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)

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In the event that Perseverance can't return the samples to the lander, the little choppers will be able to fly away from the lander, use arms to retrieve the samples and bring them back. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 27 July 2022 Touchpoints not only enhance memorization but enable what is actually the most important part of a memory—the ability to retrieve and recall the memory. Frank Maggio, Forbes, 12 July 2022 Capitol police directed Jacobs and other lawmakers to retrieve gas masks from under their seats and evacuate. Deborah Sullivan Brennan, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 July 2022 Also, there was no sufficient manpower available to retrieve and launch the department’s jet ski, the report says. al, 6 June 2022 In Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Diego Luna's Cassian Andor gave his life alongside his squadron to retrieve the Death Star blueprints from Scarif and change the course of the Rebellion. Nick Romano,, 17 May 2022 Vaught, who had been working in the ICU, was asked to retrieve the medication and administer it to the 75-year-old patient. Timothy Bella, Washington Post, 14 May 2022 Undeterred, Texas is already dispatching buses to the southern border towns to retrieve border crossers and send them to the U.S. Capitol. Marisa Schultz, Fox News, 9 Apr. 2022 That could be difficult to do for Trump, who advisers say tore up documents out of habit, leaving staff to retrieve and reassemble piles of torn paper. Arkansas Online, 10 Feb. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 An aggressive retrieve might be overkill on a calm surface, but these plugs excel amid riffles and chops. Joe Doggett, Chron, 14 Oct. 2021 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 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.

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

Learn More About retrieve

Time Traveler for retrieve

Time Traveler

The first known use of retrieve was in 1658

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near retrieve




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for retrieve

Last Updated

30 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Retrieve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for retrieve


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


Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!