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Fathom   Listen
verb
Fathom  v. t.  (past & past part. fathomed; pres. part. fathoming)  
1.
To encompass with the arms extended or encircling; to measure by throwing the arms about; to span. (Obs.)
2.
To measure by a sounding line; especially, to sound the depth of; to penetrate, measure, and comprehend; to get to the bottom of. "The page of life that was spread out before me seemed dull and commonplace, only because I had not fathomed its deeper import."






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Fathom" Quotes from Famous Books



... care, took a seat, although not invited to do so. He looked cold and calm, but there was an excited gleam in his large eyes which showed that his calmness masked some emotion, the cause of which Cuthbert could not fathom. "I have come to see you about ...
— The Secret Passage • Fergus Hume

... the evening Max Schurz found Ernest alone in a quiet corner. 'One moment, my dear Le Breton,' he said; 'you know I always like to find out all about people's political antecedents; it helps one to fathom the potentialities of their characters. From what social stratum, now, do we get your clever friend, ...
— Philistia • Grant Allen

... Ralph could not fathom the possible motive of the stranger, who apparently was somehow interested in his doings. When they started out on their regular run, he told Fogg what Torchy had imparted to him. The fireman reflected ...
— Ralph on the Overland Express - The Trials and Triumphs of a Young Engineer • Allen Chapman

... place further north, yet it is curious that her passport should be in order even though she fled so precipitately from Kajana. There is a mystery connected with her disappearance from the wood-cutter's hut that I confess I cannot fathom." ...
— The Czar's Spy - The Mystery of a Silent Love • William Le Queux

... swift challenge of a bullet. His tame surrender had amazed her, especially when Keller's fall had given him a chance to seize the carbine. His drawling, sarcastic badinage pointed to the same conclusion. Evidently he had no desire to resist. Behind this must be some purpose which she could not fathom. ...
— Mavericks • William MacLeod Raine

... day, full many a fathom deep Below earth's smiling face; By night, high through the troubled air, They ...
— Translations of German Poetry in American Magazines 1741-1810 • Edward Ziegler Davis

... say to my heart, "Be silent, The mystery of time is here; Death's way will be plain when we fathom the main, And the ...
— The Complete Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar • Paul Laurence Dunbar

... level of the nose. Through the cat to the monkeys the process proceeds, the forehead advancing, the jaws retreating, and the nostrils leaving the lips, until they finally settle in a detached villa midway between the eyes and the mouth. This is the nose. I do not know the use of it. I cannot fathom the meaning of it. It is a solemn mystery. See the face of an orang-outang. It is a countenance, a signboard with three distinct lines of writing on it, the eyes, the nose and the mouth. You may not think much of this particular nose. Neither do ...
— Concerning Animals and Other Matters • E.H. Aitken, (AKA Edward Hamilton)

... "Full fathom five thy father lies; Of his bones are coral made. Those are pearls that were his eyes Nothing of him that doth fade, But doth suffer a sea-change Into something rich and strange. Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell. Hark! now I hear them,— ding ...
— The Junior Classics, V5 • Edited by William Patten

... types, in the leaf and in the atom, the immortality of the great human race. He was sublimer, that gray old man, hunted from the circle of his kind, in his words, than ever is action in its deeds; for words can fathom truth, and deeds but blunderingly ...
— The Last Of The Barons, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... delighted to call "his many friends," in order to attend to important business. Occasionally, indeed, it would happen that the natural sagacity of some old English gentleman, or the keen eye of an experienced courtier, would fathom at a glance the character of his son's invited guest, and treat him with a distant politeness which he could neither mistake nor get over; but, on the whole, his visits among his aristocratic entertainers were agreeable enough, and he was not a man to stick at an occasional trifle. His youthful ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 56, Number 349, November, 1844 • Various

... there was no lifting her out of it. Like great pipe-organs aroaring this sea came, and over we went. Over we went, and I heard myself saying: 'God in heaven! You great old wagon, but are you gone at last?' And said it again when maybe there was a fathom of water over my head—her quarter was buried that deep and she that long coming up. Slow coming up she was, though up she came at last. But a man ...
— The Trawler • James Brendan Connolly

