re·​trieve | \ ri-ˈtrēv How to pronounce retrieve (audio) \
retrieved; retrieving

Definition of retrieve

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to locate and bring in (killed or wounded game)
2 : to call to mind again
3 : to get back again : regain
4a : rescue, salvage
b : to return (something, such as a ball or shuttlecock that is difficult to reach) successfully
5 : restore, revive his writing retrieves the past
6 : to remedy the evil consequences of : correct
7 : to get and bring back especially : to recover from storage retrieve information

intransitive verb

: to bring in game a dog that retrieves well also : to bring back an object thrown by a person



Definition of retrieve (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : retrieval
2 : the successful return of a ball that is difficult to reach or control (as in tennis)

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Other Words from retrieve


retrievability \ ri-​ˌtrē-​və-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce retrieve (audio) \ noun
retrievable \ ri-​ˈtrē-​və-​bəl How to pronounce retrieve (audio) \ adjective

Examples of retrieve in a Sentence

Verb Many archaeological relics were retrieved from the site. Police retrieved his stolen car. You can quickly retrieve data. The files were retrieved from the computer. He was able to retrieve the document. The dog is learning how to retrieve. The dog has been trained to retrieve birds.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Lowe, who was living in the dorms at the time, offered to go out of his way and drive Jackson back to his apartment to retrieve the Airpods. Josh Newman, The Salt Lake Tribune, 5 Oct. 2021 Yeoh plays Scían, the last of a nomadic tribe of sword-elves on a quest to retrieve a sword stolen from her people by nefarious means. Nick Romano,, 25 Sep. 2021 Decades ago, the legendary warrior known as Baabarian led his clan on a dangerous quest to retrieve the great ring, which had fallen into the hands of the evil Lord of the League. Scott Patsko, cleveland, 11 Sep. 2021 There was clearly no close consultation with allies, no response to the Taliban’s moving to topple the Afghan government, and no plan to retrieve sophisticated U.S. war-fighting equipment. Karl Rove, WSJ, 25 Aug. 2021 Chinese leaders defend their efforts to retrieve fugitives. Sebastian Rotella, ProPublica, 23 July 2021 Nicholas retreated to his apartment to retrieve his granddaughter and girlfriend and leave. al, 20 July 2021 Some people say that being able to predict the future is what’s key for AI, or being able to have common sense, or the ability to retrieve memories that are useful in a current situation. Quanta Magazine, 19 July 2021 But Jones clung to a car door in an attempt to retrieve his money, and one of the vehicle occupants shot him, police said. Clifford Ward,, 16 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The casting fishermen are targeting the walleye suspending about 8 to 10 feet below the surface to feed, relying on a slow retrieve to get bites. cleveland, 10 June 2021 It can easily be adjusted for a right or left-handed retrieve. Outdoor Life, 22 Mar. 2021 One of my favorite ways to fish it is called the yo-yo retrieve. Dave Hurteau, Field & Stream, 19 Mar. 2021 For poppers, stay with a retrieve fast enough to create a V-wake. Steve Culton, Field & Stream, 22 Mar. 2021 The little crankbait, just 2.25″ long, works well on a high-speed crank, and can be thrown a mile due to its ½ ounce weight and a rolling weight transfer system that sends the weight to the tail on the cast, then back to the nose on retrieve. Frank Sargeant, al, 31 Jan. 2021 And while a steady retrieve works well enough at times, mixing other retrieves in can be key to scoring more frequently. Frank Sargeant, al, 24 Jan. 2021 Once the retrieve is ingrained, go on shed hunting hikes through open fields, food plots, and wooded areas. T. Edward Nickens, Field & Stream, 26 Nov. 2020 In my experience, the fast retrieve often catches the stripers that turned their noses up at everything else. John Merwin, Field & Stream, 23 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'retrieve.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of retrieve


1814, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1658, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for retrieve


Middle English retreven, from Anglo-French retrueve-, present stem of retrover to find again, from re- + trover to compose, invent, find, from Vulgar Latin *tropare — more at troubadour

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Time Traveler for retrieve

Time Traveler

The first known use of retrieve was in 1658

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Dictionary Entries Near retrieve




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Last Updated

10 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Retrieve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for retrieve



English Language Learners Definition of retrieve

: to get and bring (something) back from a place
: to find and get (information) from a computer or disk
: to find and bring birds or animals that have been shot back to a hunter


re·​trieve | \ ri-ˈtrēv How to pronounce retrieve (audio) \
retrieved; retrieving

Kids Definition of retrieve

1 : to get and bring back One of the players retrieved the ball.
2 : to find and bring back killed or wounded game The dog learned to retrieve birds.

More from Merriam-Webster on retrieve

Nglish: Translation of retrieve for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of retrieve for Arabic Speakers


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