fathom
Pronunciation
  • IPA: /ˈfæðəm/
Noun

fathom (plural fathoms)

  1. (obsolete) Grasp, envelopment, control.
  2. (units of measure, now usually nautical) An English unit of length for water depth notionally based upon the width of grown man's outstretched arms but standardized as 6 feet (about 1.8 m).
    Synonyms: brace, stade, orguia
  3. (units of measure) Various similar units in other systems.
    • 1611, Bible (KJV), Acts 27:28 ↗:
      And sounded, and found it twentie fathoms: and when they had gone a little further, they sounded againe, and found it fifteene fathoms.
  4. (figuratively) Depth of insight, mental reach or scope.
    • Shakespeare, Othello, Act I, Scene I, ll. 151-2:
      Another of his fathom they have none
      To lead their business.
Translations Verb

fathom (fathoms, present participle fathoming; 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; understand (a problem etc.).
    Synonyms: fathom out, figure out, puzzle out, work out
    I can't for the life of me fathom what this means.
Translations Translations Translations


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