... sudden abduction of Jean. There was something about these things that presented to his understanding a wall of insurmountable height. Then, he recalled his last interview with Jean and the suspicions that had been cast upon himself, suspicions he had vainly endeavored to fathom. What was in the wind, anyhow? he asked himself. There seemed to be forces at work over which he had no control, forces big with portent, heavy with menace. Like a towering thunder-cloud that casts its sickly green ...
— The Wilderness Trail • Frank Williams

... we sighted a cape of the said coast, off which we sounded in from 45 to 70 fathom, but shortly after we got no bottom, and in the evening the land ...
— The Part Borne by the Dutch in the Discovery of Australia 1606-1765 • J. E. Heeres

... head of the river, on the point, was a plantation of she-oak. We endeavoured to sail up the river, but found the water not more than a fathom deep.... To-morrow, weather permitting, I intend taking my departure up ...
— A Source Book Of Australian History • Compiled by Gwendolen H. Swinburne

... death scattered our darkness and poured day on our sad night. The solemn silence was broken at last by that loud cry, the utterance of strangely blended consciousness of possession of God and of abandonment by Him, the depths of which we can never fathom. But this we know: that our sins, not His, wove the veil which separated Him from His God. Such separation is the real death. Where cold analysis is out of place, reverent gratitude may draw near. Let us adore, for what we can understand speaks of a love which has taken ...
— Expositions of Holy Scripture - St. Mark • Alexander Maclaren

... that the largest ships could come up to the walls on either side. A great suburb, Loyang, lay beyond the northern water, connected with the city by the most celebrated bridge in China. Collinson's Chart in some points below the town gives only 1-1/4 fathom for the present depth, but Dr. Douglas tells me he has even now occasionally seen large junks come ...
— The Travels of Marco Polo, Volume 2 • Marco Polo and Rustichello of Pisa

... and Siva. By some means which have never been explained to me, my friend managed to get possession of Siva, and brought the idol home. He placed it in a gallery which he has in his house, believing from the first that it possessed mystical properties which it was his duty to fathom. The nephew now tells me that he has brought his craze to such a pass that he firmly believes that Siva speaks to him in Hindustanee. The unhappy man kneels nightly at the altar in front of the idol, receiving, as he imagines, directions ...
— A Master of Mysteries • L. T. Meade

... believe. I wonder whether you ever did care for anybody in your life,—for him, or for that other one, or for anybody. For nobody, I believe;—except your cousin Kate. Still waters, they say, run deep; and sometimes I think your waters run too deep for me to fathom. I suppose I may go now, if you have got nothing ...
— Can You Forgive Her? • Anthony Trollope

... twigged it she'd got on the railroad, and, by being real pleasant to all the car men, I found out, quite by the way and private, how she might have got on, and where any girl had got off, till by patience and perseverance I got on your track; and I've been eight months trying to fathom your deepness and win your affections. The more fool I! For to try to win what hasn't any more existence than the pot at the rainbow's tail is clear waste of time. Deep you are; but you haven't got any of the commodity ...
— What Necessity Knows • Lily Dougall

... Jack said; "if you signal to them to veer out some more rope I could soon do it. I could not swim across the tide now, but if it were twenty fathom further astern I ...
— A Chapter of Adventures • G. A. Henty

... chance. A day came, however, at length when Julie flashed out before her aunt's astonished eyes into a complete forgetfulness of her marriage; she recovered the wild spirits of careless girlhood. Mme. de Listomere then and there made up her mind to fathom the depths of this soul, for its exceeding simplicity was as ...
— A Woman of Thirty • Honore de Balzac

... broken nose and a facial appearance strangely inferior to the look of David Lockwin, the orator. Robert Chalmers need not disguise himself. He will never be identified. That broken nose is a distortion that no detective could fathom. Those scarlet fimbrications under the skin proclaim the toper. Those missing teeth complete a picture ...
— David Lockwin—The People's Idol • John McGovern

