From Middle English twig, twyg, from Old English twiġ, from Proto-Germanic *twīgą (compare West Frisian twiich, Dutch twijg, German Zweig), from Proto-Indo-European *dweygʰom (compare Old Church Slavonic двигъ (dvigŭ, “branch”), Albanian degë (“branch”)), from *dwóh₁. More at two.
twig (plural twigs)
- (colloquial, regional) To realise something; to catch on; to recognize someone or something.
- He hasn't twigged that we're planning a surprise party for him.
- 1765, “A Song in High Life”, in The Merry Medley, volume 1, London: W. Hoggard, page 35:
- I pray you now send me some dub, / A bottle or two to the needy. / I beg you won't bring it yourself, / The harman is at the Old-Bailey; / I'd rather you'd send it behalf, / For, if they twig you they'll nail you.
- 1915, “Putting on the Screw”, in Caught in the Net, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, translation of Les Esclaves de Paris by Émile Gaboriau, page 23:
- I twigged him at once, by the description you gave me. I never see a cove togged out as he was,—tall hat, light sit-down-upons, and a short coat—wasn't it cut short! but in really bang-up style.
- J'y ai reconnu le particulier que vous m'avez dit. Bien vêtu, ma foi! Chapeau rogné, tout plat, pantalon clair, en fourreau de parapluie, veston court, oh! mais d'un court... enfin, le dernier genre.
- 2019 March 13, Drachinifel, 18:23 from the start, in The Russian 2nd Pacific Squadron - Voyage of the Damned, archived from the original on 29 January 2023:
- At this point in our story, we first meet the fleet repair ship Kamchatka, who everyone would soon become regrettably familiar with. Her entry into our account here was her signal that she was under attack by torpedo boats! When she was asked how many, she replied "about eight, from all directions!". Eventually, someone twigged to the fact that absolutely nobody else could see so much as a seagull, let alone any exceptionally-lost Japanese torpedo boats. And, when nothing actually happened, Kamchatka refused to say that it was a false alarm, only that it had altered course and the torpedo boats had gone away.
- To understand the meaning of (a person); to comprehend.
- Do you twig me?
- To observe slyly; also, to perceive; to discover.
- 1863, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Our Old Home:
- This excellent man appears to have sunk into himself in a sitting posture, […] while his exceedingly homely and wrinkled face, held a little on one side, twinkles at you with the shrewdest complacency, as if he were looking right into your eyes and twigged something there which you had half a mind to conceal from him.
- (to realise something): clock, get it, notice; see also Thesaurus:identify
- (to understand the meaning): fathom, figure out, grasp, ken, work out
- (to observe slyly): check out, peep, spy on, surveil
- (obsolete, Scotland) To pull
- 1755, John Shebbeare, Lydia: Or, Filial Piety:
- Frank shall twig your Nose from your Face
- To twitch;
- To tweak.
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 “twig”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.)
twig (plural twigges)
- Any part of a tree, especially a branch or cutting:
- (figurative, rare) A subtype or part of something; the result or descendant of something.