To excavate is to remove or find by digging. If you have rocky soil in your garden, you may have to excavate it to remove the rocks and replace them with additional soil.

Construction crews also excavate when they remove material from the ground. Workers slowly excavate subways tunnels using explosives to break up the rock and earth. Then the workers clear away the materials, hollowing out a tunnel as they go. It often takes a lot of time and effort to excavate. But most people would agree a new subway line is dynamite!

Definitions of excavate

v recover through digging

“Schliemann excavated Troy”
excavate gold”
dig, dig out, dig up
remove, harvest, or recover by digging
Type of:
bring out, reveal, uncover, unveil
make visible

v find by digging in the ground

dig up, turn up
locate, turn up
discover the location of; determine the place of; find by searching or examining
grub out, grub up
dig up
dig out with the snout
disinter, exhume
dig up for reburial or for medical investigation; of dead bodies
Type of:
come into possession of

v remove the inner part or the core of

“the mining company wants to excavate the hillside”
dig, hollow
excavate horizontally
ditch, trench
cut a trench in, as for drainage
Type of:
remove, take, take away, withdraw
remove something concrete, as by lifting, pushing, or taking off, or remove something abstract

v form by hollowing

“Carnegie had a lake excavated for Princeton University's rowing team”
excavate a cavity”
Type of:
core out, hollow, hollow out
remove the interior of

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