Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To get back; regain.
  • transitive v. To rescue or save.
  • transitive v. Sports To make a difficult but successful return of (a ball or shuttlecock, as in tennis or badminton).
  • transitive v. To bring back again; revive or restore.
  • transitive v. To rectify the unfavorable consequences of; remedy. See Synonyms at recover.
  • transitive v. To recall to mind; remember.
  • transitive v. To find and carry back; fetch.
  • intransitive v. To find and bring back game: a dog trained to retrieve.
  • n. The act of retrieving; retrieval.
  • n. Sports A difficult but successful return of a ball or shuttlecock.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To regain or get back something.
  • v. To rescue (a) creature(s)
  • v. To salvage something
  • v. To remedy or rectify something.
  • v. To remember or recall something.
  • v. To fetch or carry back something.
  • v. To fetch and bring in game.
  • v. To fetch and bring in game systematically.
  • v. To fetch or carry back systematically, notably as a game.
  • v. (transitive) To make a difficult but successful return of the ball.
  • n. A retrieval
  • n. The return of a difficult ball
  • n. A seeking again; a discovery.
  • n. The recovery of game once sprung.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To find again; to recover; to regain; to restore from loss or injury.
  • transitive v. To recall; to bring back.
  • transitive v. To remedy the evil consequence of, to repair, as a loss or damadge.
  • intransitive v. To discover and bring in game that has been killed or wounded.
  • n. A seeking again; a discovery.
  • n. The recovery of game once sprung; -- an old sporting term.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To find again; discover again; recover; regain.
  • Specifically, in hunting, to search for and fetch: as, a dog retrieves killed or wounded birds or other game to the sportsman.
  • To bring back to a state of well-being, prosperity, or success; restore; reëstablish: as, to retrieve one's credit.
  • To make amends for; repair; better; ameliorate.
  • To find, recover, or restore anything; specifically, in sporting, to seek and bring killed or wounded game: as, the dog retrieves well.
  • n. A seeking again; a discovery; a recovery; specifically, in hunting, the recovery of game once sprung.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. get or find back; recover the use of
  • v. go for and bring back
  • v. recall knowledge from memory; have a recollection
  • v. run after, pick up, and bring to the master

Etymologies

Middle English retreven, from Old French retrover, retruev- : re-, re- + trover, to find; see trover.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Recorded in Middle English c.1410 as retreve (altered to retrive in the 16th century; modern form is from c.1650), from Middle French retruev-, stem of Old French (=modern) retrouver "to find again", itself from re- "again" + trouver "to find" (probably from Vulgar Latin *tropare ("to compose")) (Wiktionary)

Examples

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