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)

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Molsberry is working with the Orange County district attorney’s office to figure out how to get a warrant and lawfully retrieve video footage and location history from the drone. Alex Wigglesworth, Los Angeles Times, 7 June 2021 Last summer, Whitney felt strong enough to finally retrieve Leslie's ashes from the funeral home and by September, the family organized a memorial service. Christopher Snowbeck, Star Tribune, 5 June 2021 With just over 48 hours to go, Scott Ward (Dave Bautista), a veteran of the deadly outbreak turned short order cook, is approached by billionaire Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada) to put together a reliable group to retrieve his money from a safe. Anne Cohen,, 21 May 2021 As the ball rolled toward the Royals' dugout, Rogers popped up and lurched to retrieve it. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, 23 May 2021 West Desert, where scientists will be waiting to retrieve it. Mike Wehner, BGR, 11 May 2021 But Colonial’s data hadn’t yet been sent, which allowed investigators to retrieve it, the people said. Jordan Robertson, Fortune, 11 May 2021 The fish was found on Newport Beach on Friday and Crystal Cove State Park staff were able to retrieve it intact. Chris Perkins,, 10 May 2021 If your phone was stolen, never try to retrieve it on your own. Marc Saltzman, USA TODAY, 8 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun It can easily be adjusted for a right or left-handed retrieve. Outdoor Life, 22 Mar. 2021 One of my favorite ways to fish it is called the yo-yo retrieve. Dave Hurteau, Field & Stream, 19 Mar. 2021 For poppers, stay with a retrieve fast enough to create a V-wake. Steve Culton, Field & Stream, 22 Mar. 2021 The little crankbait, just 2.25″ long, works well on a high-speed crank, and can be thrown a mile due to its ½ ounce weight and a rolling weight transfer system that sends the weight to the tail on the cast, then back to the nose on retrieve. Frank Sargeant, al, 31 Jan. 2021 And while a steady retrieve works well enough at times, mixing other retrieves in can be key to scoring more frequently. Frank Sargeant, al, 24 Jan. 2021 Once the retrieve is ingrained, go on shed hunting hikes through open fields, food plots, and wooded areas. T. Edward Nickens, Field & Stream, 26 Nov. 2020 In my experience, the fast retrieve often catches the stripers that turned their noses up at everything else. John Merwin, Field & Stream, 23 Oct. 2019 Large arbor for speedy line retrieve with customizable flat back surface for compatible decals. Mark Heim |, al, 6 Aug. 2020

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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Learn More About retrieve

Time Traveler for retrieve

Time Traveler

The first known use of retrieve was in 1658

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Statistics for retrieve

Last Updated

12 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Retrieve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

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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 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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