Definition of dive in English:

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Pronunciation: /dʌɪv/

verb (past and past participle dived; US also dove /dəʊv/)

[no object]
1 [with adverbial of direction] Plunge head first into water with one’s arms raised over one’s head: she walked to the deep end, then she dived in he dived off the bridge for a bet
More example sentences
  • Liv raised her arms over her head and then dove swiftly into the water.
  • More than fifty hardy souls, many very young and a few of advanced years, dived, jumped or simply slid into the icy water.
  • Every summer there are serious accidents that occur when people dive or jump off of boats into shallow water.
plunge, plummet, nosedive, descend, jump, fall, drop, swoop, pitch, bellyflop
1.1(Of a fish or submarine) go to a deeper level in water: the fish dive down to about 1,400 feet
More example sentences
  • The fish dived as one for the ocean floor and capsized the boat.
  • In a swirl the fish dived and headed downstream, pulling the rod tip downwards to the water surface.
  • Again, a short pumping cadence is efficient; dropping the high tip low to the water gives the fish more time to dive as you reel to recover line.
1.2Swim under water using breathing equipment: he had been diving in the area to test equipment
More example sentences
  • Check the equipment before diving for once you dive, you will not get a chance to do that and its malfunctioning in the water can be hazardous.
  • You go out diving and swim through a kelp forest, which is the sort of thing you associate with temperate coasts, and then you're suddenly in a coral bed.
  • You should not be swimming or diving if you have recently been drinking alcohol.
swim under water, go under water, submerge, sink;
snorkel, scuba dive
2(Of an aircraft or bird) plunge steeply downwards through the air: arctic skuas which dive at your head as you walk near their territories
More example sentences
  • The aircraft dived as it was buffeted by turbulence at 34,000 ft, lifting passengers high out of their seats and leaving them in fear of their lives.
  • I watched a few birds dive and glide.
  • The arrow shot through the air like an eagle diving for a mouse and its aim was just as true.
2.1Move quickly or suddenly in a specified direction: a bullet passed close to his head and he dived for cover (as adjective diving) he scored with a diving header
More example sentences
  • One time, I had to run as the security guard's lights aimed in my direction, and I dove head first into a prickle bush to get hidden in time.
  • He leaped to his feet faster than I'd ever seen him move and dived for the sink.
  • Terrified residents had scrambled out of bed and dived for cover after being woken by the gunshot early yesterday morning.
leap, jump, lunge, launch oneself, throw oneself, go headlong, bolt, dart, dash, rush, scurry;
duck, dodge
2.2(Of prices or profits) drop suddenly: profits before tax dived by 61 per cent
More example sentences
  • The low-cost carrier's share price dived early last year when it released a profit warning.
  • The company's chief executive resigned and the share price dived.
  • As a result it was weighed down by debt and its share price dived.
2.3 informal Put one’s hand quickly into a pocket or bag in order to find something: she dived into her bag and extracted a card
More example sentences
  • Kel dropped the map and dove for her pocket before she realized that the stone hung from her belt.
  • My first client dove into her bag for her cell phone.
  • He dived into his pocket and brought out a handful of sliver quarters, which he scattered among the crowd.
2.4 Soccer , informal (Of a player) deliberately fall when challenged in order to deceive the referee into awarding a foul: Stein was booked for diving
More example sentences
  • Players are trained to dive and manipulate refs to get decisions their way.
  • If he was not fouled and the ball was not won, then he dived.
  • Then they tackled, he went down claiming a foul and she was spotted motioning that he'd dived.


