English dich, Old English dīc; cognate with German Teich. See dike1
Related formsditch·less, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for ditch

Contemporary Examples of ditch

Historical Examples of ditch

  • His mind had been so preoccupied that he had forgotten about the ditch.

  • I went racing, but a half mile north I skidded into the ditch.


    Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius

  • Good Indian took one long step over the ditch, and went on steadily.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

  • Upon which he bid the postillion alight, and look into the ditch.

    Joseph Andrews Vol. 1

    Henry Fielding

  • How many times I used to have bets with my cousins that I would jump that ditch!

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

British Dictionary definitions for ditch


  1. a narrow channel dug in the earth, usually used for drainage, irrigation, or as a boundary marker
  2. any small, natural waterway
  3. Irish a bank made of earth excavated from and placed alongside a drain or stream
  4. informal either of the gutters at the side of a tenpin bowling lane
  5. last ditch a last resort or place of last defence
  1. to make a ditch or ditches in (a piece of ground)
  2. (intr) to edge with a ditch
  3. informal to crash or be crashed, esp deliberately, as to avoid more unpleasant circumstanceshe had to ditch the car
  4. (tr) slang to abandon or discardto ditch a girlfriend
  5. informal to land (an aircraft) on water in an emergency
  6. (tr) US slang to evadeto ditch the police
Derived Formsditcher, nounditchless, adjective

Word Origin for ditch

Old English dīc; related to Old Saxon dīk, Old Norse dīki, Middle High German tīch dyke, pond, Latin fīgere to stick, see dyke 1


noun NZ
  1. the Ditch an informal name for the Tasman Sea
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 ditch

Old English dic "ditch, dike," a variant of dike (q.v.). Last ditch (1715) refers to the last line of military defenses.


late 14c., "surround with a ditch; dig a ditch;" from ditch (n.). Meaning "to throw into a ditch" is from 1816, hence sense of "abandon, discard," first recorded 1899 in American English. Of aircraft, by 1941. Related: Ditched; ditching.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with ditch


see last-ditch effort.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.