1. a long, narrow excavation made in the ground by digging, as for draining or irrigating land; trench.
  2. any open passage or trench, as a natural channel or waterway.

verb (used with object)

  1. to dig a ditch or ditches in or around.
  2. to derail (a train) or drive or force (an automobile, bus, etc.) into a ditch.
  3. to crash-land on water and abandon (an airplane).
  4. Slang.
    1. to get rid of: I ditched that old hat of yours.
    2. to escape from: He ditched the cops by driving down an alley.
    3. to absent oneself from (school or a class) without permission or an acceptable reason.

verb (used without object)

  1. to dig a ditch.
  2. (of an aircraft or its crew) to crash-land in water and abandon the sinking aircraft.
  3. Slang. to be truant; play hooky.


  1. a narrow channel dug in the earth, usually used for drainage, irrigation, or as a boundary marker
  2. any small, natural waterway
  3. Irish a bank made of earth excavated from and placed alongside a drain or stream
  4. informal either of the gutters at the side of a tenpin bowling lane
  5. last ditch a last resort or place of last defence


  1. to make a ditch or ditches in (a piece of ground)
  2. (intr) to edge with a ditch
  3. informal to crash or be crashed, esp deliberately, as to avoid more unpleasant circumstanceshe had to ditch the car
  4. (tr) slang to abandon or discardto ditch a girlfriend
  5. informal to land (an aircraft) on water in an emergency
  6. (tr) US slang to evadeto ditch the police

noun NZ

  1. 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.

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