1A plunge head first into water: he hit the sea in a shallow dive
More example sentences
  • In the synchronised event, divers attempt to mirror speed along the board, the height of the jump, their rotation and entry into the water, although dives do not have to be identical.
  • I'd rock-climbed and done cool dives off a high dive at the local pool.
  • The bronze medal went to Russia's Yulia Pakhalina, who dropped from silver to bronze on the last dive, having led through the qualifying rounds.
plunge, plummet, nosedive, descent, jump, fall, drop, swoop, pitch, bellyflop
archaic plump
1.1An instance of swimming or going deeper under water: divers should have a good intake of fluid before each dive
More example sentences
  • Twenty minutes into his dive under the Antarctic ice, despite swimming hard along the lines of the grid, Jimmy is shaking uncontrollably.
  • Recorded dives have lasted 22 minutes, and reached depths of 1,800 feet.
  • My average dive was about 40 minutes, going to no more than about 60 feet.
2A steep descent by an aircraft or bird: the jumbo jet went into a dive
More example sentences
  • Positive G forces are usually encountered when pulling an aircraft out of a dive or during a turn, acting on the body directionally from head to toe.
  • After struggling to keep airborne, the Wellington went into a steep dive, shedding pieces of fuselage on the way before hurtling into the ground.
  • Barrel rolls, loops and dives featured as the three aircraft wheeled gracefully over the expanse of Sydney Harbour.
2.1A sudden movement in a specified direction: she made a dive for the fridge to quench her thirst
More example sentences
  • I made a dive for my hiding place under the bed, fell over Mother, and struck my nose on the edge of her bed, giving myself a bloody nose and two black eyes.
  • Nick made a dive for the tool on the ground.
  • I took my clothes and made a dive for the bed.
lunge, spring, jump, leap, bolt, dart, dash, dodge
2.2A sudden marked fall in prices or profits: an 11 per cent dive in profits
More example sentences
  • Meanwhile, housing transaction volume in the city continued to ebb in May, a dive of 45 per cent compared with April.
  • This time around, the stock market has taken a dive but there is a corresponding profit to ease the pain.
  • Part of the share price dive was caused by some confusion as to what profit level the ‘low end of market expectations’ actually was.
2.3 Soccer , informal A deliberate fall by a player, intended to deceive the referee into awarding a foul.
Example sentences
  • It is rare that referees actually pick up on an elaborate dive by an attacking player, and it is usually the defender who sees red.
  • If players knew their dives would later be analysed by FA disciplinary officials and result in a three-match ban, they would soon cut it out.
  • He collapses in the penalty box and gets a yellow card for a none-too-subtle dive.
3 (also US dive bar) informal A shabby or sleazy bar or similar establishment: he got into a fight in some dive a detective story set in the smoky clubs and dive bars of 1940s Los Angeles.
More example sentences
  • All the bars looked like right dives, and nowhere had steaks on offer.
  • Hickey's is a small dive of a bar located a block from Madison Square Garden.
  • She had arranged to meet him in a bar, more of a dive really than a bar.
sleazy bar, sleazy nightclub, drinking den
informal drinking joint, seedy joint, dump, hole


take a dive

Boxing Pretend to be knocked down or out.
Example sentences
  • Many observers questioned whether Sonny Liston took a dive in his second fight against Ali.
  • He would later claim he took a dive in his fight with Willard in Havana, Cuba.
  • The reputation of the most feared heavyweight of his day lay in tatters after Liston took a dive in his second title bout against Cassius Clay in 1965.
1.1(Of prices, hopes, fortunes, etc.) fall suddenly: profits could take a dive as easily as they could soar
More example sentences
  • On Thursday the share price took a dive to 54p before recovering to 70p.
  • Thorpe's hopes for a clean sweep of the 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle also took a dive today after he qualified slowest for tomorrow's 100m final.
  • However, his profile took a dive and by the middle of the decade, he had disappeared from public view entirely.

Phrasal verbs


dive in

Help oneself to food.
Example sentences
  • Not one to be intimidated by exotic foods, she bravely dove in and was surprised to find she actually kind of liked it.
  • If the food is placed on her tray, however, she dives in with both hands and eats with obvious enjoyment.
  • She promised that more were coming, but for now, everyone dove in.

dive into

Occupy oneself suddenly and enthusiastically with (a meal, or an engrossing subject or activity): I’m not quite ready to dive into that discussion
More example sentences
  • They dive into the meal before she's even comfortably seated at the table.
  • The resulting meals are well worth diving into for seafood lovers.
  • The mess hall wasn't far away, and finally seated, alone as usual, at his table, Ves happily dived into his meal.


Old English dūfan 'dive, sink' and dȳfan 'immerse', of Germanic origin; related to deep and dip.

  • deep from Old English:

    The word deep is related to dip (Old English) and dive (Old English), and in Old English could also mean depth (Late Middle English). The phrase in deep water, ‘in trouble or difficulty’, has biblical origins. The writer of one of the Psalms begged, ‘Let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters’. The deep waters of a swimming pool did not become familiar enough to provide linguistic inspiration until the 20th century. If you go off the deep end you have an emotional outburst, especially of anger, and to jump (or be thrown) in at the deep end is to face a difficult undertaking with little or no preparation or experience.

Words that rhyme with dive

alive, arrive, chive, Clive, connive, contrive, deprive, drive, five, gyve, hive, I've, jive, live, MI5, revive, rive, shrive, skive, strive, survive, swive, thrive

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: dive

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