Definition of retch in English:

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Pronunciation: /reCH/


[no object]
1Make the sound and movement of vomiting.
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
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.


A movement or sound of vomiting.
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'.

Words that rhyme with retch

etch, fetch, ketch, kvetch, lech, outstretch, sketch, stretch, vetch, wretch

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: retch

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