... his popularity; and by comparison with the French critics on the dramatic or scenical proprieties he is ever profound. His plummet, if not suited to the soundless depths of Shakspeare, was able ten times over to fathom the little rivulets of Parisian philosophy. This he did effectually, and thus unconsciously levelled the paths for Shakspeare, and for that supreme dominion which he has since held over the German stage, by crushing ...
— Biographical Essays • Thomas de Quincey

... be difficult to fathom the motives which induced John Wilford to tell his wife and son that the money had been restored to the owner. Perhaps he had some plan by which he hoped to escape detection and punishment for his crime; or it may be that ...
— Haste and Waste • Oliver Optic

... wonder where the supply for this came from, since the whole island had its foundation in salt water—but there are many strange distillations going on at all times in nature's laboratory beyond the power of man to fathom. ...
— Adrift on the Pacific • Edward S. Ellis

... tutor Murdoch returned to Ayr, and lent him Pope's Works; a bookish friend of his father's obtained for him the reading of two volumes of Richardson's 'Pamela' and another friendly soul the reading of Smollett's 'Ferdinand Count Fathom,' and 'Peregrine Pickle.' The book which most delighted him, however, was a collection of English ...
— Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern, Vol. 7 • Various

... the crusades, was well known to the Portuguese Prince. A mysterious voyage of a certain wandering saint, called St. Brendan, was not without its influence upon an enthusiastic mind. Moreover, there were many sound motives urging the Prince to maritime discovery; among which, a desire to fathom the power of the Moors, a wish to find a new outlet for traffic, and a longing to spread the blessings of the faith may be enumerated. The especial reason which impelled Prince Henry to take the burden ...
— The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 07 • Various

... this notion incredulously; for though Kinlay knew the coast very well, yet the idea of his starting with his limited experience as an Orkney pilot was droll to one who, like my uncle, had been all his life at the work, and knew every fathom of the waters. ...
— The Pilots of Pomona • Robert Leighton

... apish grins, as he took the gentleman's line, and found that the sinker was not within twenty feet of the bottom. "That's what's the matter, sir. Drop the line down till the sinker touches bottom; then pull up about a fathom." ...
— Little Bobtail - or The Wreck of the Penobscot. • Oliver Optic

... about half way when, on the top of a slight rise, both dog and man stopped for a moment's rest. The latter looked quite exhausted. His face was set hard, in an expression she could not fathom. ...
— The Peace of Roaring River • George van Schaick

... and all the room full watched her. Seeing the pretty color come and go in her excited cheeks, they wondered that they had never noticed before how beautiful Marcia was growing. A handsome couple they would make! And they looked from Marcia to David and back again, wondering and trying to fathom the mystery. ...
— Marcia Schuyler • Grace Livingston Hill Lutz

... region of spiritual causes which give rise to all that we see of outward phenomenal manifestation. There are continual allusions in his works to the life behind the veil, and it is to this suggestion of some mystery underlying his words that we owe the many attempts to fathom his meaning expressed through Browning Societies and the like—attempts which fail or succeed according as they are made from "the without" or from "the within." No one was better qualified than the poet to realise the immense benefits of the inner knowledge, and for the same reason he is also ...
— The Hidden Power - And Other Papers upon Mental Science • Thomas Troward

... until a few weeks after George's marriage, when he also was caught in the little Circe's toils, and had an understanding with her which his comrade certainly suspected, but preferred to ignore. William was too much hurt or ashamed to ask to fathom that disgraceful mystery, although once, and evidently with remorse on his mind, George had alluded to it. It was on the morning of Waterloo, as the young men stood together in front of their line, surveying the black masses of Frenchmen who crowned ...
— Vanity Fair • William Makepeace Thackeray

... over to the eastern breakers, they were obliged to let go an anchor to save them from destruction. They could see nothing of the buoy, and no doubt was entertained that it was washed away by the current. Their anchorage was in three and a half fathom water, and the ground swell, which then set in, heaved the vessel up and down in such a frightful manner, that they expected every moment to see the chain cable break. As soon as they dropped their anchor, the tide rushed past the vessel at the rate of eight miles an hour. After the ebb tide ...
— Lander's Travels - The Travels of Richard Lander into the Interior of Africa • Robert Huish

