See more synonyms for retrieve on
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.

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

See more synonyms for on
1. See recover. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for retrieving

Contemporary Examples of retrieving

Historical Examples of retrieving

  • He started down the trail, hastily, after retrieving his gun.

    The Forbidden Trail

    Honor Willsie

  • You mustn't take away my last chance of retrieving the season.

    The Story of a Play

    W. D. Howells

  • Then in the faint hope of yet retrieving his blunder he inquired, "How long will he be here?"

  • His retrieving of game was equal to any of the retrieving I ever saw in any other dogs.

    Anecdotes of Dogs

    Edward Jesse

  • His quickness in retrieving a false position, outwardly, came to his aid.

British Dictionary definitions for retrieving


verb (mainly tr)
  1. to get or fetch back again; recoverhe 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
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 retrieving



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