charming; captivating.

Origin of fetching

First recorded in 1875–80; fetch1 + -ing2
Related formsfetch·ing·ly, adverbun·fetch·ing, adjective



verb (used with object)

to go and bring back; return with; get: to go up a hill to fetch a pail of water.
to cause to come; bring: to fetch a doctor.
to sell for or bring (a price, financial return, etc.): The horse fetched $50 more than it cost.
Informal. to charm; captivate: Her beauty fetched the coldest hearts.
to take (a breath).
to utter (a sigh, groan, etc.).
to deal or deliver (a stroke, blow, etc.).
to perform or execute (a movement, step, leap, etc.).
Chiefly Nautical and British Dialect. to reach; arrive at: to fetch port.
Hunting. (of a dog) to retrieve (game).

verb (used without object)

to go and bring things.
Chiefly Nautical. to move or maneuver.
Hunting. to retrieve game (often used as a command to a dog).
to go by an indirect route; circle (often followed by around or about): We fetched around through the outer suburbs.


the act of fetching.
the distance of fetching: a long fetch.
  1. an area where ocean waves are being generated by the wind.
  2. the length of such an area.
the reach or stretch of a thing.
a trick; dodge.

Verb Phrases

fetch about, Nautical. (of a sailing vessel) to come onto a new tack.
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.

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for fetching

Contemporary Examples of fetching

Historical Examples of fetching

  • But after all, fetching slippers is not the whole duty of domestic pets.

    Concerning Cats

    Helen M. Winslow

  • Then fetching a difficult breath he said, 'You are not afraid, Glory, are you?'

    The Christian

    Hall Caine

  • Weaned only yesterday, and fetching a dacent man out of his bed to find them.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • Fetching the child to the wedding to have the bad name taken off it—no?

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • She helped silently, fetching water and more sticks for the fire.

    The Treasure Trail

    Marah Ellis Ryan

British Dictionary definitions for fetching


adjective informal

attractively befittinga fetching hat
charminga fetching personality
Derived Formsfetchingly, adverb



verb (mainly tr)

to go after and bring back; getto fetch help
to cause to come; bring or draw forththe noise fetched him from the cellar
(also intr) to cost or sell for (a certain price)the table fetched six hundred pounds
to utter (a sigh, groan, etc)
informal to deal (a blow, slap, etc)
(also intr) nautical to arrive at or proceed by sailing
informal to attractto be fetched by an idea
(used esp as a command to dogs) to retrieve (shot game, an object thrown, etc)
rare to draw in (a breath, gasp, etc), esp with difficulty
fetch and carry to perform menial tasks or run errands


the reach, stretch, etc, of a mechanism
a trick or stratagem
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




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 fetching

1580s, "crafty, scheming," present participle adjective from fetch. The sense of "alluring, fascinating" is by 1880.



"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