the act, process, or industry of extracting ores, coal, etc., from mines.
the laying of explosive mines.

Origin of mining

1250–1300; Middle English: undermining (walls in an attack); see mine2, -ing1




an excavation made in the earth for the purpose of extracting ores, coal, precious stones, etc.
a place where such minerals may be obtained, either by excavation or by washing the soil.
a natural deposit of such minerals.
an abundant source; store: a mine of information.
a device containing a charge of explosive in a watertight casing, floating on or moored beneath the surface of the water for the purpose of blowing up an enemy ship that strikes it or passes close by it.
a similar device used on land against personnel or vehicles; land mine.
a subterranean passage made to extend under an enemy's works or position, as for the purpose of securing access or of depositing explosives for blowing up a military position.
a passageway in the parenchyma of a leaf, made by certain insects.

verb (used without object), mined, min·ing.

to dig in the earth for the purpose of extracting ores, coal, etc.; make a mine.
to extract coal, ore, or the like, from a mine.
to make subterranean passages.
to place or lay mines, as in military or naval operations.

verb (used with object), mined, min·ing.

to dig in (earth, rock, etc.) in order to obtain ores, coal, etc.
to extract (ore, coal, etc.) from a mine.
to avail oneself of or draw useful or valuable material from: to mine every reference book available in writing the term paper.
to use, especially a natural resource: to mine the nation's forests.
to make subterranean passages in or under; burrow.
to make (passages, tunnels, etc.) by digging or burrowing.
to dig away or remove the foundations of.
to place or lay military or naval mines under: to mine an enemy supply road.
Agriculture. to grow crops in (soil) over an extended time without fertilizing.
to remove (a natural resource) from its source without attempting to replenish it.

Origin of mine

1275–1325; 1875–80 for def 5; (v.) Middle English minen < Old French miner (cognate with Provençal, Spanish minar, Italian minare) < Vulgar Latin *mīnāre, probably < a Celtic base *mein-; compare MIr méin, Welsh mwyn ore, mineral; (noun) Middle English < Middle French, perhaps noun derivative of miner; compare Medieval Latin mina mine, mineral
Related formsun·mined, adjective

Synonyms for mine Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mining

Contemporary Examples of mining

Historical Examples of mining

  • I heard Mr. Shepler and my father talking about some of your mining properties.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • In engineering, in mining, in invention, there are endless possibilities.

  • Daddy had a good deal of that in his business, being in a mining country.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

  • Probably they are old fogies, if they are in the mining business.'

  • They are mining for mica, but the mine is more valuable in other respects than it is as a mica property.

British Dictionary definitions for mining



the act, process, or industry of extracting coal, ores, etc, from the earth
military the process of laying mines




something or someone belonging to or associated with memine is best
of mine belonging to or associated with me


(preceding a vowel) an archaic word for my 1 mine eyes; mine host

Word Origin for mine

Old English mīn; compare Old High German, Old Norse mīn, Dutch mijn




a system of excavations made for the extraction of minerals, esp coal, ores, or precious stones
any deposit of ore or minerals
a lucrative source or abundant supplyshe was a mine of information
a device containing an explosive designed to destroy ships, vehicles, or personnel, usually laid beneath the ground or in water
a tunnel or sap dug to undermine a fortification
a groove or tunnel made by certain insects, esp in a leaf


to dig into (the earth) for (minerals)
to make (a hole, tunnel, etc) by digging or boring
to place explosive mines in position below the surface of (the sea or land)
to undermine (a fortification) by digging mines or saps
another word for undermine
Derived Formsminable or mineable, adjective

Word Origin for mine

C13: from Old French, probably of Celtic origin; compare Irish mein, Welsh mwyn ore, mine
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 mining

1520s, verbal noun from mine (v.1).



Old English min "mine, my," (pronoun and adjective), from Proto-Germanic *minaz (cf. Old Frisian, Old Saxon Old High German min, Middle Dutch, Dutch mijn, German mein, Old Norse minn, Gothic meins "my, mine"), from the base of me. Superseded as adjective beginning 13c. by my.



"pit or tunnel in the earth for obtaining metals and minerals," c.1300, from Old French mine "vein, lode; tunnel, shaft; mineral ore; mine" (for coal, tin, etc,), of uncertain origin, probably from a Celtic source (cf. Welsh mwyn, Irish mein "ore, mine"), from Old Celtic *meini-. Italy and Greece were relatively poor in minerals, thus they did not contribute a word for this to English, but there was extensive mining from an early date in Celtic lands (Cornwall, etc.). From c.1400 as "a tunnel under fortifications to overthrow them."



"lay explosives," 1620s, in reference to old tactic of tunneling under enemy fortifications to blow them up; a specialized sense of mine (v.1) via a sense of "dig under foundations to undermine them" (late 14c.), and miner in this sense is attested from late 13c. Related: Mined; mining.



to dig, c.1300, "to tunnel under fortifications to overthrow them," from mine (n.1) or from Old French miner "to dig, mine; exterminate." From mid-14c. as "to dig in the earth" (for treasure, etc.). Figurative use from mid-14c. Related: Mined; mining.



explosive device, by 1850, from mine (v.2).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

mining in Science



An underground excavation in the Earth from which ore, rock, or minerals can be extracted.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with mining


see back to the salt mines; gold mine; your guess is as good as mine.

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