• Jonny Bravo
  • Experts (I'm not one of them) seem to think it comes from Irish (!) before World War II... I'm not sure about that, but the idea is tantalizing. Apparantly, the Irish word "dtuig" means to understand (an dtuig eann tú mé? = Do you understand me?). Anyway, that is one of the three meanings the word has today: To understand, to like or to notice. Interestingly, the word "tuigim" (to understand) which is the source/root of "dtuig", is also thought to be the source of the verb "twig", which also means to see, look at or understand. The noun "twig", meaning a small branch, may be related to this also, because it means that something is divided in two (ah, there you go - it's also in the word "two"). You find the same thing in "twin". In Norwegian (my native tongue), the same root is found as variants of tve, kve, tvi, kvi. For instance, "kvist" = "twig", a small branch from a tree. The interesting thing here is that the word for visual perception and understanding (to twig, to dig) is linked to the ability to separate or distinguish items from each other (a twig splits into smaller twigs). In other words, if you can see where one thing ends and another begins, you have understood. You dig?
  • dig (Slang) 1. to understand: Can you dig what I'm saying? 2. to take notice of: Dig those shoes he's wearing. 3. to like, love, or enjoy: She digs that kind of music. We really dig each other. informal a mocking or critical remark ORIGIN perhaps from an Old English word meaning ‘ditch’ Etymology From Middle English diggen, probably cognate with dike, ditch, Dutch dijk, French digue, diguer, German Deich, Romanian dig, Spanish dique, etc. (slang) To appreciate, or like. "Baby, I dig you. (slang) To understand or show interest in. "You dig?" The word "dig" is used in many informal expressions. No one knows how they originated. dig (SEARCH) dig (PRESS) dig (REMARK) dig (APPROVE) dig (yourself) in (PROTECT) dig in (EAT) dig (sth) into sb/sth dig sb/sth out (GET OUT) dig sth out (FIND) dig sth up (TAKE OUT) dig sth up (BREAK GROUND) dig sth up (INFORMATION) dig yourself into a hole dig your heels in dig (deep) into your pocket(s)/resources/savings poke/dig sb in the ribs dig a hole for yourself dig up: investigate something: to find out something by research or investigation; to locate; find: "to dig up information". ( informal ) dig in: intransitive verb maintain opinion stubbornly: to stick to an established position, e.g. in an argument, and fight stubbornly to maintain it to maintain one's opinion or position. dig out: discover something: to find something out by research or questioning ( informal ) dig in one's heels : to take or persist in an uncompromising position : or attitude despite opposition dig into attack, work, or apply oneself voraciously, vigorously, or energetically transitive and intransitive verb understand something: to understand something fully or with sympathy ( dated slang ) "I dig what you're saying." transitive verb like somebody or something: to like or appreciate somebody or something ( dated slang ) "They don't dig jazz." [Middle English diggen; perhaps akin to Old French digue, dike, trench; see dhgw- in Indo-European roots. V., tr., sense 8 and intr., sense 3, perhaps influenced by Wolof degg, to hear, find out, understand, or Irish Gaelic tuigim, I understand.] Our Living Language In its slang sense of "to enjoy," dig is one of the many words and expressions that come from African American Vernacular English (AAVE). Like cool, it is first recorded in 1930s jazz circles. While several AAVE expressions that have entered standard English from jazz still have musical associations, many others do not, and quite a few are so ordinary today that their origin in AAVE is not at all obvious. Some are no longer regarded as slang, such as badmouth, cakewalk, nitty-gritty, and main man. Others, like fox, "sexy woman," gig, and chump change are still slang or informal.
  • It turned up after WW2 as a slang word amongst the beatniks and then the bikies and continued to be used until the hippie era. Where it originated is a mystery, but that is often the case for many "in" words.
  • People started using it in the late 1930s as a word that was synonymous with "look," as in "Look at (dig) that guy with blue hair." Then, over time, the meaning was perverted into meaning "understand" and then later to your regular "I dig (it)."
  • The 70's?.. but apparently much earlier.
  • (a)Jazz musicians in Havana ca'50 were using it as slang. Maybe it 'slid' over from 'digame'(talk to me). To speak, to understand...ya know wat im sayin? Now you talkin!... (b)From there to the NY jazz scene... (c)to the first and second issues of MAD (then MAD was a comic book)... (1954?) (d)to a whole generation of kids who grew up to be beatniks. The 'digame' explanation requires a semantic shift from 'talk' to 'understand'. The 'twig' derivation doesn't require this shift, but is somewhat culturally discontinuous. (Nordic vs Latin) The 'twig' association is very (maybe too) logical. But thank you teacherman!
  • Although such African-derived words came from all of the five or six major cultural groups of West Africans enslaved in North America, many of the earliest words were introduced by the Wolof people. The African Wolofs were brought to the North American colonies as enslaved people between 1670 and 1700. Working principally as house slaves, they may have been the first Africans whose cultural elements and language were assimilated into the developing culture of America. Additionally, a large number of Wolof words took root in American English because Wolof people were frequently used as interpreters by European slavers along the coast of West Africa in the early years of the slave trade. These African interpreters used Wolof names for African foodstuffs fed to enslaved Africans on the middle passage, such as yams and bananas--words that then became parts of Standard English in North America. Another Wolof word popular in present-day American English is "dig," as in "dig this man." This word stems from the Wolof word dega, meaning either "look here" or to "understand," often used to mark the beginning of a sentence. In the English spoken by African Americans in the 1960s, "dig" means " to understand something." An example in Wolof is dega nga olof, "Do you understand Wolof?"
  • Can anyone verify.- Ron Diggins the first ever DJ - hence 'can you dig it'?
  • Nervous Norvus.
  • Something to do with street rods and drag races.

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