a. A person or animal that digs: a digger of gardens; a digger for information.
b. A tool or machine used for digging or excavating.
2. often Digger Informal
a. A soldier from Australia in World War I and World War II.
b. A soldier from New Zealand in World War I.
3. also Digger , or Digger Indian Offensive Used as a disparaging term, especially in the 1800s, for a member of any of various Native American peoples of the Great Basin, such as the Utes, Paiutes, and Western Shoshones.
4. Chiefly New England A fall: slipped on the icy sidewalk and took a digger.
[Sense 3, from their use of digging sticks as foraging tools.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.