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Listen to an audio pronunciation
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to excavate)
a. to dig (deep)
Los piratas escarbaron un hoyo para enterrar el tesoro.The pirates dug a hole to bury the treasure.
b. to scratch around in (superficially)
Las gallinas escarbaban la tierra del jardín.The hens were scratching around in the soil in the yard.
c. to dig up (causing damage)
A mi perro le gusta escarbar el césped.My dog likes digging up the lawn.
2. (to remove matter from)
a. to pick (one's teeth or nose)
No hay que escarbar los dientes en público.You shouldn't pick your teeth in public.
b. to clean (one's ears)
No es recomendable escarbar los oídos con un hisopo.It's not advisable to clean your ears with a cotton swab.
3. (to stir fire)
a. to poke
Escarba la lumbre antes de que se apague.Can you poke the fire before it goes out?
4. (to inquire into)
a. to investigate
Tras cinco años escarbando el asunto, estoy seguro de que lo del fantasma es pura invención.After five years investigating the matter, I'm certain the ghost story is pure invention.
An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
5. (to search around; used with "en" or "entre")
a. to poke around in
Mi abuela estaba escarbando entre la hierba en busca de algo.My grandmother was poking around in the grass, looking for something.
b. to scrabble around on
Su hermana llevaba diez minutos escarbando en el suelo porque había perdido una lentilla.His sister had been scrabbling around on the floor for ten minutes because she'd lost a contact lens.
c. to rummage around in
El aduanero escarbó en la maleta y encontró un paquete.The customs officer rummaged around in the suitcase and found a package.
6. (to inquire; used with "en")
a. to delve into
Escarbé en viejos periódicos esperando encontrar información.I delved into old newspapers hoping to find information.
b. to pry into
El periodista escarbó en la vida personal del actor.The journalist pried into the actor's personal life.
c. to investigate
El detective escarbó en el pasado de mi primo y concluyó que tenía problemas psicológicos.The detective investigated my cousin's past and concluded that he had psychological problems.
A reflexive verb is a verb that indicates that the subject performs an action on itself (e.g. Miguel se lava.).
7. (to remove matter from)
a. to pick (one's teeth or nose)
Le dije al niño que no se escarbara la nariz.I told the boy to stop picking his nose.
b. to clean (one's ears)
¡Deja de escarbarte los oídos y escúchame!Stop cleaning your ears and listen to me!
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A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (general)
a. to scratch, to scrape
Copyright © 2006 Harrap Publishers Limited
transitive verb
1 (remover) [+tierra] to scratch; [+fuego] to poke; [+dientes] to pick
2 (investigar) to investigate; delve into; (curiosear) to pry into
intransitive verb
1 to scratch
escarbar en to investigate; delve into; (curiosear) to pry into
Collins Complete Spanish Electronic Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers 2011
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