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New English words to learn, What is the verb “Fathom”?
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Today I am going to show you one uncommon English word (verb) “Fathom”.
Do you know the history and correct usage of the uncommon English word "Fathom"?
New English words to learn, What is Fathom? Fathom is a verb |pronounce as “FA-thum”.
1 : probe
2 : to take soundings : to measure by a sounding line
3 : to penetrate and come to understand
Fathom is derived from Old English fæthm, meaning “outstretched arms.” The noun fathom,
which now commonly refers to a measure (especially of depth) of six feet, was originally used for the distance, fingertip to fingertip, created by stretching one’s arms straight out from the sides of the body.
In one of its earliest uses, the verb fathom meant to encircle something with the arms as if for measuring and was also a synonym of embrace. In the 1600s, however, fathom took on the meaning of using a sounding line to measure depth. At the same time, the verb also developed senses synonymous with probe or investigate, and is now frequently used to refer to the act of getting to the bottom of something, figuratively speaking.
- The Western Shaft was sunk to a depth of forty fathoms.
- Jules could not fathom the depth of the ocean.
- He couldn’t fathom out what the man could possibly mean.
- It is hard to fathom the pain felt at the death of a child.
- For years people have been trying to fathom the mysteries of the whale’s song.
- I can’t fathom her out — she says one thing then does another.
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