re·trieve | \ ri-ˈtrēv \
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 \ noun
retrievable \ri-ˈtrē-və-bəl \ adjective

Examples of retrieve in a Sentence


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

Firefighters were called to the park shortly before 7:15 p.m. after the vicitm bitten by a gator while retrieving an object from the water, Orange County Fire Rescue spokeswoman Ashley Gipson said. Jason Kelly, ajc, "Man stunned as alligator sneaks up, bites his leg in neighborhood park pond," 12 July 2018 His account was blocked for collecting scooters before 9 p.m., and within minutes Dave E., the Bird supervisor, visited Cruze’s home to deliver an in-person warning and retrieve his scooters. Anna-sofia Lesiv, The Seattle Times, "The cutthroat turf war behind the race to charge Bay Area electric scooters," 10 July 2018 Divers from Thailand and abroad, including the United States, China, Europe, and Australia have helped retrieve the boys, who are between the ages of 11-16. Erin Corbett, Fortune, "4 More Boys Rescued From Thailand Cave," 9 July 2018 His wife walked up to the home and retrieved a keepsake, a square garden stepping stone. J. Harry Jones,, "Some Alpine fire evacuations lifted; residents find homes in ruins," 7 July 2018 Chen Wei and her brother-in-law Xing Yong arrived in Phuket on Saturday afternoon after an overnight flight from Chongqing, and later identified the body of Chen De Qiong, which had been retrieved earlier in the day at a Phuket hospital. Washington Post, "Family of Thai boat disaster victims reveals ominous video," 7 July 2018 Scott shrinks down to a tiny size in order to enter the Quantum Realm and retrieve samples. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "We Finally Know Why Ant-Man Wasn’t In Avengers: Infinity War," 6 July 2018 Bote bonanza: Bote was happy that someone retrieved his home run ball that landed in the shrubs beyond the center-field wall. Mark Gonzales,, "Cubs haven't been sidetracked by missing players," 5 July 2018 The self-locking boxes possess temperature-regulating technology to ensure the comfort of the infant until a person from inside the fire department can retrieve the child. Jordyn Hermani, Indianapolis Star, "Baby is abandoned at fire department, which is what the firefighters want," 2 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Some anglers use a larger, lightly weighted swimbait to catch these guys, allowing it to flutter down through the surface action before starting the retrieve. Frank Sargeant,, "Find the bait, find the bass," 30 Aug. 2017 Too slow a retrieve gives the fish too much time to shake off. Mark Yuasa, The Seattle Times, "Lake trout, rainbows and kokanee top the “to do” list of fishing activities around Lake Chelan," 19 May 2017 Too fast a retrieve allows the fish leverage to tear off the hooks. Mark Yuasa, The Seattle Times, "Lake trout, rainbows and kokanee top the “to do” list of fishing activities around Lake Chelan," 19 May 2017 Minnich said the best way to fish it for shallow-water reds is with a steady retrieve. Todd Masson,, "This trout lure even better for redfish, angler says," 17 May 2017

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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Statistics for retrieve

Last Updated

22 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for retrieve

The first known use of retrieve was in 1658

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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 \
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

What made you want to look up retrieve? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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