Definition of delve in English:

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Pronunciation: /dɛlv/


[no object]
1Reach inside a receptacle and search for something: she delved in her pocket
More example sentences
  • Jo then delved in to the toy box and brought out a farmyard set before passing round a bag of plastic animals for the youngsters to pull out and identify.
  • At great personal risk I delved in among the spines today but, apart from last year's abandoned nest, there was nothing.
  • Then he prised open my mouth and delved in with a metal stick while the nurse fed a miniature sprinkler system down my gullet.
rummage (about/around/round) in, search (through), hunt through, scrabble about/around in, root about/around in, ferret (about/around) in, fish about/around in, poke about/around in, dig in, grub about/around in, go through, burrow in;
rifle through, scour, ransack, turn upside down, turn inside out
British informal rootle around in
Australian/New Zealand informal fossick through
rare roust around in
1.1Research or make painstaking enquiries into something: the society is determined to delve deeper into the matter
More example sentences
  • Along with that, the show has two researchers delving into all the newspaper periodicals that are sent in.
  • His research delves into matroidal structures, a concept based on graphs and matrices and its applications.
  • I was confused and delved into my own research on the matter.
investigate, conduct investigations into, make enquiries into, enquire into, probe, examine, explore, research, study, look into, go into;
try to get to the bottom of
2 archaic Dig; excavate: when Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman? [with object]: the approach from the surface above had awed her, so hugely delved were the tunnels
More example sentences
  • They rounded another corner, careful not to brush up against the slime-covered wall and descended down another tunnel, delving deeper underground.
  • Although the economy as a set of material practices has existed ever since ‘Adam delved and Eve span,’ it was not conceptualized as separate until about 300 years ago.
  • He turned the corner and still the tunnel delved deeper into the rock.



Example sentences
  • A top profiler and unmatched delver into the serial-killer mindset, she is terribly good at that thing where you hold the torch on top of your handgun when entering a dark apartment.
  • A truly remarkable book thoroughly investigated and produced by arguably one the world's greatest delvers into the understanding of the ancient past.
  • Fate was - in the past - supposed to be the supreme delver into the arcane and the mysterious energies of the universe.


Old English delfan 'dig', of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch delven.

Words that rhyme with delve

helve, shelve, twelve
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