Middle English Dictionary Entry

delven v.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

1.
(a) To dig a hole or ditch; dig (a ditch, lake, pit, etc.); also fig. delve (into one's heart) ~ and diken; (b) to dig up (buried treasure, herbs, etc.), dig (gravel, turfs); ~ oute, dig (sth.) out, dig up; also fig.; ~ up, dig up (sth.), disinter (a corpse); also fig. dig up (old quarrels); (c) to make a hole in (sth.), dig into (the ground); dig through the wall of (a house), ~ oute--used without obj. ; dig into (the flesh), pierce with a blunt point; pick (one's nose).
2.
(a) To dig (sth.), spade up (land), cultivate; use a spade, engage in digging or cultivating; of a spade, etc.: dig; (b) to dig around (a plant), cultivate; ~ abouten; (c) in proverbs; (d) diken (dichen, diggen) and ~, to dig and cultivate, do farm work.
3.
Fig. To examine; ~ in, delve into (a subject), study, discuss.
4.
(a) To bury (sb.); ~ quik, bury alive; dolven to dust, buried and turned to dust; (b) ded and dolven, dolven ded, dead and buried; (c) to cover or plant (sth.); bury (a treasure), plant (a seedling), imbed (a body in rock); fig. implant (devotion in the heart), smother (a piece of writing with uncouth language); ~ in duale, ?overcome (sb.) with a sleeping potion, ?plunge (sb.) in grief.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • a1500(c1410) Dives & P.(Htrn 270)1.306 : Þe fendis of helle brokys schul deluyn out & pykyn out þat eye.
  • Note: New phrase: under sense 1.(b), add the gloss "to gouge out (an eye)" after the gloss for ~ oute.--per MLL

Supplemental Materials (draft)

Note: 2016 change: intransitive use of phrase ~ oute added to sense 1.(c).