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  • enPR: fĕch, IPA(key): /fɛtʃ/
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  • Rhymes: -ɛtʃ

Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English fecchen, from Old English feċċan, fæċċan (to fetch). In one view, an alteration of fetian, fatian ("to fetch, marry"; whence also English fet), from Proto-Germanic *fatōną, *fatjaną (to fetch), from Proto-Indo-European *ped- (foot).

Alternative formsEdit


fetch (third-person singular simple present fetches, present participle fetching, simple past and past participle fetched)

  1. To retrieve; to bear towards; to go and get.
    • 1611 King James Bible, 1 Kings xvii. 11, 12
      He called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.
    • 1908, Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
      When they got home, the Rat made a bright fire in the parlour, and planted the Mole in an arm-chair in front of it, having fetched down a dressing-gown and slippers for him, and told him river stories till supper-time.
  2. To obtain as price or equivalent; to sell for.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Thomas Macaulay
      Our native horses were held in small esteem, and fetched low prices.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 3, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      My hopes wa'n't disappointed. I never saw clams thicker than they was along them inshore flats. I filled my dreener in no time, and then it come to me that 'twouldn't be a bad idee to get a lot more, take 'em with me to Wellmouth, and peddle 'em out. Clams was fairly scarce over that side of the bay and ought to fetch a fair price.
    • 2013 August 3, “Yesterday’s fuel”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8847:
      The dawn of the oil age was fairly recent. Although the stuff was used to waterproof boats in the Middle East 6,000 years ago, extracting it in earnest began only in 1859 after an oil strike in Pennsylvania. The first barrels of crude fetched $18 (around $450 at today’s prices).
    If you put some new tyres on it, and clean it up a bit, the car should fetch about $5,000
  3. (nautical) To bring or get within reach by going; to reach; to arrive at; to attain; to reach by sailing.
    to fetch headway or sternway
    • (Can we date this quote?) George Chapman
      Meantime flew our ships, and straight we fetched / The siren's isle.
  4. (intransitive) To bring oneself; to make headway; to veer; as, to fetch about; to fetch to windward.
  5. (rare, literary) To take (a breath), to heave (a sigh)
    • 1902, Joseph Conrad, chapter I, in Heart of Darkness:
      The hurt nigger moaned feebly somewhere near by, and then fetched a deep sigh that made me mend my pace away from there.
  6. To cause to come; to bring to a particular state.
  7. (obsolete) To recall from a swoon; to revive; sometimes with to.
    to fetch a man to
  8. To reduce; to throw.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Robert South
      The sudden trip in wrestling that fetches a man to the ground.
  9. To bring to accomplishment; to achieve; to make; to perform, with certain objects.
    to fetch a compass;  to fetch a leap
  10. (nautical, transitive) To make (a pump) draw water by pouring water into the top and working the handle.

Derived termsEdit



fetch (plural fetches)

  1. The object of fetching; the source and origin of attraction; a force, quality or propensity which is attracting eg., in a given attribute of person, place, object, principle, etc.
  2. A stratagem by which a thing is indirectly brought to pass, or by which one thing seems intended and another is done; a trick; an artifice.
    • 1665, Robert South, "Jesus of Nazareth proved the true and only promised Messiah", in Twelve Sermons Preached Upon Several Occasions, Volume 3, 6th Edition, 1727
      Every little fetch of wit and criticism.
  3. (computing) The act of fetching data.
    a fetch from a cache

Etymology 2Edit



fetch (plural fetches)

  1. (originally dialectal) The apparition of a living person; a wraith; one's double (seeing it is supposed to be a sign that one is fey or fated to die) [late 18th century]

Derived termsEdit