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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for retched
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The Terran retched, coughed up water, and then sat up to look around.

    Storm Over Warlock Andre Norton
  • He retched and spat; and then his hands fumbled in the grass and got hold of a stone.

    Pelle the Conqueror, Complete Martin Anderson Nexo
  • He stahted fer de woods fer ter see who it wuz callin' 'im, but befo' he got dere Ben stepped out an' retched fer im.

    The Conjure Woman Charles W. Chesnutt
  • Dalgard retched before he could control throat and stomach muscles.

    Star Born Andre Norton
  • I dropped flat on my belly and retched a hand under the cliff.

    Blue Ridge Country Jean Thomas
  • So she lay, dry-eyed, her whole body clenched, retched with sobs that would not come up.

    To Him That Hath Leroy Scott
  • They watched me for a time as I grovelled and retched in sickness.

    Bakemono Yashiki (The Haunted House) James S. De Benneville
  • And when Comrade Ossipon had made out the handle of the knife he turned away from the glazed door, and retched violently.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
British Dictionary definitions for retched


/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 retched



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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retched 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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