Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

retrieve - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb     retrieve pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
present tense
present participleretrieving
past tenseretrieved
past participleretrieved
  1. 1
    [transitive] formal to get something back, especially something that is not easy to find

    She stooped to retrieve the key from the ground.

    rescue efforts to retrieve the bodies of the victims

  2. 2
    [transitive] computing to find information that is stored in a computer in order to use it again
  3. 3
    [transitive] to save or protect something that is going to be lost, damaged, or destroyed

    The family retrieved only a few personal items from the burning home.

  4. 4
    [intransitive/transitive] if a dog retrieves something, it finds it and brings it back to you, for example a ball that you have thrown or a bird that you have shot

derived word

  • Facebook
  • Twitter


a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play