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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)

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Keep the firearm close enough to them to be able to readily retrieve it. The Arizona Republic, 18 Apr. 2024 Surveillance footage shared on X (formerly Twitter) introduced into evidence showed Ortiz repeatedly retrieving IV bags from the warming bin and replacing them shortly thereafter. Kc Baker, Peoplemag, 17 Apr. 2024 Three California correctional officers were injured Thursday morning, including one who was stabbed twice, at a prison hospital in Stockton where an inmate reportedly retrieved a weapon and attacked the officers, state authorities said. Rosalio Ahumada, Sacramento Bee, 12 Apr. 2024 Officers later retrieved the monkey from a vacant home under construction. Jade Thomas, The Indianapolis Star, 12 Apr. 2024 Two rescuers attached themselves to a 200-foot rescue line and were lowered into the heavily wooded area to retrieve the driver. Cameron MacDonald, The Mercury News, 11 Apr. 2024 Jax was the person to retrieve Woodland’s hole-in-one shot from the cup. Gary Bedore, Kansas City Star, 11 Apr. 2024 The agency charged Douglas with two violations each of hunting in a closed season, illegally tagging big game, failure to retrieve big game, and tagging violations. Dac Collins, Outdoor Life, 10 Apr. 2024 Well, some of the things retrieved … were used zip ties with human blood and DNA of Jennifer Dulos on them … female undergarments … a Vineyard Vines shirt in the size that Jennifer wore. Erin Moriarty, CBS News, 6 Apr. 2024
This allows the bait to fall straight and fast through the water column, as well ride true during a steady retrieve or when rip-jigging. David A. Rose, Field & Stream, 20 Mar. 2024 While a twitch here and there might induce a strike when fish are finicky, for the most part, a slow, steady retrieve is all that’s necessary. David A. Rose, Field & Stream, 20 Mar. 2024 Target shallow smallmouth hangouts like rocky points, ledges and outcroppings, and slow your retrieve as much as possible while maintaining your lure’s proper action. Jordan Rodriguez, Idaho Statesman, 31 Jan. 2024 The square bill and single-jointed construction of this surface lure allows for a walk-the-dog action on a simple, straightforward retrieve. Mark Modoski, Field & Stream, 4 Jan. 2024 In my experience, the fast retrieve often catches the stripers that turned their noses up at everything else. Jimmy Fee, Field & Stream, 13 Sep. 2023 Which is easier to train, a Lab or a golden retriever? Both Labs and goldens can be trained to perform a wide range of tasks, from making multiple blind retrieves to working as seeing-eye or other types of service dogs. Phil Bourjaily, Field & Stream, 21 Sep. 2023 Fishermen report allowing the 1-ounce barrel sinker to touch lake bottom before beginning their retrieve, with most strikes coming when the spinner rig is 2 to 4 feet off the bottom. cleveland, 20 July 2023 The long-stroke spool and one-piece bail fight tangles and promote orderly line lay on the retrieve. Morgan Lyle, Field & Stream, 4 May 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'retrieve.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 23 Apr. 2024.

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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