... or bows to support the upper framework. A string of bait, consisting mainly of flounders and sculpins, was tied into each trap. About 50 traps were used by each fisherman, and they were hauled once a day. The warps or buoy lines, by which the traps were lowered and hauled, were cut in 12-fathom lengths. Lobsters were so abundant at the Muscle Ridges, at this period, that four men could fully supply Captain Oakes with lobsters every trip. In the course of ten days each man would obtain between 1,200 and 1,500 marketable lobsters. In Captain Oakes' opinion, the ...
— The Lobster Fishery of Maine - Bulletin of the United States Fish Commission, Vol. 19, Pages 241-265, 1899 • John N. Cobb

... light-hearted, he is called a scoffer, if silent, a morose cur; if he practises honesty, he is but a good-for-nothing fool; if well dressed, he is proud, if not, he is a pig; if gentle of speech, he is double-faced and a rogue, whom none can fathom; if rough, he is an arrogant and froward devil. This is the world you make so much of, and pray you take my share of it and welcome," and at the word he shook himself free of them all, and away he sped ...
— The Visions of the Sleeping Bard • Ellis Wynne

... Vane thought he had pretty well fathomed this extraordinary woman's character. Plumb the Atlantic with an eighty-fathom ...
— Peg Woffington • Charles Reade

... mate was below. I had just relieved the deck, for in this blowing weather we must keep watch in harbour. The men were all at their dinner, when I heard the boat thumping under the main channels. I got into her to ease off a fathom or two of the painter; but as I hauled her ahead to get at the bend, it appears that the monkey of a boy who made her fast, and has been but a few months at sea, had made a 'slippery hitch,' so away it went, and I was adrift. I hailed them on board; ...
— Newton Forster • Frederick Marryat

... me something to remember her by, Shane Oge, and her a fathom deep beneath me in the cold ground. And a trinket or two, or a dress, maybe, or a bangle would keep my ...
— The Wind Bloweth • Brian Oswald Donn-Byrne

... through canyon after canyon, with scarcely an intermission of open country, for a full thousand miles from the beginning of its entombment, the entrance of Flaming Gorge, at the foot of the historical Green River Valley. Some few attempts had been made to fathom the mystery of this long series of chasms, but with such small success that the exploration of the river was given up as too difficult and too dangerous. Ashley had gone through Red Canyon in 1825 and in one of the succeeding winters of that period a party ...
— A Canyon Voyage • Frederick S. Dellenbaugh

... his traveling companion, for a long time, with eager curiosity and also with a keen wish to fathom his real character through the mask that covered it. And he thought of the circumstances that confined them, like that, together, in the close contact of that motor car. But, after the excitement and disappointment of ...
— The Hollow Needle • Maurice Leblanc

... wife of a drunken man I do not think there is any depth of degradation that I would not fathom with my love and pity in trying to save him. I believe I would cling to him, if even his own mother shrank from him. But I never would consent to [marry any man?], whom I knew to be un[?]steady in his principles and a moderate drinker. If his love for me and respect for himself were not strong ...
— Sowing and Reaping • Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

... speculate on this for a time, and then he said, "I cannot fathom your meaning, sir. Buying and selling, gold and money, all these have no meaning to me. Surely the twin blessings of an appetite and food abundant ready and ...
— Gulliver of Mars • Edwin L. Arnold

... champion of Poland's freedom were, indeed, never of the nature exacted by romance. They were confined to strict necessity, and held none of the affection that marked the intercourse of Gates and Nathaniel Greene with their Polish engineer. The precise reason of this is hard to fathom. It has been ascribed to Kosciuszko's intimacy with Gates, Washington's adversary, or, again, to Kosciuszko's extreme reserve—which latter conjecture, in view of the warm and enduring friendships that the hero of Poland won for himself in the New ...
— Kosciuszko - A Biography • Monica Mary Gardner

... trust so; I should not be what I am, Still less what I will be, if hate did not Pursue me as my shadow. Ah! fair wife, Thou knowest not Burgos. Thou hast yet to fathom The depths ...
— Count Alarcos - A Tragedy • Benjamin Disraeli

