verb (used without object), delved, delv·ing.
- to carry on intensive and thorough research for data, information, or the like; investigate: to delve into the issue of prison reform.
- Archaic. to dig, as with a spade.
verb (used with object), delved, delv·ing.
- Archaic. to dig; excavate.
verb (mainly intr; often foll by in or into)
- to inquire or research deeply or intensively (for information, etc)he delved in the Bible for quotations
- to search or rummage (in a drawer, the pockets, etc)
- (esp of an animal) to dig or burrow deeply (into the ground, etc)
- (also tr) archaic, or dialect to dig or turn up (earth, a garden, etc), as with a spade
Old English delfan “to dig” (class III strong verb; past tense dealf, past participle dolfen), common West Germanic verb (cf. Old Saxon delban, Dutch delven, Middle High German telben “to dig”), from PIE root *dhelbh- (cf. Lithuanian delba “crowbar,” Russian dolbit’, Czech dlabati, Polish dłubać “to chisel;” Russian dolotó, Czech dlato, Polish dłuto “chisel”). Weak inflections emerged 14c.-16c. Related: Delved; delving.