- The definition of a fathom is a six foot length used to measure water depth.
An example of a fathom is a cable with markings every six feet which is used to find out the depth of a ocean.
- Fathom is defined as to understand completely, or to measure the depth of something.
- An example of fathom is comprehending everything that caused something to happen.
- An example of fathom is using a cable to find out the depth of an ocean canyon.
Origin of fathomMiddle English fadme ; from Old English fæthm (akin to Old Frisian fethm, Old Saxon plural fathm?s), the two arms outstretched (to embrace, measure), akin to German faden, thread ; from Indo-European base an unverified form pet-, to stretch out from source Classical Latin patere, to stretch out
- to measure the depth of; sound
- to get to the bottom of; understand thoroughly
nounAbbr. fth. or fm.
transitive verbfath·omed, fath·om·ing, fath·oms
- To penetrate to the meaning or nature of; comprehend.
- To determine the depth of; sound.
Origin of fathomMiddle English fathme, from Old English fæthm, outstretched arms; see pet&schwa;- in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present fathoms, present participle fathoming, simple past and past participle fathomed)
From Middle English fathome, fadome, from Old English fæþm, fæþme (“outstretched or encircling arms, embrace, grasp, protection, interior, bosom, lap, breast, womb, fathom, cubit, power, expanse, surface”), from Proto-Germanic *faþmaz (“embrace”), from Proto-Indo-European *pet- (“to spread out, extend”). Cognate with Low German fadem, faem (“a cubit, thread”), Dutch vadem, vaam (“fathom”), German Faden (“thread, filament, fathom”), Danish favn (“embrace, fathom”), Swedish famn (“the arms, bosom, embrace”), Icelandic faðmur (“embrace”).