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Fathom Definition


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Other Fathom Definition

[n] (mining) a unit of volume (equal to 6 cubic feet) used in measuring bodies of ore
[n] a linear unit of measurement (equal to 6 feet) for water depth
[v] measure depths with a sounding line, as of a body of water
[v] come to understand

Synonyms

bottom, fthm, penetrate, sound

Misc. Definitions

\Fath"om\, n. [OE. fadme, fa[eth]me, AS. f[ae][eth]m fathom, the embracing arms; akin to OS. fa[eth]mos the outstretched arms, D. vadem, vaam, fathom, OHG. fadom, fadum, G. faden fathom, thread, Icel. fa[eth]mr fathom, Sw. famn, Dan. favn; cf. Gr. ?????????? to spread out, ??????? outspread, flat, L. patere to lie open, extend. Cf. {Patent}, {Petal}.]
1. 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. The measure or extant of one's capacity; depth, as of intellect; profundity; reach; penetration. [R.] Another of his fathom they have none To lead their business. --Shak.
\Fath"om\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Fathomed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Fathoming}.]
1. To encompass with the arms extended or encircling; to measure by throwing the arms about; to span. [Obs.] --Purchas.
2. The measure by a sounding line; especially, to sound the depth of; to penetrate, measure, and comprehend; to get to the bottom of. --Dryden. The page of life that was spread out before me seemed dull and commonplace, only because I had not fathomed its deeper import. --Hawthotne.

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