fathom


fathom
fathom vb Fathom, sound, plumb all mean to measure the depth (as of a body of water) typically with a weighted line.
Fathom implies a measuring in fathoms (units of six feet).
Sound typically suggests the use of a sounding line in measuring, but it may come close to probe (see under ENTER 1) when it deals with the investigation of a body of water to ascertain not only its depth but the character of its bottom or floor
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men went overboard with poles in their hands, sounding ... for deeper water— Defoe

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Plumb implies the use of a plumb line, a wire or cord to which is attached a plummet that keeps the line in a vertical position as it falls. These differences are seldom apparent, because such measurements are usually taken by similar means, but in extended usage they take on importance and usually determine the specific implications of the words.
Fathom implies an attempt to get through or beneath the obscuring layers of something mysterious or incomprehensible so as to reveal or comprehend its true nature
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the aims of the artist must first be fathomedCharles Johnson

}
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if we can fathom the mystery of the structure of the Milky Way, we shall have learned much about the arrangement of the universe— B. J. Bok

}
{

it involved a speculative fathoming of the uncertainties of the human mind— Davis

}
Sound implies particularly the use of such indirect methods as cautious questioning or examination to elicit information as to someone's views or feelings, as to the real state of affairs in a particular case, or as to the worth, status, or possibility of something
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sound out the attitude of the candidate towards Medicare

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{

sent commissioners ... to sound for peace— Jefferson

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when Delia sounded her cousin, the girl's evasive answer and burning brow seemed to imply that her suitor had changed his mind— Wharton

}
{

told Tiberius that Castor was sounding various senators as to their willingness to support him— Graves

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Plumb suggests the ascertaining of something hidden usually by minute and critical examination
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she succeeded in plumbing his motives

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{

there were depths . . . beneath the story that he had never plumbedBrooks

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Sometimes, however it comes pretty close to fathom
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who can plumb what the future holds in store?

}

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Fathom — Comic Auteur Michael Turner Scénario Billy O Neil Vince Hernandez Geoff Johns J. T. Krul Dessin …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Fathom — Fath om (f[a^][th] [u^]m), 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,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • fathom — ● fathom nom masculin (anglais fathom) Unité anglo saxonne de longueur, utilisée pour les profondeurs marines, équivalant à 6 feet ou 2 yards (environ 1,83 m). fathom [fazɔm] n. m. ÉTYM. Mil. XVIIIe; angl. fathom « longueur couverte par les deux… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • fathom — FATHÓM s.m. (mar.) Unitate de măsură pentru lungimi, folosită la măsurarea adâncimilor, a parâmelor şi a lanţurilor de ancoră, egală cu 1,852 m. [pron. fatom. / < engl. fathom]. Trimis de LauraGellner, 21.03.2005. Sursa: DN  FATHOM TÓM/ s. m …   Dicționar Român

  • Fathom — bezeichnet: eine nautische Längeneinheit, siehe Nautischer Faden eine Geldeinheit, siehe Fathom (Geld) eine Serie des Comiczeichners Michael Turner eine Comicserie von Image Comics, siehe Fathom (Comic) Diese Seit …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • fathom — a unit of measurement of depth, is unchanged in the plural when preceded by a number, i.e. six fathom deep but several fathoms deep …   Modern English usage

  • fathom — ► NOUN ▪ a unit of length equal to six feet (1.8 metres), used in measuring the depth of water. ► VERB 1) understand after much thought: I can t fathom him out. 2) measure the depth of. DERIVATIVES fathomable adjective fathomless adjective …   English terms dictionary

  • Fathom — 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. [1913 Webster] 2. To measure by a sounding line;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Fathom — (spr. Fäddhom), englisches Maß, so v.w. Faden (s.d.) …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Fathom — (engl., spr. fädhöm, Faden), engl. Längenmaß von 2 Yards …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon


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