General English



  • noun the act of diving
  • verb to operate underwater (usually with breathing apparatus)
  • verb to make a steep descent


  • verb to perform a pattern of acrobatic movements in the air ending in a headfirst plunge into water, especially as a sport
  • verb to swim below the surface of a stretch of water, often with special breathing apparatus

Origin & History of “dive”

Old English dȳfan ‘dive’ came from a prehistoric Germanic *dūbjan. this was a derivative of the base *d(e)ub-, a variant of which, *d(e)up-, was the source of English deep and dip. The colloquial use of the noun for a disreputable bar, nightclub, etc, which comes from 1880s America, is probably a reference to someone ‘diving’ out of sight into such an establishment, which was often in a basement.