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

transitive verb

: to locate and bring in (killed or wounded game)
: to call to mind again
: to get back again : regain
: to return (something, such as a ball or shuttlecock that is difficult to reach) successfully
: restore, revive
his writing retrieves the past
: to remedy the evil consequences of : correct
: 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
retrievability noun
retrievable adjective


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

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
On its website, the church shared 18 Nativity images for members to retrieve and share or maybe use as a screen saver on their laptops, tablets or phones. Scott D. Pierce, The Salt Lake Tribune, 29 Dec. 2022 After driving five hours from Oakland to Los Angeles on Monday after her flight was canceled, Kate Schelter waited for hours in line at the Southwest terminal at LAX on Tuesday morning attempting to obtain a refund and retrieve her family’s luggage. Los Angeles Times, 27 Dec. 2022 Until then, deep sea divers had to risk their lives to find and retrieve pearl oysters. Mythili Devarakonda, USA TODAY, 25 Dec. 2022 Consider finding a community location for neighbors to move to, or retrieve an alternative power source, such as a portable charger or power bank. Kiara Alfonseca, ABC News, 23 Dec. 2022 Enterprise search—the way that organizations search and retrieve private internal data—is likewise on the cusp of a new golden age. Rob Toews, Forbes, 20 Dec. 2022 The Mars Sample Return program, run jointly by NASA and the European Space Agency, will be an effort to land on Mars, retrieve the samples and return them to Earth over the next decade. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 16 Dec. 2022 In October 1998, police received court permission to exhume his body and retrieve DNA samples. Praveena Somasundaram, Washington Post, 9 Dec. 2022 Blake’s attorney, Carlus Haynes of Orlando, said the Midway man plans to contest Seminole’s motion and retrieve the dogs that belong to him. Martin E. Comas, Orlando Sentinel, 9 Dec. 2022
Chatterbaits can be fished in different ways that vary based on your retrieve. Max Inchausti, Field & Stream, 23 Jan. 2023 Only the store-and-retrieve idea can account for this pattern. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 16 May 2012 Funeral directors couldn’t quickly answer the calls of grieving families, much less retrieve bodies. Carson Kessler, ProPublica, 25 July 2022 Lures are worked in the twitch-twitch-twitch motion that causes a zig-zagging stop and go action, but the retrieve can be much faster than normal because the fish are fired up and triggered by the fast moving bait. Frank Sargeant, al, 5 Sep. 2021 The police alerted the F.B.I., which had an agent retrieve Ms. Biden’s diary and other belongings. New York Times, 20 Mar. 2022 Keeping the rod high, at least 45 degrees above the surface, greatly facilitates this retrieve and allows feeling a pickerel taking the lure or bait. Bill May,, 21 Nov. 2021 Their level-wind line retrieve combined with high amount of line storage set them apart from other types for reels for deep saltwater applications. The Editors, Field & Stream, 3 Sep. 2019 The retrieve can be lengthened by letting the fly drift downcurrent before retrieving. Bill May,, 24 Oct. 2021 See More

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.

Word History



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

First Known Use


1814, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1658, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of retrieve was in 1658

Dictionary Entries Near retrieve

Cite this Entry

“Retrieve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


retrieved; retrieving
: to find and bring in killed or wounded game
teach a dog how to retrieve
: to recover or make good a loss or damage
retrieved artifacts from the shipwreck
: to get and bring back
especially : to recover (as information) from storage

More from Merriam-Webster on retrieve

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