... he sternly answered. "There you have the catalogue of all my rightful titles. And besides, it pleases me, for a reason I cannot entirely fathom, to be unpardonably candid and to fling my destiny into your lap. To-night, as I have said, the Tranchemer lies off Manneville; keep counsel, get me a horse if you will, and to-morrow I am embarked for desperate service under the harried Kaiser of the Greeks, and for throat-cuttings ...
— Domnei • James Branch Cabell et al

... answered simply, trying to fathom her purpose and completely at sea as to her real motive—"not for some months. Not ...
— Kennedy Square • F. Hopkinson Smith

... can attain is the consciousness of his own thoughts and feelings, and a knowledge of himself which prepares him to fathom alien natures as well. There are people who are by nature endowed with such a gift and by experience develop it to practical uses. Thence springs the ability to conquer something, in a higher sense, from the world and affairs. The poet, too, is born with such an endowment, only he does ...
— The German Classics of The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Vol. II • Editor-in-Chief: Kuno Francke

... the dimly lighted vacancy of the hall, with smiling eyes of welcome. They were mocking, puzzling eyes, the depths of which he could not fathom—they perplexed, and invited at the same instant. She was in evening dress, a creamy satin, revealing white shoulders, and rounded, beautifully mounded arms, visible beneath folds of filmy lace. If he had dreamed the girl attractive before in the plainness of street costume, he now beheld ...
— The Case and The Girl • Randall Parrish

... Jane. "When did you ever see a man that could fathom a woman? Good, simple soul that he was!—she made him think black was white with holding up a finger. She glistened bravely, and he thought she was gold. Well!—we shan't have much peace now,— take my word for it. Eh, this world!—'tis a queer place ...
— The Maidens' Lodge - None of Self and All of Thee, (In the Reign of Queen Anne) • Emily Sarah Holt

... to anger Blake. He was still dimly conscious of the operation of forces which he could not fathom. There were things, vague and insubstantial, which he could not understand. But he nursed to his heavy-breathing bosom the consciousness that he himself was not without his own undivulged powers, his own private tricks, his ...
— Never-Fail Blake • Arthur Stringer

... that answer from head to foot, and seemed to fathom what was coming, with a prescience vague, but unmistakable. One appeal was left to me, and ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 12, No. 73, November, 1863 • Various

... to express units, tens, and hundreds. They subdivided the unit, moreover, into sixty equal parts, and each of these parts into sixty further equal subdivisions, and this system of fractions was used in all kinds of quantitive measurements. The fathom, the foot and its square, talents and bushels, the complete system of Chaldaean weights and measures, were based on the intimate alliance and parallel use of the decimal and duodecimal systems of notation. The sixtieth was more frequently ...
— History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, Volume 3 (of 12) • G. Maspero

... him to go to Fern Torr, and his absolute avoidance of it, struck and puzzled her much as well as grieved her. She knew his loneliness, and could understand that he might be melancholy, but why he should shrink from the home he so loved was beyond what she could fathom. ...
— The Two Guardians • Charlotte Mary Yonge

... very long sentence," said I, in order to gain time enough to fathom what she meant. I could not. So I ...
— Arms and the Woman • Harold MacGrath

... to waste in hollering," he panted. "Why, there's a good fathom and a half or two fathom o' water under her keel, and if I slack out down she'll go. Wants a couple o' boats to back in, one on each side, and get a rope under her thwarts. They could get her ashore then. Oh, dear! oh, dear! ...
— The Lost Middy - Being the Secret of the Smugglers' Gap • George Manville Fenn

... untroubled. For I cannot fathom you, and that troubles me. I am very fond of you—and yet I do ...
— The Jewel Merchants - A Comedy In One Act • James Branch Cabell

... yet. She was not cold, but was she unearthly? Was she, perhaps, some straying angel—some fervid, bright spirit, flame-coloured and intangible, a being of the elfin race? As they stood together looking at the distant coastline a depression which he could neither fathom nor control came over him. His bride seemed so much younger than he had ever realised. She cared for him—how could he doubt it? But was the indefinable, ...
— Robert Orange - Being a Continuation of the History of Robert Orange • John Oliver Hobbes

