Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913 + 1828)

Displaying 2 result(s) from the 1913 edition:
Fathom (Page: 546)

Fath"om (?), n. [fadme, fa&edh;me, AS. fæ&edh;m fathom, the embracing arms; akin to OS. fa&edh;mos the outstretched arms, D. vadem, vaam, fathom, OHG. fadom, fadum, G. faden fathom, thread, Icel. fa&edh;mr fathom, Sw. famn, Dan. favn; cf. Gr. to spread out, outspread, flat, L. patere to lie open, extend. Cf. Patent, Petal.]

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.

Fathom (Page: 546)

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.

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.