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[rech] /rɛtʃ/
verb (used without object)
to make efforts to vomit.
verb (used with object)
to vomit.
the act or an instance of retching.
Origin of retch
1540-50; variant of reach, Old English hrǣcan to clear the throat (not recorded in ME), derivative of hrāca a clearing of the throat; compare Old Norse hrǣkja to hawk, spit
Can be confused
retch, wretch. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for retch
Historical Examples
  • But a spasm of disgust at the uncleanness of the task to be done made me retch and pause.

    John Splendid Neil Munro
  • He retch he han' in, he did, en git some en put it in he mouf.

    Nights With Uncle Remus Joel Chandler Harris
  • So I retch me a fine bunch of hick'ries I done prepared for dat 'casion.

    The Wit of Women

    Kate Sanborn
  • Cramps assailed him and he clamped his jaws against the desire to retch.

    A Witch Shall Be Born Robert E. Howard
  • What difference did it make what retch was, or the nature of his business here?

    Sinister Paradise Robert Moore Williams
  • The woman, Mercedes Valdar, seemed to catch some of retch's excitement.

    Sinister Paradise Robert Moore Williams
  • Behind him, Mercedes and retch were struggling to their feet.

    Sinister Paradise Robert Moore Williams
  • From the door of the sinking helicopter retch was staring at the raft.

    Sinister Paradise Robert Moore Williams
  • His impulse was to take retch by the throat, to shake words out of him.

    Sinister Paradise Robert Moore Williams
  • In the front of the raft, retch sat with his back to Parker.

    Sinister Paradise Robert Moore Williams
British Dictionary definitions for retch


/rɛtʃ; riːtʃ/
(intransitive) to undergo an involuntary spasm of ineffectual vomiting; heave
to vomit
an involuntary spasm of ineffectual vomiting
Word Origin
Old English hrǣcan; related to Old Norse hrǣkja to spit
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for retch

1540s, originally "to clear the throat, to cough up phlegm," from Old English hræcan "to cough up, spit" (related to hraca "phlegm"), from Proto-Germanic *khrækijanan (cf. Old High German rahhison "to clear one's throat"), of imitative origin (cf. Lithuanian kregeti "to grunt"). Meaning "to make efforts to vomit" is from 1850; sense of "to vomit" is first attested 1888. Related: Retched; retching.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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retch in Medicine

retch (rěch)
v. retched, retch·ing, retch·es
To try to vomit.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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