... he began, in even but thrilling tones—"who can hope to fathom it? The ways and desires of men are various. I think that the hearts of all women beat with the same rhythm, and to the same old tune of love. Love, to a woman, means sacrifice. If she be worthy of the name, no gold or rank will outweigh with ...
— Heart of the West • O. Henry

... as the art to which Roscius, Betterton, and Garrick owed their fame. It is the art of embodying the poet's creations, of giving them flesh and blood, of making the figures which appeal to your mind's eye in the printed drama live before you on the stage. "To fathom the depths of character, to trace its latent motives, to feel its finest quiverings of emotion, to comprehend the thoughts that are hidden under words, and thus possess one's self of the actual mind of the individual man"—such was Macready's ...
— Public Speaking • Irvah Lester Winter

... subsidiary, all the generations during which these Egyptian and Ethiopian tribes have been the enemies and oppressors of that Israel whom they at last acknowledge for the dwelling-place of God, and enemies of that Jehovah before whom they finally bow down, he feels that he has no measuring-line to fathom the divine purposes, and bows his face to the ground in reverent contemplation with that word upon his lips: 'Verily Thou art a God that hidest Thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.' It is a parallel to the apostolic ...
— Expositions of Holy Scripture - Isaiah and Jeremiah • Alexander Maclaren

... scientific reality, he would not allow himself to be drawn into the regions of the strange and almost of the supernatural; but yet how to explain why Top, one of those sensible dogs who never waste their time in barking at the moon, should persist in trying with scent and hearing to fathom this abyss, if there was nothing there to cause his uneasiness? Top's conduct puzzled Cyrus Harding even more than he cared ...
— The Mysterious Island • Jules Verne

... we arrived within three hundred leagues of the river Saint Lawrence when the ship struck with amazing force against (as we supposed) a rock; however, upon heaving the lead, we could find no bottom, even with three hundred fathom. What made this circumstance the more wonderful, and indeed beyond all comprehension, was, that the violence of the shock was such that we lost our rudder, broke our bow-sprit in the middle, and split all our masts from top to bottom, two ...
— Journeys Through Bookland, Vol. 5 • Charles Sylvester

... she fathom the cause until upon a certain day which fell upon the end of a week's wearisome traverse of the hardest country yet encountered. Up and up and still higher he bore into a range of beetling crags, and always his ...
— North of Fifty-Three • Bertrand W. Sinclair

... boy! sailor boy! never again Shall home, love, or kindred thy wishes repay; Unblessed and unhonored, down deep in the main, Full many a fathom, thy frame shall decay. ...
— McGuffey's Sixth Eclectic Reader • William Holmes McGuffey

... and except to tighten slightly the pressure of his arms he kept profoundly still. She could hear his low, uneven breathing and the faint, regular ticking of his watch. They seemed enclosed in a silence vast as space, and sweeter than thought could fathom. A great ocean of contentment flowed about them, stretching into infinity. Neither could have thought of anything to wish for. They seemed in ...
— A Beautiful Alien • Julia Magruder

... row'd him in a cake o' lead, Bade him lie still and sleep; She's thrown him in Our Lady's draw-well, Was fifty fathom deep. ...
— Ballads of Mystery and Miracle and Fyttes of Mirth - Popular Ballads of the Olden Times - Second Series • Frank Sidgwick

... wrapt by such ideas; but the soul wearies of a pauseless flight; and, stooping from its wheeling circuits round and round this spot, suddenly it fell ten thousand fathom deep, into the abyss of the present— into self-knowledge—into tenfold sadness. I roused myself—I cast off my waking dreams; and I, who just now could almost hear the shouts of the Roman throng, and was hustled by countless multitudes, now beheld the desart ...
— The Last Man • Mary Shelley

... flat, oily sea as it was then! So transparent that we saw great fish swimming about, full fathom five under us. A monstrous shark drifted lazily past, his dorsal fin now and then cutting the surface like a knife and glistening like polished steel, his brace of pilot-fish darting hither and thither, striped like ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Volume 11, No. 24, March, 1873 • Various

... those changes which had come into the rich man's life, he himself might not fathom. But those who toiled daily with him over his great ledgers and files knew that the transformation went far. There were flashes at times of his former vigor and spirit of domination, but there were also periods of grief that were ...
— Carmen Ariza • Charles Francis Stocking

