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
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)

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 retrievability (audio) \ noun
retrievable \ ri-​ˈtrē-​və-​bəl How to pronounce retrievable (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 Only one worker is sent out in a van when scooters are retrieved from the streets for recharging. Robert Higgs, cleveland, "Cleveland asks scooter vendors to pull vehicles from streets as city sorts out coronavirus implications," 1 May 2020 Fertilization The same day that the eggs are retrieved, they are combined with sperm (a partner’s or donated) in a lab. Minhae Shim Roth, Glamour, "What Is IVF? Your Complete Guide to Understanding the Process," 20 Apr. 2020 In terms of solutions, recipients would be smart to try to ensure there’s a secure container or location to store packages until they can be retrieved. Ben Stickle, The Conversation, "Porch piracy: Here’s what we learned after watching hours of YouTube videos showing packages being pilfered from homes," 1 Apr. 2020 It can be left by the door to be retrieved or left in the kitchen for the sick person to come out and eat. USA Today, "Sick at home with COVID-19: How to care for your loved ones infected with coronavirus," 21 Mar. 2020 The owner of the property was not located and the property was retrieved and taken for safekeeping. Houston Chronicle, "West University Place Police Department weekly report," 9 Mar. 2020 Take heart, though, those absentee ballots can be retrieved and revoted for any reason. Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan primary election 2020: Yes, you can change your vote on absentee ballots," 2 Mar. 2020 For example, a user can request that her gray polka dot blouse be retrieved, instead of having all the drawers come down at once—the technology is that smart. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "This Smart Technology Stores Your Furniture In Ceiling Modules, Doubling Your Storage Space," 25 Feb. 2020 The sheriff said a crack pipe was retrieved from Bowne’s sock. Carol Robinson |, al, "Intruder shot multiple times, gravely wounded in predawn home invasion," 24 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Yes, the retrieve could have been a little smoother, but this is not going to be your finesse reel. Mark Modoski, Field & Stream, "The 20 Best Fishing Reels, Ranked and Reviewed," 3 Apr. 2017 Cast to the bank or tight to cover, and either bring it back slow and sultry with a hand-twist retrieve, or strip it in short 1- and 2-inch strips. T. Edward Nickens, Field & Stream, "The Best Flies for Catching Panfish," 12 Mar. 2020 With a scoop shape similar to a shovel, this simple yet innovative crankbait naturally skitters, switches direction, and changes its vibration on a straight retrieve. Field & Stream, "The Best Hunting and Fishing Gear of the Decade," 27 Dec. 2019 This one, however, yielded to Barrett's steady retrieve and, after 8 minutes, was in the net. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Lake Michigan charter outing provides fresh fish and perspectives," 15 June 2019 Letting the rig sink to the lake bottom and using a slow retrieve has been the key. D'arcy Egan,, "If you aren’t catching walleye on Lake Erie, you aren’t trying: June 14 Fishing Report," 14 June 2019 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

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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Statistics for retrieve

Last Updated

18 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Retrieve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for retrieve


How to pronounce retrieve (audio)

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.

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Comments on retrieve

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