Definitions for: Fathom

[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

Webster (1913) Definition: 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,
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.]

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.

Synonyms: bottom, fthm, penetrate, sound

See Also: capacity measure, capacity unit, cubage unit, cubature unit, cubic content unit, cubic measure, displacement unit, linear unit, measure, pace, quantify, understand, volume unit, yard

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