... easily communicate my orders to, and collect the ships, and towed the Royal Sovereign out to seaward. The whole fleet were now in a very perilous situation; many dismasted; all shattered; in thirteen fathom water off the shoals of Trafalgar; and when I made the signal to anchor, few of the ships had an anchor to let go, their cables being shot. But the same good Providence which aided us through such a day preserved us in the night, by the wind shifting a few points, and drifting the ships ...
— Drake, Nelson and Napoleon • Walter Runciman

... I, turning to the negro postillion, but that sable worthy could not understand my question. The most expressive pantomimes were as unavailable as words, and so in despair I turned again into the porch, and stood in a reverie. I was clearly a fathom deep in love, and as my extreme height is but five feet eleven and a half, that is equivalent to saying that I was over head and ears in love with the strange lady. I began to talk to myself. 'By Venus!' said I, aloud, 'but she is an angel, regular built, and if I only could ...
— Graham's Magazine Vol XXXII. No. 3. March 1848 • Various

... comedy after comedy, until I wrote you something that would run. You do me justice when you give me credit for good intentions; but the extent of my good-will and strong and warm interest in you personally and your great undertaking, you cannot fathom nor express. ...
— The Letters of Charles Dickens - Vol. 1 (of 3), 1833-1856 • Charles Dickens

... considered eminent as a philologist and philosopher. Physiology, however, with its various branches and degenerate offshoots, was the idol of the scholars of that age, and of Faustus among the rest. A passionate desire to fathom the mysteries of Nature, to dive into the most hidden recesses of moral and physical creation, had seized men of real learning, and seduced them into mingling absurd astrological and magical fancies with profound and scholarlike researches. ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 2, Issue 12, October, 1858 • Various

... the chances of food. I have once been visited by large flights of cross-bills; and whenever the snow lies long and deep on the ground, a flock of cedar-birds comes in mid-winter to eat the berries on my hawthorns. I have never been quite able to fathom the local, or rather geographical partialities of birds. Never before this summer (1870) have the king-birds, handsomest of flycatchers, built in my orchard; though I always know where to find them within half a mile. The rose-breasted grosbeak has been a familiar bird in Brookline (three miles ...
— My Garden Acquaintance • James Russell Lowell

... of its relations, need not appear either as the apologist of a very exceptional woman, or as the vindicator of laws inevitable and universal, the mischief of whose violation no human knowledge can justly fathom. The world knows that the life before us is no example for women to follow; but it also knows, we think, that she who led it was on the whole an earnest and sincere person, of ardent imagination and large heart, loving the good ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 8, Issue 49, November, 1861 • Various

... in many of the hidden mysteries of nature and learned the secrets. Such knowledge had been put to use. They had discovered many things that gave them pleasure, but in doing so found others that startled and grieved them. Things inexplainable and impossible to fathom had crossed their paths ...
— The Wonder Island Boys: The Mysteries of the Caverns • Roger Thompson Finlay

... his judgments will be made manifest;" hitherto, "his way is in the sea, and his judgments are a great deep." We know that his way is perfect; but witness many things in the divine administration, which we do not understand. We have no line to fathom the depths of providence. ...
— Sermons on Various Important Subjects • Andrew Lee

... fire the half-breed helped Tex wash the dishes, the while he regarded the cowpuncher shrewdly as if to fathom what was passing in ...
— The Texan - A Story of the Cattle Country • James B. Hendryx

... they ought never to have listened, or, at least, should have endeavored to fathom, going direct to the person concerned and ...
— Gold Dust - A Collection of Golden Counsels for the Sanctification of Daily Life • E. L. E. B.

