[ri-tree-vuh l]
See more synonyms for retrieval on

Origin of retrieval

First recorded in 1635–45; retrieve + -al2 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for retrieval

Historical Examples of retrieval

British Dictionary definitions for retrieval


  1. the act or process of retrieving
  2. the possibility of recovery, restoration, or rectification (esp in the phrase beyond retrieval)
  3. a computer filing operation that recalls records or other data from a file
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 retrieval

1640s, from retrieve + -al (2).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

retrieval in Medicine


  1. The third stage in the memory process, after encoding and storage, involving mental processes associated with bringing stored information back into consciousness.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.