verb (used with object)
  1. to go and bring back; return with; get: to go up a hill to fetch a pail of water.
  2. to cause to come; bring: to fetch a doctor.
  3. to sell for or bring (a price, financial return, etc.): The horse fetched $50 more than it cost.
  4. Informal. to charm; captivate: Her beauty fetched the coldest hearts.
  5. to take (a breath).
  6. to utter (a sigh, groan, etc.).
  7. to deal or deliver (a stroke, blow, etc.).
  8. to perform or execute (a movement, step, leap, etc.).
  9. Chiefly Nautical and British Dialect. to reach; arrive at: to fetch port.
  10. Hunting. (of a dog) to retrieve (game).
verb (used without object)
  1. to go and bring things.
  2. Chiefly Nautical. to move or maneuver.
  3. Hunting. to retrieve game (often used as a command to a dog).
  4. to go by an indirect route; circle (often followed by around or about): We fetched around through the outer suburbs.
  1. the act of fetching.
  2. the distance of fetching: a long fetch.
  3. Oceanography.
    1. an area where ocean waves are being generated by the wind.
    2. the length of such an area.
  4. the reach or stretch of a thing.
  5. a trick; dodge.
Verb Phrases
  1. fetch about, Nautical. (of a sailing vessel) to come onto a new tack.
  2. fetch up,
    1. Informal.to arrive or stop.
    2. Older Use.to raise (children); bring up: She had to fetch up her younger sisters.
    3. Nautical.(of a vessel) to come to a halt, as by lowering an anchor or running aground; bring up.
  1. fetch and carry, to perform menial tasks.

Origin of fetch

before 1000; Middle English fecchen, Old English fecc(e)an, variant of fetian to fetch (compare Middle English feten, fetten, British dialect fet; akin to Old English -fat in sīthfat journey, German fassen to grasp)
Related formsfetch·er, noun

Synonym study

1. See bring.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for fetch and carry


verb (mainly tr)
  1. to go after and bring back; getto fetch help
  2. to cause to come; bring or draw forththe noise fetched him from the cellar
  3. (also intr) to cost or sell for (a certain price)the table fetched six hundred pounds
  4. to utter (a sigh, groan, etc)
  5. informal to deal (a blow, slap, etc)
  6. (also intr) nautical to arrive at or proceed by sailing
  7. informal to attractto be fetched by an idea
  8. (used esp as a command to dogs) to retrieve (shot game, an object thrown, etc)
  9. rare to draw in (a breath, gasp, etc), esp with difficulty
  10. fetch and carry to perform menial tasks or run errands
  1. the reach, stretch, etc, of a mechanism
  2. a trick or stratagem
  3. the distance in the direction of the prevailing wind that air or water can travel continuously without obstruction

Word Origin for fetch

Old English feccan; related to Old Norse feta to step, Old High German sih fazzōn to climb


  1. the ghost or apparition of a living person

Word Origin for fetch

C18: of unknown origin
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

Word Origin and History for fetch and carry



"apparition, specter, a double," 1787, of unknown origin (see OED for discussion).



Old English feccan, apparently a variant of fetian, fatian "to fetch, bring near, obtain; induce; to marry," probably from Proto-Germanic *fatojanan (cf. Old Frisian fatia "to grasp, seize, contain," Old Norse feta "to find one's way," Middle Dutch vatten, Old High German sih faggon "to mount, climb," German fassen "to grasp, contain"). Variant form fet, a derivation of the older Old English version of the word, survived as a competitor until 17c. Related: Fetched; fetching.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with fetch and carry

fetch and carry

Do errands and other menial tasks, as in She was hired as administrative assistant, but all she does is fetch and carry for the department's supervisor. This expression originally alluded to dogs that were taught to carry various objects for their masters. It has been applied to humans since the late 1700s.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.