See more synonyms for dredge on Thesaurus.com
  1. Also called dredging machine. any of various powerful machines for dredging up or removing earth, as from the bottom of a river, by means of a scoop, a series of buckets, a suction pipe, or the like.
  2. a barge on which such a machine is mounted.
  3. a dragnet or other contrivance for gathering material or objects from the bottom of a river, bay, etc.
verb (used with object), dredged, dredg·ing.
  1. to clear out with a dredge; remove sand, silt, mud, etc., from the bottom of.
  2. to take, catch, or gather with a dredge; obtain or remove by a dredge.
verb (used without object), dredged, dredg·ing.
  1. to use a dredge.
Verb Phrases
  1. dredge up,
    1. to unearth or bring to notice: We dredged up some old toys from the bottom of the trunk.
    2. to locate and reveal by painstaking investigation or search: Biographers excel at dredging up little known facts.

Origin of dredge

1425–75; late Middle English (Scots) dreg-, Old English *drecg(e); see dray, draw
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for dredge up

dredge up

verb (tr, adverb)
  1. to bring to notice, esp with considerable effort and from an obscure, remote, or unlikely sourceto dredge up worthless ideas
  2. to raise with or as if with a dredgethey dredged up the corpse from the lake


  1. Also called: dredger a machine, in the form of a bucket ladder, grab, or suction device, used to remove material from a riverbed, channel, etc
  2. another name for dredger 1 (def. 1)
  1. to remove (material) from a riverbed, channel, etc, by means of a dredge
  2. (tr) to search for (a submerged object) with or as if with a dredge; drag

Word Origin for dredge

C16: perhaps ultimately from Old English dragan to draw; see drag


  1. to sprinkle or coat (food) with flour, sugar, etc

Word Origin for dredge

C16: from Old French dragie, perhaps from Latin tragēmata spices, from Greek
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 dredge up



late 15c., in Scottish dreg-boat "boat for dredging," perhaps ultimately from root of drag (possibly via Middle Dutch dregghe "drag-net"). The verb is attested from c.1500 in Scottish. Related: Dredged; dredging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper