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Derived from dig +‎ -er.

  • (Australian soldier): Attributed to the considerable time that soldiers spent digging trenches during World War I.



digger (plural diggers)

  1. A large piece of machinery that digs holes or trenches; an excavator.
  2. A tool for digging.
    • 2009, Sharon Bomgaars, The Best Clubhouse Ever[1], page 143:
      The post hole digger did look ancient. I was pretty certain myself that it hadn′t dug any holes for a long, long time.
  3. A spade (playing card).
  4. One who digs.
    • 1997, Barbara J. Wrede, Civilizing Your Puppy[2], page 75:
      You′ve tried the supposedly sure method of squirting the digger with water from a hose, and that hasn′t worked. [] This step will discourage 99 percent of the diggers.
    • 2005, Gary R. Sampson, Dick Wolfsie, Dog Dilemmas: Simple Solutions to Everyday Problems, page 130,
      Most retrievers are not inveterate diggers — that′s a trait usually reserved for other breeds like wire-haired terriers and schnauzers.
  5. (Australia, obsolete) A gold miner, one who digs for gold.
    • 1853, Charles Dickens (editor), Household Words[3], volume 21, page 64:
      A successful Australian digger — successful, not merely in siftings and washings, but bearing the title, and its best credentials, of a “nuggetter” − came down from Forest Creek recently and took up his abode in a low lodging-house in Little Bourke Street, Melbourne.
  6. (Australia, dated) An informal nickname for a friend; used as a term of endearment.
  7. (Australia, informal) An Australian soldier.
    • 1998, Helen Gilbert, Sightlines: Race, Gender, and Nation in Contemporary Australian Theatre[4], page 191:
      Costume played a key part in his differentiation from British soldiers as the Digger uniform came to embody Australian versions of masculinity and mateship.
    • 2002, Jeff Doyle, Jeffrey Grey, Peter Pierce, Australia's Vietnam War, page xxiii,
      For many, the congruencies of the Anzac legend and the diggers who served in Vietnam were slight, too slight, and the legend seemed unable to accommodate them.
    • 2004, Lisanne Gibson, Joanna Besley, Monumental Queensland: Signposts on a Cultural Landscape, page 99,
      Like many other Queensland communities, the workers from the North Ipswich Railway Workshops chose a statue of a soldier, or digger, to honour their fellow workers.

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