• (by extension) Mental reach or scope; penetration; the extent of capacity; depth of thought or contrivance.
  • (nautical) A measure of length corresponding to the outstretched arms, standardised to six feet, now used mainly for measuring depths in seas or oceans.
  • (obsolete) Grasp, envelopment, control.


  • (transitive, archaic) To encircle with outstretched arms, especially to take a measurement; to embrace.
  • (transitive, figuratively) 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."

  • (transitive) To measure the depth of, take a sounding of.

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