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 Jett’s then demanded its own payment — sometimes more than the city’s, and demanded cash for owners to retrieve their vehicles. John Archibald |, al, 26 Apr. 2022 Burdon went into his trunk to retrieve a sledgehammer, the footage shows. Kala Kachmar, The Courier-Journal, 22 Apr. 2022 Lawyers for Trump had proposed a date in December for the Archives to retrieve the boxes but settled on early January. Gabby Orr, CNN, 7 Feb. 2022 Police left a message for the owner to retrieve it at the station. cleveland, 17 Dec. 2021 As Rob stood waiting for the nurse to retrieve his shoelaces and driver's license, a third woman, no older than 20, was pulling on his sleeve. Meg Kissinger,, 31 Aug. 2021 The interpreter arranged for three Afghan soldiers to retrieve Asad’s family and get them into the airport. Andrew Dyer, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 Aug. 2021 Instead, the medals will be placed on a table for the competitors to retrieve while not making contact with the presenters., 21 July 2021 Some items taken have to be kept for 30 days to allow for the owner to retrieve them. Scott Carroll, oregonlive, 15 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 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 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

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The first known use of retrieve was in 1658

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Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Retrieve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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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


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