Definitions for fathomˈfæð əm

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word fathom

Random House Webster's College Dictionary

fath•omˈfæð əm(n.)(pl.)fath•oms; fath•om

  1. (n.)a nautical unit of length equal to 6 feet (1.8 m).

    Category: Weights and Measures, Navy

    Ref: Abbr.: f., 8 5 fath, fm 4 1

  2. (v.t.)to measure the depth of by means of a sounding line; sound.

    Category: Weights and Measures

  3. to penetrate to the truth of; comprehend; understand:

    to fathom someone's motives.

Origin of fathom:

bef. 900; ME fathme, OE fæthm span of outstretched arms; c. OHG fadum cubit, ON fathmr embrace; akin to patent

fath′om•er(n.)

Princeton's WordNet

  1. fathom, fthm(noun)

    a linear unit of measurement (equal to 6 feet) for water depth

  2. fathom, fthm(verb)

    (mining) a unit of volume (equal to 6 cubic feet) used in measuring bodies of ore

  3. penetrate, fathom, bottom(verb)

    come to understand

  4. fathom, sound(verb)

    measure the depth of (a body of water) with a sounding line

Wiktionary

  1. fathom(Noun)

    Grasp, envelopment, control.

  2. fathom(Noun)

    A measure of length corresponding to the outstretched arms, standardised to six feet, now used mainly for measuring depths in seas or oceans.

  3. fathom(Noun)

    Mental reach or scope; penetration; the extent of capacity; depth of thought or contrivance.

  4. fathom(Verb)

    To encircle with outstretched arms, especially to take a measurement; to embrace.

  5. fathom(Verb)

    To measure the depth of, take a sounding of.

  6. fathom(Verb)

    To get to the bottom of; to manage to comprehend (a problem etc.).

    I can't for the life of me fathom what this means.

  7. Origin: From fathome, fadome, from fæþm, fæþme, from faþmaz, from pet-. Cognate with fadem, faem, vadem, vaam, Faden, favn, famn, faðmur.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Fathom(noun)

    a measure of length, containing six feet; the space to which a man can extend his arms; -- used chiefly in measuring cables, cordage, and the depth of navigable water by soundings

  2. Fathom(noun)

    the measure or extant of one's capacity; depth, as of intellect; profundity; reach; penetration

  3. Fathom(verb)

    to encompass with the arms extended or encircling; to measure by throwing the arms about; to span

  4. Fathom(verb)

    the measure by a sounding line; especially, to sound the depth of; to penetrate, measure, and comprehend; to get to the bottom of

Freebase

  1. Fathom

    A fathom = 1.8288 metres, is a unit of length in the imperial and the U.S. customary systems, used especially for measuring the depth of water. There are two yards in an imperial or U.S. fathom. Originally based on the distance between a man's outstretched arms, the size of a fathom has varied slightly depending on whether it was defined as a thousandth of an nautical mile or as a multiple of the imperial yard. Formerly, the term was used for any of several units of length varying around 5–5+¹⁄2 feet. The name derives from the Old English word fæðm, corresponding to the old Frisian word "fadem" meaning embracing arms or a pair of outstretched arms. In Middle English it was fathme. A cable length, based on the length of a ship's cable, has been variously reckoned as equal to 100 or 120 fathoms. At one time, a quarter meant one-fourth of a fathom. Abbreviations: f, fath, fm, fth, fthm.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. Fathom

    a measure of 6 ft. used in taking marine soundings, originally an Anglo-Saxon term for the distance stretched by a man's extended arms; is sometimes used in mining operations.


Translations for fathom

Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary

fathom(noun)

a measure of depth of water (6 feet or 1.8 metres)

The water is 8 fathoms deep.

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