Verb fathom Definition and Examples



Definition as verb:


fathom (third-person singular simple present fathoms, present participle fathoming, simple past and past participle fathomed)

  1. (transitive, archaic) To encircle with outstretched arms, especially to take a measurement; to embrace.
  2. (transitive) To measure the depth of, take a sounding of.
  3. (transitive, figuratively) To get to the bottom of; to manage to comprehend (a problem etc.).

More definition:

1.a unit of length equal to six feet (
1.8 meters), used chiefly in nautical measurements.Abbreviation,fath. measure the depth of by means of a sounding line; sound. penetrate to the truth of; comprehend; understand, to fathom someone's motives.

1. a unit of length equal to six feet (
1.829 metres), used to measure depths of water

2. (mining) a unit of volume usually equal to six cubic feet, used in measuring ore bodies

3. (forestry) a unit of volume equal to six cubic feet, used for measuring timber verb (transitive)

4. to measure the depth of, esp with a sounding line; sound

5. to penetrate (a mystery, problem, etc); discover the meaning of Derived Formsfathomable, adjectivefathomer, noun Word OriginOld English fæthm; related to Old Frisian fethem outstretched arms, Old Norse fathmr embrace, Old High German fadum cubit, Latin patēre to gapeCollins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollinsPublishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012 Cite This Source
Old English fæðm "length of the outstretched arm" (a measure of about six feet), also "arms, grasp," and, figuratively "power," from Proto-Germanic *fathmaz "embrace" (cf. Old Norse faðmr "embrace, bosom," Old Saxon fathmos "the outstretched arms," Dutch vadem "a measure of six feet"), from PIE *pot(e)-mo-, from root *pete- "to spread, stretch out" (see pace (n.)). There are apparent cognates in Old Frisian fethem, German faden "thread," which OED explains by reference to "spreading out."
Old English fæðmian "to embrace, surround, envelop;" see fathom (n.). The meaning "take soundings" is from c.1600; its figurative sense of "get to the bottom of, understand" is 1620s. Related, Fathomed; fathoming.


Try as I might, I could fathom no reason why he'd perpetrate such a complex fraud.

Another part of her couldn't fathom how a man colder than a sociopath could be working for the side of good.

A couple of them were talking quietly, but she didn't hear them, instead unable to fathom that anyone would find her life worth protecting after her father hadn't.

Deidre still couldn't fathom that she'd been turned into some sort of supernatural creature.

Deidre closed her eyes, unable to fathom some stupid demon had hurt her.

She couldn't fathom the enormity of a billion souls like the one she'd touched.

She could barely fathom what that meant.

Kiera stared, unable to fathom she'd been ejected into the middle of space to die.

He found it impossible to fathom someone so beautiful becoming something so ugly.

He still didn't fathom what had driven her to leave the Peak in the first place when she clearly couldn't even make it down the side of the mountain on her own.

For now, he couldn't fathom an existence in a home filled with a family when he'd lost his other half.

Jessi sat frozen, unable to fathom that the simple red gem was capable of such magic.

There is a difference of a fathom in the mean height of the tides.

I just can't fathom out why he lied.

I cannot fathom or define their meaning any more than I can fathom or define love or religion or goodness.

Let us try to conform to them and follow them, and let us be persuaded that the less we let our feeble human minds roam, the better we shall please God, who rejects all knowledge that does not come from Him; and the less we seek to fathom what He has been pleased to conceal from us, the sooner will He vouchsafe its revelation to us through His divine Spirit.

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