verb (used with object), re·trieved, re·triev·ing.

verb (used without object), re·trieved, re·triev·ing.

Hunting. to retrieve game.
to retrieve a fishing line.


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

Origin of retrieve

1375–1425; late Middle English retreven < Middle French retroev-, retreuv-, tonic stem of retrouver to find again, equivalent to re- re- + trouver to find; see trover
Related formsre·triev·a·ble, adjectivere·triev·a·bil·i·ty, nounnon·re·triev·a·ble, adjectiveun·re·triev·a·ble, adjectiveun·re·trieved, adjective

Synonyms for retrieve

1. See recover. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for retrieve

Contemporary Examples of retrieve

Historical Examples of retrieve

  • His hat floated off and he grudged the slight effort to retrieve it.

  • Even then it was not too late for Baseek to retrieve the situation.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • He was in want of a youth whom he could trust, and who would help him to retrieve his affairs.

  • Go back to them now and retrieve what you have lost, and see that in the future you are worthier.


    Raphael Sabatini

  • And with that slender capital he intended that night to retrieve his lost fortune.

    The White Lie

    William Le Queux

British Dictionary definitions for retrieve


verb (mainly tr)

to get or fetch back again; recoverhe retrieved his papers from various people's drawers
to bring back to a more satisfactory state; revive
to extricate from trouble or danger; rescue or save
to recover or make newly available (stored information) from a computer system
(also intr) (of a dog) to find and fetch (shot game)
tennis squash badminton to return successfully (a shot difficult to reach)
to recall; remember


the act of retrieving
the chance of being retrieved
Derived Formsretrievable, adjectiveretrievability, nounretrievably, adverb

Word Origin for retrieve

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

early 15c., retreve, originally in reference to dogs finding lost game, from Middle French retruev-, stem of Old French retreuver (Modern French retrouver) "find again, recover, meet again, recognize," from re- "again" (see re-) + trouver "to find," probably from Vulgar Latin *tropare "to compose" (see trove). Altered 16c. to retrive; modern form is from mid-17c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper