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 These AGVs automatically retrieve, place and replenish products without human intervention, moving at speeds up to 20 miles per hour while being controlled by an on-premises application. Rajeev Shah, Forbes, 13 Oct. 2021 Henry Nichols of the nearby USS Pinta to retrieve and return them to Juneau. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, 4 Oct. 2021 Every two days, Miller & Lux staffers will retrieve live heads of romaine, roots still in soil, from Sonoma Hills Farm in Petaluma. Janelle Bitker, San Francisco Chronicle, 28 Sep. 2021 He’s dispatched by his boss (Dwight Yoakam) to retrieve his estranged son, Rafael (Eduardo Minett), from Mexico and bring him back to Texas. John Semley, The New Republic, 23 Sep. 2021 Small, fast aircraft like these can operate without landing strips, retrieve pilots in enemy territory, ferry maintainers to small airfields, and transport munitions. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 21 Sep. 2021 When someone has Alzheimer's disease, the person's brain cells that retrieve, process and store information degenerate and die, according to the Alzheimer's Association. Kristen Rogers, CNN, 30 Aug. 2021 Over the next several days, residents couldn’t pay water bills, the government couldn’t print checks, police officers couldn’t retrieve certain records. Jake Bleiberg And Eric Tucker, The Christian Science Monitor, 26 July 2021 Over the next several days, residents couldn't pay water bills, the government couldn't process payroll, police officers couldn't retrieve certain records. Jake Bleiberg, USA TODAY, 26 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 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

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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Last Updated

22 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Retrieve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Oct. 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.

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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