What does fathom mean?

Definitions for fathom
ˈfæð əmfath·om

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word fathom.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. fathom, fthmnoun

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

  2. fathom, fthmverb

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

  3. penetrate, fathom, bottomverb

    come to understand

  4. fathom, soundverb

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

Wiktionary

  1. fathomnoun

    Grasp, envelopment, control.

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

  2. fathomnoun

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

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

  3. fathomnoun

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

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

  4. fathomverb

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

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

  5. fathomverb

    To measure the depth of, take a sounding of.

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

  6. fathomverb

    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.

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

Wikipedia

  1. Fathom

    A fathom is a unit of length in the imperial and the U.S. customary systems equal to 6 feet (1.8288 m), used especially for measuring the depth of water.There are two yards (6 feet) in an imperial fathom. Originally the span of a man's outstretched arms, the size of a fathom has varied slightly depending on whether it was defined as a thousandth of an (Admiralty) 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 (1.5–1.7 m).

Webster Dictionary

  1. Fathomnoun

    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

    Etymology: [OE. fadme, fame, AS. fm fathom, the embracing arms; akin to OS. famos the outstretched arms, D. vadem, vaam, fathom, OHG. fadom, fadum, G. faden fathom, thread, Icel. famr fathom, Sw. famn, Dan. favn; cf. Gr. to spread out, outspread, flat, L. patere to lie open, extend. Cf. Patent, Petal.]

  2. Fathomnoun

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

    Etymology: [OE. fadme, fame, AS. fm fathom, the embracing arms; akin to OS. famos the outstretched arms, D. vadem, vaam, fathom, OHG. fadom, fadum, G. faden fathom, thread, Icel. famr fathom, Sw. famn, Dan. favn; cf. Gr. to spread out, outspread, flat, L. patere to lie open, extend. Cf. Patent, Petal.]

  3. Fathomverb

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

    Etymology: [OE. fadme, fame, AS. fm fathom, the embracing arms; akin to OS. famos the outstretched arms, D. vadem, vaam, fathom, OHG. fadom, fadum, G. faden fathom, thread, Icel. famr fathom, Sw. famn, Dan. favn; cf. Gr. to spread out, outspread, flat, L. patere to lie open, extend. Cf. Patent, Petal.]

  4. Fathomverb

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

    Etymology: [OE. fadme, fame, AS. fm fathom, the embracing arms; akin to OS. famos the outstretched arms, D. vadem, vaam, fathom, OHG. fadom, fadum, G. faden fathom, thread, Icel. famr fathom, Sw. famn, Dan. favn; cf. Gr. to spread out, outspread, flat, L. patere to lie open, extend. Cf. Patent, Petal.]

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.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Fathom

    fath′um, n. a nautical measure=6 feet: depth: (Shak.) penetration.—v.t. to try the depth of: to comprehend or get to the bottom of.—adjs. Fath′omable; Fath′omless.—n. Fath′om-line, a sailor's line and lead for taking soundings. [A.S. faethm; Dut. vadem, Ger. faden.]

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.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. fathom

    [Anglo-Saxon, fædm]. The space of both arms extended. A measure of 6 feet, used in the length of cables, rigging, &c., and to divide the lead (or sounding) lines, for showing the depth of water.--To fathom, is to ascertain the depth of water by sounding. To conjecture an intention.

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Numerology

  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of fathom in Chaldean Numerology is: 2

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of fathom in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of fathom in a Sentence

  1. Jeb Bush:

    What's interesting is that four years ago Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had the same view that I just expressed to you. It's thousands of years of culture and history is just being changed at warp speed. It's hard to fathom why it is this way.

  2. George Du Maurier:

    Sick I am of idle words, past all reconciling, Words that weary and perplex and pander and conceal, Wake the sounds that cannot lie, for all their sweet beguiling The language one need fathom not, but only hear and feel.

  3. Keondra White Facebook -RRB- White:

    It was just pure disgust, something you can’t fathom seeing that.

  4. Carolee Brown:

    It's unreal. You can't really fathom what is going on, you take what you think( you should), and you just get out.

  5. Bart Ramsey:

    It's hard for us rural people to fathom something that big happening and as many dollars as it was.

Popularity rank by frequency of use

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Translations for fathom

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • سبر الغورArabic
  • клафтер, фатом, проумявам, разбирамBulgarian
  • comprendre, abraçar, braça, sondejarCatalan, Valencian
  • porozumět do hloubky, proniknout, sáhCzech
  • begribe, favn, fatteDanish
  • begreifen, sondieren, ausloten, Klafter, loten, verstehen, ergründen, Faden, umarmenGerman
  • sondar, ahondar, profundizar, abrazar, braza, sondear, comprenderSpanish
  • süldEstonian
  • luodata, käsittää, syli, syleilläFinnish
  • favnurFaroese
  • comprendre, brasse, saisirFrench
  • brazaGalician
  • थाह लेनाHindi
  • megért, rájön, öl, átölel, kitalálHungarian
  • capire, braccio, comprendereItalian
  • hiroJapanese
  • ჩასწვდება, სწვდებაGeorgian
  • aronui, whanganga, mārōMāori
  • depaMalay
  • vademDutch
  • favnNorwegian
  • sążeńPolish
  • compreender, braça, sondarPortuguese
  • măsura, apuca, sonda, fathom, braț, înțelege, pătrunde, îmbrățișaRomanian
  • исследовать, морская сажень, разузнавать, фадом, постигать, осознавать, обхватить, понимать, выяснять, делать промер лотом, фатом, измерять, расследоватьRussian
  • tr=vyamaSanskrit
  • hvat, хватSerbo-Croatian
  • siahaSlovak
  • objeti, seženj, izmeriti, dognatiSlovene
  • famna om, famn, loda, omfamnaSwedish
  • ஆழத்தைTamil
  • kulaçTurkish
  • 捉摸Chinese

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    an exhilarating psychological state of pride and optimism; an absence of depression
    • A. sweep
    • B. elation
    • C. ditch
    • D. flair

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