General English

General Science

  • noun a hole dug in the ground to extract a mineral


  • noun a hole or tunnel in the ground for digging out coal, gold, iron, etc.

Information & Library Science

  • noun a rich source of something, especially information
  • verb to search through a source and extract information


  • noun an explosive device which is buried in or placed on the surface of the ground, and is designed to detonate when a person steps on it or a vehicle drives over it.
  • noun an explosive device which is placed into or under water, and is designed to detonate when a boat or ship hits it or passes over it
  • noun a tunnel which is dug in order to detonate an explosive charge under an enemy fortification
  • noun a tunnel or large hole which is dug into the ground in order to extract minerals
  • verb to lay mines in the ground or in water

Origin & History of “mine”

English has two quite distinct words mine. The first person possessive pronoun (OE) goes back to a prehistoric Germanic *mīnaz (source also of German mein, Dutch mijn, and Swedish and Danish min), which was derived from the same Indo-European source as produced English me. Originally it was an adjective, but in the 13th century the -n was dropped before consonants, and eventually the resulting my took over the adjective slot altogether, leaving mine as a pronoun only.

Mine ‘excavation’ (14th c.) is of uncertain origin. It comes via Old French from an assumed vulgar Latin *mina, which may go back ultimately to a Celtic *meini- ‘ore’ (Gaelic has mein ‘ore, mine’ and Welsh mwyn ‘ore’). The use of the word for an ‘explosive device’, which dates from the 17th century, arose from the practice of digging tunnels or ‘mines’ beneath enemy positions and then blowing them up.