v. re·trieved, re·triev·ing, re·trieves
a. To get back into one's grasp, possession, or control, especially from a known place or a place of storage: retrieved his coat from the closet.
b. To go to and bring or escort back (someone): retrieved his friend from the bus station.
c. To search for, find, and bring back: divers retrieving artifacts from a shipwreck.
d. To search for, find, and carry back (killed game or a thrown object). Used of dogs.
e. To gain access to (stored information).
2. To recall to mind (a memory, for example); remember.
a. To rescue or save: tried to retrieve him from the degradation of life as a runaway.
b. Sports To make a difficult but successful return of (a ball or shuttlecock, as in tennis or badminton).
4. To restore to a former or desirable condition: did whatever he could to retrieve his honor.
5. To rectify the unfavorable consequences of; remedy: "An attempt was made to retrieve the blunder" (Francis Parkman).
To find and bring back game or a thrown object: a dog trained to retrieve.
1. The act of retrieving; retrieval.
2. Sports A difficult but successful return of a ball or shuttlecock.
[Middle English retreven, from Old French retrover, retruev- : re-, re- + trover, to find; see TROVER.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.