verb (used with object), re·trieved, re·triev·ing.

  1. to recover or regain: to retrieve the stray ball.
  2. to bring back to a former and better state; restore: to retrieve one’s fortunes.
  3. to make amends for: to retrieve an error.
  4. to make good; repair: to retrieve a loss.
  5. Hunting. (of hunting dogs) to fetch (killed or wounded game).
  6. to draw back or reel in (a fishing line).
  7. to rescue; save.
  8. (in tennis, squash, handball, etc.) to make an in-bounds return of (a shot requiring running with the hand extended).
  9. Computers. to locate and read (data) from storage, as for display on a monitor.

verb (used without object), re·trieved, re·triev·ing.

  1. Hunting. to retrieve game.
  2. to retrieve a fishing line.


  1. an act of retrieving; recovery.
  2. the possibility of recovery.

verb (mainly tr)

  1. to get or fetch back again; recoverhe retrieved his papers from various people’s drawers
  2. to bring back to a more satisfactory state; revive
  3. to extricate from trouble or danger; rescue or save
  4. to recover or make newly available (stored information) from a computer system
  5. (also intr) (of a dog) to find and fetch (shot game)
  6. tennis squash badminton to return successfully (a shot difficult to reach)
  7. to recall; remember


  1. the act of retrieving
  2. the chance of being retrieved

1711, from retrieve + -able.


early 15c., retreve, originally in reference to dogs finding lost game, from Middle French retruev-, stem of Old French retreuver (Modern French retrouver) “find again, recover, meet again, recognize,” from re- “again” (see re-) + trouver “to find,” probably from Vulgar Latin *tropare “to compose” (see trove). Altered 16c. to retrive; modern form is from mid-17c.

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