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Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for digest in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English digesten, from Latin dīgestus, past participle of dīgerō (carry apart), from dī- (for dis- (apart)) + gerō (I carry), influenced by Middle French digestion.


  • enPR: dī-jĕstʹ, də-jĕstʹ, IPA(key): /daɪˈdʒɛst/, /dəˈdʒɛst/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛst


digest (third-person singular simple present digests, present participle digesting, simple past and past participle digested)

  1. (transitive) To distribute or arrange methodically; to work over and classify; to reduce to portions for ready use or application.
    to digest laws
  2. (transitive) To separate (the food) in its passage through the alimentary canal into the nutritive and nonnutritive elements; to prepare, by the action of the digestive juices, for conversion into blood; to convert into chyme.
  3. (transitive) To think over and arrange methodically in the mind; to reduce to a plan or method; to receive in the mind and consider carefully; to get an understanding of; to comprehend.
    • (Can we date this quote by Sir H. Sidney and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      Feelingly digest the words you speak in prayer.
    • c. 1608–1609, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedy of Coriolanus”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act III, scene i]:
      How shall this bosom multiplied digest / The senate's courtesy?
    • (Can we date this quote?), Book of Common Prayer
      Grant that we may in such wise hear them [the Scriptures], read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them.
  4. To bear comfortably or patiently; to be reconciled to; to brook.
    • (Can we date this quote by Coleridge and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      I never can digest the loss of most of Origen's works.
  5. (transitive, chemistry) To expose to a gentle heat in a boiler or matrass, as a preparation for chemical operations.
  6. (intransitive) To undergo digestion.
    I just ate an omelette and I'm waiting for it to digest.
  7. (medicine, obsolete, intransitive) To suppurate; to generate pus, as an ulcer.
  8. (medicine, obsolete, transitive) To cause to suppurate, or generate pus, as an ulcer or wound.
  9. (obsolete, transitive) To ripen; to mature.
    • (Can we date this quote by Jeremy Taylor and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      well-digested fruits
  10. (obsolete, transitive) To quieten or reduce (a negative feeling, such as anger or grief)
  • (distribute or arrange methodically): arrange, sort, sort out
  • (separate food in the alimentary canal):
  • (think over and arrange methodically in the mind): sort out
  • (chemistry, soften by heat and moisture):
  • (undergo digestion):

Etymology 2[edit]

From Latin dīgesta, neuter plural of dīgestus, past participle of dīgerō (separate)


  • enPR: dīʹjĕst, dīʹjəst, IPA(key): /ˈdaɪdʒɛst/, /ˈdaɪdʒəst/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛst


digest (plural digests)

  1. That which is digested; especially, that which is worked over, classified, and arranged under proper heads or titles
  2. A compilation of statutes or decisions analytically arranged; a summary of laws.
    Comyn's Digest
    the United States Digest
  3. Any collection of articles, as an Internet mailing list including a week's postings, or a magazine arranging a collection of writings.
    Reader's Digest is published monthly.
    The weekly email digest contains all the messages exchanged during the past week.
  4. (cryptography) The result of applying a hash function to a message.
Usage notes[edit]
  • (compilation of statutes or decisions analytically arranged): The term is applied in a general sense to the Pandects of Justinian, but is also specially given by authors to compilations of laws on particular topics.


Old French[edit]


Borrowed from Latin dīgestus.


digest m (oblique and nominative feminine singular digeste)

  1. digested