- a long, narrow excavation made in the ground by digging, as for draining or irrigating land; trench.
- any open passage or trench, as a natural channel or waterway.
verb (used with object)
- to dig a ditch or ditches in or around.
- to derail (a train) or drive or force (an automobile, bus, etc.) into a ditch.
- to crash-land on water and abandon (an airplane).
- to get rid of: I ditched that old hat of yours.
- to escape from: He ditched the cops by driving down an alley.
- to absent oneself from (school or a class) without permission or an acceptable reason.
verb (used without object)
- to dig a ditch.
- (of an aircraft or its crew) to crash-land in water and abandon the sinking aircraft.
- Slang. to be truant; play hooky.
- a narrow channel dug in the earth, usually used for drainage, irrigation, or as a boundary marker
- any small, natural waterway
- Irish a bank made of earth excavated from and placed alongside a drain or stream
- informal either of the gutters at the side of a tenpin bowling lane
- last ditch a last resort or place of last defence
- to make a ditch or ditches in (a piece of ground)
- (intr) to edge with a ditch
- informal to crash or be crashed, esp deliberately, as to avoid more unpleasant circumstanceshe had to ditch the car
- (tr) slang to abandon or discardto ditch a girlfriend
- informal to land (an aircraft) on water in an emergency
- (tr) US slang to evadeto ditch the police
- the Ditch an informal name for the Tasman Sea
Old English dic “ditch, dike,” a variant of dike (q.v.). Last ditch (1715) refers to the last line of military defenses.
late 14c., “surround with a ditch; dig a ditch;” from ditch (n.). Meaning “to throw into a ditch” is from 1816, hence sense of “abandon, discard,” first recorded 1899 in American English. Of aircraft, by 1941. Related: Ditched; ditching.
see last-ditch effort.