Definition of retrieve in English:

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Pronunciation: /rəˈtrēv/


[with object]
1Get or bring (something) back; regain possession of: I was sent to retrieve the balls from his garden Steven stooped and retrieved his hat
More example sentences
  • The old man is too enfeebled to make the journey, and sends his young counterpart on the voyage to retrieve the treasure.
  • He is sent to Mexico to retrieve a rare pistol, nicknamed ‘The Mexican.’
  • If you change your will without retrieving the one that was filed, the newer last will and testament will control the disposition of your estate.
get back, bring back, recover, regain (possession of), recoup, reclaim, repossess, redeem, recuperate
1.1(Of a dog) find and bring back (game or an object).
Example sentences
  • If possible, use all the types of birds the dog may retrieve in the future.
  • Each dog was asked to retrieve a pheasant from the river and all of the 16 completed this task without difficulty.
1.2Bring (something) back into one’s mind: the police hope to encourage him to retrieve forgotten memories
More example sentences
  • It's a bracing mental workout that solidifies the memory by actively retrieving information from the recesses of one's own mind.
  • He didn't want to bother trying to remember it, trying to sift through the last few sane portions of his mind and his memories to retrieve the name and the life it had led.
  • They can keep more instructions in mind at once and retrieve information from memory more rapidly.
1.3Find or extract (information stored in a computer).
Example sentences
  • While it is often a good idea to use a database for storing and retrieving information in a web application, it is not always obvious how to go about structuring the tables in that database.
  • To maintain data in a database, data must be retrieved and stored in a consistent, reliable, and efficient manner.
  • When returning to these Web sites, the browser looks for the cookies stored on the computer and retrieves the information to save time.
1.4Put right or improve (an unwelcome situation): he made one last desperate attempt to retrieve the situation
More example sentences
  • On Berg's admission to hospital, there were two unsuccessful attempts to retrieve the situation surgically.
  • Although he was reviled at the time as a shallow opportunist, it is fairer to see Brienne as a pragmatic political operator who did what he could to retrieve an increasingly impossible situation.
  • Though the disaster could have been retrieved, it brought France and Spain into the conflict and placed in jeopardy Britain's command of the seas.
put right, set right, rectify, remedy, restore, sort out, straighten out, resolve, save
1.5 [no object] Reel or bring in a fishing line.
Example sentences
  • A few years ago I attempted to learn how to retrieve fly line into loops held in my hand.
  • Speed can also be critical when the hooked fish is streaking toward you and you must retrieve the slack line in order to keep the fish "on the reel."


1An act of retrieving something, especially game that has been shot.
Example sentences
  • In the trained retrieve, we show the dog how to be successful by first thoroughly teaching it what to do before we begin reinforcing the command "Fetch."
  • Many partially trained dogs tend to "claim the prey" and are reluctant to complete the retrieve because they want to keep it rather than delivering to you.
1.1An act of reeling or drawing in a fishing line.
Example sentences
  • Maybe it is my old spinning days, but I just feel comfortable with my dominant hand holding the rod leaving the left hand for the retrieve.
  • If you start the retrieve with the tip of the rod high above the water, you will create a big belly of slack that absorbs every movement of your line hand.
  • I fished it with such a slow retrieve that the fly was virtually static.
2 archaic The possibility of recovery: he ruined himself beyond retrieve
More example sentences
  • Their strong friendship was beyond retrieve after the last two years.
  • At length, all hope was at an end; I was ruined beyond retrieve.



Pronunciation: /riˌtrēvəˈbilətē/
Example sentences
  • I'm afraid our card database may finally have slipped over the horizon of retrievability.
  • Affordable technology ‘bridges’ move records easily, even at the moment of transaction, between digital, hard copy, or microfilm as needed, easily and with indexing to support retention policies and retrievability.
  • The book also covers how to add keywords, titles, and descriptions to your Web pages to maximize retrievability by the general search engines.


Pronunciation: /rəˈtrēvəbəl/ Pronunciation: /rēˈtrēvəbəl/
Example sentences
  • For information technology to be fully adopted, clinical notions that are often complex must be accurately and easily represented as coded concepts that are ‘user friendly’ and easily retrievable.
  • It holds that the mind can submerge the most traumatic memories in some walled-off place, where they remain unaltered and retrievable in exact detail by a triggering event or therapy.
  • Language that specifically describes nursing care on intraoperative records is required to provide retrievable, reliable information.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'find lost game', said of a hunting dog): from Old French retroeve-, stressed stem of retrover 'find again'.

Words that rhyme with retrieve

achieve, believe, breve, cleave, conceive, deceive, eve, greave, grieve, heave, interleave, interweave, khedive, leave, misconceive, naive, Neve, peeve, perceive, reave, receive, reive, relieve, reprieve, sheave, sleeve, steeve, Steve, Tananarive, Tel Aviv, thieve, underachieve, upheave, weave, we've, Yves

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: re·trieve

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