Definition of ditch in English:

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Pronunciation: /dɪtʃ/


A narrow channel dug at the side of a road or field, to hold or carry away water: their car went out of control and plunged into a ditch
More example sentences
  • And there was no drainage ditch on the side.
  • In one town, invading militiamen had filled an irrigation ditch with concrete.
  • The trails cross irrigation ditches, and one eventually winds through rainforest to more open fields.
trench, trough, channel, dyke, drain, gutter, gully, moat, duct, watercourse, conduit;
technical fosse
historical sap
rare fleet


[with object]
1Provide with a ditch or ditches: he was praised for ditching the coastal areas
dig a ditch in, provide with ditches, trench, excavate, drain
1.1 [no object] Make or repair ditches: (as noun ditching) they would have to pay for hedging and ditching
More example sentences
  • I remember all the crafts they used to do: hedging, ditching - that's all gone now.
  • His father worked for the nearby farms, doing ditching and draining, while his mother was an auxiliary nurse.
2 informal Get rid of or give up: plans for the road were ditched following a public inquiry
More example sentences
  • The other remedy, of course, is to ditch all home PCs - go on, just throw them out in the street and get rid of them.
  • However, to gain credibility with supporters he is ditching - or at least modifying - some of his pro-European views.
  • But it bothers my head that my heart is so casual about ditching long and deeply held principles.
throw out, throw away, discard, get rid of, dispose of, do away with, shed;
abandon, drop, shelve, scrap, jettison, throw on the scrapheap
informal dump, junk, scrub, axe, get shut of, chuck (away/out), pull the plug on, knock on the head
British informal get shot of
North American informal trash
2.1End a relationship with (someone) peremptorily: she ditched her husband to marry the window cleaner
More example sentences
  • She had been married for 25 years when her husband ditched her.
  • Shanti's daughter, Raji, had a philandering husband who ditched her and took up with Kala.
  • She ditched her husband in the Sin City, as part of a life-changing de-cluttering exercise in the early nineties.
break up with, jilt, cast aside, throw over, finish with;
leave, desert, abandon, turn one's back on, leave high and dry, leave in the lurch
informal dump, drop, chuck, run out on, walk out on, give someone the elbow, give someone the heave-ho, leave someone holding the baby
British informal give someone the push, give someone the big E, bin off
archaic forsake
2.2North American Play truant from (school): maybe she could ditch school and run away
More example sentences
  • Some claimed to have ditched their high school or middle school to be on Berkeley's campus to show their opposition to the war.
  • On top of everything else, she was now ditching school.
  • At 15, Ed ditched school to go to L.A. and see the Red Hot Chili Peppers with Jason Lee, Ann, and Deanna.
3Bring (an aircraft) down on water in an emergency: he was picked up by a gunboat after ditching his plane in the Mediterranean
More example sentences
  • Yes, you can bail out of the aircraft or you can ditch the aircraft in the ocean or you can land.
  • Deterioration of the hydraulic system could have resulted in us ditching the aircraft, just not so soon.
  • The pilot ditched his aircraft in the lagoon surrounding the islands.
3.1 [no object] (Of an aircraft) make a forced landing on water: the aircraft was obliged to ditch in the sea off the North African coast
More example sentences
  • All the time there were aircraft ditching in the sea.
  • Geelong and Cessnock were also among the first units on scene when an RMAF Hawk aircraft ditched in the early phases of the exercise.
  • Unknown to our crew, the skipper had told the squadron our aircraft had ditched, and survivor status was unknown.
3.2US Derail (a train).
Example sentences
  • Royal Mail controversially announced last June that it was ditching the trains, after 173 years, in favour of road and air transport.
  • In Halifax I ditched the train in the first little yard (was it called Rockington... something like that), by the Bedford Basin, and went for coffee.



Pronunciation: /ˈdɪtʃə/
Example sentences
  • You're no ditcher - you're a girl who ditched one time and feels terrible about it and won't make that mistake again.
  • Jim is a two-time ditcher who flew 79 operations during the war as an air gunner - always on low-level flights.
  • Because it was during school hours, the path to her house was generally empty; the ditchers usually hung out in alleys or ruins.


Old English dīc, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch dijk 'ditch, dyke' and German Teich 'pond, pool', also to dyke2.

  • dyke from Middle English:

    There are two almost contradictory aspects to dyke: it means both ‘something dug out’ and ‘something built up’. The first group of senses began in the medieval period and derives from the old Scandinavian word dík or diki, which corresponds to native English ditch (Old English) and is related to dig (Middle English). At much the same time related German and Dutch forms gave us the second group, initially in the sense ‘a city wall, a fortification’. A possible linking idea appears in the sense ‘dam’—a dam entails both the building up of an obstruction and the creation of a pool. The Dutch build dykes to prevent flooding from the sea. This is the context of the phrase to put your finger in a dyke, ‘to attempt to stem the advance of something undesirable’. It comes from a popular story of a heroic little Dutch boy who saved his community from flooding, by placing his finger in a hole in a dyke, thereby preventing it getting bigger and averting the disastrous consequences.

    The word dyke is also a derogatory term for a lesbian, especially a masculine-looking one. Originally found in the fuller form bulldyke, it has been in use since at least the 1920s, but no one is sure of its origin.

Words that rhyme with ditch

bewitch, bitch, enrich, fitch, flitch, glitch, hitch, itch, kitsch, Mitch, pitch, quitch, rich, snitch, stitch, switch, titch, twitch, which, witch

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ditch

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