View synonyms for retrieve


[ ri-treev ]

verb (used with object)

, re·trieved, re·triev·ing.
  1. to recover or regain:

    to retrieve the stray ball.

  2. to bring back to a former and better state; restore:

    to retrieve one's fortunes.

  3. to make amends for:

    to retrieve an error.

  4. to make good; repair:

    to retrieve a loss.

  5. Hunting. (of hunting dogs) to fetch (killed or wounded game).
  6. to draw back or reel in (a fishing line).
  7. to rescue; save.
  8. (in tennis, squash, handball, etc.) to make an in-bounds return of (a shot requiring running with the hand extended).
  9. Computers. to locate and read (data) from storage, as for display on a monitor.

verb (used without object)

, re·trieved, re·triev·ing.
  1. Hunting. to retrieve game.
  2. to retrieve a fishing line.


  1. an act of retrieving; recovery.
  2. the possibility of recovery.


/ rɪˈtriːv /


  1. to get or fetch back again; recover

    he retrieved his papers from various people's drawers

  2. to bring back to a more satisfactory state; revive
  3. to extricate from trouble or danger; rescue or save
  4. to recover or make newly available (stored information) from a computer system
  5. also intr (of a dog) to find and fetch (shot game)
  6. tennis squash badminton to return successfully (a shot difficult to reach)
  7. to recall; remember


  1. the act of retrieving
  2. the chance of being retrieved

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Derived Forms

  • reˈtrievably, adverb
  • reˈtrievable, adjective
  • reˌtrievaˈbility, noun

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Other Words From

  • re·trieva·ble adjective
  • re·trieva·bili·ty noun
  • nonre·trieva·ble adjective
  • unre·trieva·ble adjective
  • unre·trieved adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of retrieve1

First recorded in 1375–1425; late Middle English retreven, from Middle French retroev-, retreuv-, tonic stem of retrouver “to find again,” equivalent to re- re- + trouver “to find”; trover

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Word History and Origins

Origin of retrieve1

C15: from Old French retrover , from re- + trouver to find, perhaps from Vulgar Latin tropāre (unattested) to compose; see trover , troubadour

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Synonym Study

See recover.

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Example Sentences

Funeral directors couldn’t quickly answer the calls of grieving families, much less retrieve bodies.

The cop reholsters his gun, and it seems to have ended with no further bloodshed as he moves to retrieve the knife.

When gunshots burst out, she ran to retrieve her child from school and returned to her house just as a bomb hit next door.

After weeks of training, the first mission set out to retrieve Kent Brantly, an American doctor.

He put it down his shirt and asked her to retrieve it, saying she was “all talk” and “no play” when she refused.

Rising to retrieve it, I offer her what meager reassurance I can muster.

I could not stop to retrieve the question papers with a pair of tongs—as I might, had I not been hurried.

From that moment he did everything that mortal man could do to retrieve his fatal mistake.

This young king continued the war, but was unable to retrieve the ill-fortunes of his people.

As Parr moved to retrieve these, his companions called out to halt him.

Lady Evenswood, with a quick perception, tried to retrieve the observation.


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