Definition of retch in English:


Syllabification: retch
Pronunciation: /reCH


[no object]
  • 1Make the sound and movement of vomiting.
    More example sentences
    • Gabriel was very much awake, leaning over one side of the cot, coughing and retching as phlegm emitted from his mouth and fell to the floor.
    • She had seen him sweat and shake and retch in the grip of his craving.
    • Just a dry retch was all I could manage.
    gag, heave, almost vomit
  • 1.1Vomit.
    More example sentences
    • For one moment, you forget whether you have come to empty your bladder or retch up the morning's breakfast.
    • I have seen protruding bellies, working so hard to get nutrients out of food that only rests for a few minutes before being retched up again.
    • William was pleased that he had not been sick, although a few of the prisoners had spent most of the journey with their head over the side retching their empty stomachs out.


Back to top  
  • A movement or sound of vomiting.
    More example sentences
    • Rayne finished retching up the small amount of food quickly, but continued dry, racking retches for several seconds.
    • I get up blindly and leave, and outside spit egg-and-bread into my hands, dry retches of nothing clogging my throat like the tears which keep coming.
    • After the last retch, Stine forcefully bit down on his lip, as if to keep from vomiting again.


mid 19th century: variant of dialect reach, from a Germanic base meaning 'spittle'.

More definitions of retch

Definition of retch in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day kerf
Pronunciation: kəːf
a slit made by cutting with a saw