Green’s Dictionary of Slang

dig n.1

[SE dig, a thrust, a sharp poke, as with the elbow, fist, or other part of the body]

1. a punch; also as v. (see cit. 1977).

[UK]‘A. Burton’ Adventures of Johnny Newcome I 46: But John, whose choler now rose high, Bestowed on one a ‘dig i’th’ eye’.
[UK]‘One of the Fancy’ Tom Crib’s Memorial to Congress 51: While ribbers rung from each resounding frame, and divers digs, and many a ponderous pelt [F&H].
[UK]‘Peter Corcoran’ ‘Stanzas to Kate’ in Fancy 85: Mufflers I’ll carefully pull / O’er my knuckles hereafter, to make them well bred; / To mollify digs in the kidney with wool.
[Ire] ‘Donnybrook Jig’ Dublin Comic Songster 261: He hit him a dig, The pig, / He beat the meal out of his wig.
True Flash (NY) 4 Dec. n.p.: Adams made a couple of digs at the left kidneys.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 3 Jan. 3/1: A dig on the ribs or a tap on the snout.
[UK]H. Kingsley Recollections of G. Hamlyn (1891) 241: The magpie [...] catches the puppy such a dig over the tail as sends him howling to his mother with a flea in his ear.
[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 15 Aug. 286: The prisoner walked behind Mr. Hamilton, and made a dig at his eye—he struck him in the eye,.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[UK]C.W. Wall (trans.) Moliere I 80: The digs in the ribs I gave you with such hearty good will [F&H].
[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 27 June 1012: I said again, ‘Put your knife away; I will fight you; come on’—I went to spar at him; he made a dig at me.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 6 Oct. 24/1: Sharkey, whose ‘Irish’ was up, went in to finish – bashing, swinging, and uppercutting with savage ferocity, but Fitz. managed to dodge the worst until he got a chance to give Sharkey a fearful dig with the right in the victualling dept.
[UK] ‘English Und. Sl.’ in Variety 8 Apr. n.p.: A dig on the wishes [? whiskers] — Punch on the chin.
[UK]Illus. Police News 16 July 12/4: Mr. J. D. Crichton, defending: Did you say to Connolly on the Saturday night, ‘Do you want dig on the chin?’ —Yes. and I gave him one .
[UK]B. Hill Boss of Britain’s Underworld 112: There was only one way to deal with this geezer and that was to pick him a dig to keep him quiet.
[UK]D. Powis Signs of Crime 180: Dig [...] To punch (Cockney expression).
[Ire]R. Doyle Commitments 154: He gave Joey a dig. Hurt him.
[Ire]J. O’Connor Salesman 104: Watch whoever is gettin’ the dig. Sometimes give a dig themselves.
[UK]K. Sampson Outlaws (ms.) 26: He had a terrific dig on him — he broke this lad’s thigh once, pure snapped it in two with one dig.
[Ire]P. Howard Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightdress 115: I told them to let him get a few digs in on you.

2. a stab wound; a knife slash.

[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 21 Aug. 632: I have heard him describe that it was a dig, and drawn along [...] this looked like a cut with the edge of a knife.
[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 8 Jan. 310: [She] made a dig at me—and I said, ‘Lizzie, I am stabbed’—I saw her make a dig at me, and 1 felt it too, I was pouring with blood.
[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 20 Nov. 162: It was more like a stab than a cut—she had lost much blood; it was dangerous because it was near the jugular vein—she has recovered—a dig with this knife would do it,.
[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 12 Jan. 384: I walked towards the kerb, when he gave me another dig in the neck. I said, ‘Oh, my God! You have cut my throat’.

3. in fig. use, a verbal attack, a negative criticism.

[UK]Bristol Magpie 14 Sept. 13/1: If a good word can said for play or players I shall be pleased to say it; but, where necessary, I intend calling a spade a spade, and giving them a ‘dig’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 31 Jan. 22/2: Thady gives himself away after this, by pointing out that the ‘drives’ made by Mr. Brewer during the course of his ‘gag,’ were solely in return for the ‘digs’ the Miner gave that worthy during the last elections.
[UK]Sporting Times 1 Jan. 10/3: Another man got a rather good dig at the Scots.
[US]C.S. Montanye ‘The Might That Failed’ in Top Notch 1 Apr. [Internet] McGuire was responsible for most of those dirty digs.
[US]N. Stephenson Cryptonomicon 756: Having actually been a part of the United States at one point they can take digs at it in a way that’s usually reserved for lifelong U.S. citizens.
[US]T. Robinson ‘Legendary [...] Ralphie O’Malley’ in Dirty Words [ebook] Barry sighed at the dig, which he’d probably heard at least three times a day.

4. a penile thrust in sexual intercourse .

[UK]‘Suzan Aked’ The Simple Tale of Suzan Aked 53: It would [...] be m ore agreeable for a man to feel when he [...] squeezes in the last line after the short digs.

5. a movement.

[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Shakedown Sham’ Dan Turner – Hollywood Detective May [Internet] ‘You can’t stop me!’ she made a dig toward the door [...] I said, ‘That’s what you think,’ and pinioned her.

6. (US black) a verbal riposte.

[US]R. Price Clockers 192: Peanut went dark but was afraid to start trading digs with Strike.

7. (Aus.) an effort, thus have a dig, to make a effort, esp. in a sport.

[Aus]M. Coleman Fatty 116: ‘Nobody could ever accuse him [i.e. a rugby footballer] of not having a dig’.