re·trieve | \ri-ˈtrēv \
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 \ noun
retrievable \ri-ˈtrē-və-bəl \ adjective

Examples of retrieve in a Sentence


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

On her way to retrieve him, however, Nya falls prey to a group of men hiding under a sewer grate., "How Does The First Purge Deal With Sexual Assault?," 6 July 2018 On future missions astronauts expect to release small satellites with the mechanical arm and to rendezvous with ailing satellites to retrieve them for repairs in orbit or back on Earth., "June 19, 1983: Ride, Sally Ride," 19 June 2018 Carr was carjacked at the location in September of 2017 but was able to retrieve the car the same day, when officers noticed the vehicle nearby with the offenders still inside. Jeremy Gorner,, "As the number of carjackings in Chicago rises, so has the number of juvenile suspects arrested for it," 13 June 2018 The BlackBerry device was also able to retrieve identifying information for nearly 295,000 Facebook users. Michael Laforgia, The Seattle Times, "Facebook let phone makers get data trove on users and friends," 3 June 2018 On Saturday, lifeguards recovered one body and U.S. Coast Guard crews were able to retrieve another body, according to Coast Guard officials. Keiko Morris, WSJ, "Crews Suspend Search a Day After Plane Crash Off Long Island," 3 June 2018 Together, the group was able to retrieve the 3-foot-long object from the murky water and pull it to shore. Jennifer Earl, Fox News, "Michigan girls discover World War I practice bomb while diving for treasure in lake," 31 May 2018 But lines of at least 15 minutes awaited those who needed to purchase tickets or retrieve them from will call. David Lindquist, Indianapolis Star, "Sights and sounds away from cars make it a colorful Indianapolis 500," 27 May 2018 After the Indiana attack, students were bused to the Noblesville High School gym, where hundreds of parents and other family members arrived to retrieve them. CBS News, "Indiana teacher who tackled shooter released from hospital," 26 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The event featured a big air, extreme vertical, speed retrieve and iron dog competitions. Lindsey Salvatelli, Lake County News-Sun, "High-flying dogs make a splash at Libertyville Dog Days," 8 July 2018 Both are short, fat floaters that wobble down to a foot or two on a steady retrieve. Joe Songer,, "See video of a turkey hunter calling up a bobcat," 30 Apr. 2018 Make contact with the rocks on the high bluff sides and then slow your retrieve. Tyler Mahoney Special To The Star, kansascity, "Fishing report: Uneven weather makes for mixed results on the water | The Kansas City Star," 28 Mar. 2018 Some anglers use a larger, lightly weighted swimbait to catch these guys, allowing it to flutter down through the surface action before starting the retrieve. Frank Sargeant,, "Find the bait, find the bass," 30 Aug. 2017 Too slow a retrieve gives the fish too much time to shake off. Mark Yuasa, The Seattle Times, "Lake trout, rainbows and kokanee top the “to do” list of fishing activities around Lake Chelan," 19 May 2017 Too fast a retrieve allows the fish leverage to tear off the hooks. Mark Yuasa, The Seattle Times, "Lake trout, rainbows and kokanee top the “to do” list of fishing activities around Lake Chelan," 19 May 2017 Minnich said the best way to fish it for shallow-water reds is with a steady retrieve. Todd Masson,, "This trout lure even better for redfish, angler says," 17 May 2017

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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Statistics for retrieve

Last Updated

20 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for retrieve

The first known use of retrieve was in 1658

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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 \
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.

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Comments on retrieve

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lying above or upon

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