... he had solved the reason that he rode always with closed helm, he was for the first time anxious himself to hide his face from the sight of men. Not from fear, for he knew not fear, but from some inward impulse which he did not attempt to fathom. ...
— The Outlaw of Torn • Edgar Rice Burroughs

... that the dragon raised his head and stretched himself. Then he flew up from the book with a hissing sound, like a radiant streak. Once more he turned around toward the scholar, and his head had already grown to the size of a barrel, while his body must have been a full fathom in length. He gave one more snaky twist, and then there was a terrible crash of thunder and the dragon went ...
— The Chinese Fairy Book • Various

... far behind Hyacinthe," he indifferently acknowledged, "I begin to fathom the secret of my life failure. So my morning hasn't ...
— The Prairie Mother • Arthur Stringer

... departure of the Guarda Costa without firing a shot, and the exultation of the officers who boarded us, and which they tried in vain to conceal, all convinced me there was some mystery which it was not in my power to fathom. ...
— Jack in the Forecastle • John Sherburne Sleeper

... in your mind. You know the whole sad story. Can it be possible that there is some quixotic notion in your head that it is for you to heal a wound for which one of your family was responsible? Oh, surely not! And yet, you women are so fond of anything like self-sacrifice that it is impossible to fathom the motives that drive you into folly: generous, well-meant folly, but folly all the same. You have no one here to advise you, and I beg you to be guided by me. You are not really called upon to do this thing. It ...
— East of the Shadows • Mrs. Hubert Barclay

... or lid, which is said to cover the mouth of a profound well, at the bottom of which it is believed that the bones of the saint are interred; though why they should be placed at the bottom of a well, is a mystery which I cannot fathom. One of the officers of the church told me that at one time he and another kept watch in the church during the night, one of the chapels having shortly before been broken open and a sacrilege committed. At the dead of night, finding the time hang heavy on their hands, they took a crowbar and removed ...
— The Bible in Spain • George Borrow

... her eyes. "Oh, poor Wallace! Poor boy!" she mourned. And to Sue, "I hope you're satisfied! You started out yesterday to stop this wedding—your own brother's wedding!—and you've succeeded. I can't fathom your motives—except that some women, when they fail to land husbands of their own, simply hate to see anybody else have one. It's the envy ...
— Apron-Strings • Eleanor Gates

... Monte.] Friday the 17. Cauo de Monte bare off vs North Northeast, we sounded and had 50. fathom blacke oase, and at 2. of the clocke it bare North Northwest 8. leagues off. [Sidenote: Cauo Mensurado.] And Cauo Mensurado bare of vs East and by South, and wee went Northeast with the maine: here the current setteth to the ...
— The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques, and Discoveries of - The English Nation, Vol. 11 • Richard Hakluyt

... own indifference to his accomplished work, yet knew its value to the minutest ray of the diamond; that he had sharply challenged the enchantment of his first conception, and heard the right watchword, yet recognized that no human conception can fathom the marvels of the superhuman. I believe that the men we admire most, in the small group of great minds, are sufficiently necromantic to look two ways at once—to appreciate and to condemn themselves. So my father heard himself praised with ...
— Memories of Hawthorne • Rose Hawthorne Lathrop

... no opinion on such a subject, and must leave the discussion to more learned people than myself. I do not know whether such apparitions really mean anything or not, and I have not sought to fathom these mysteries, thinking them outside the ...
— Celebrated Crimes, Complete • Alexandre Dumas, Pere

... governmental cowardice and incapacity, those to conspirators and emeutes, still others to ignorance and general corruption,—and weary of the interminable quarrels of the tribune and the press, I sought to fathom the matter myself. I have consulted the masters of science; I have read a hundred volumes of philosophy, law, political economy, and history: would to God that I had lived in a century in which so much reading had been useless! I have made every ...
— What is Property? - An Inquiry into the Principle of Right and of Government • P. J. Proudhon

... all form by which one could predicate the existence of the saint is abandoned and uprooted like a fan palm[515], so that it will never grow up in future. The saint who is released from what is styled form is deep, immeasurable, hard to fathom, like the great ocean. It does not fit the case to say either that he is reborn, not reborn, both reborn and not reborn, or neither reborn nor not reborn." Exactly the same statement is then repeated four times the words sensation, ...
— Hinduism and Buddhism, Vol I. (of 3) - An Historical Sketch • Charles Eliot

... reply that every careful parent has an Index Prohibitorius for his household; or ought to have one if he has not. I once knew a woman who allowed her daughter to plunge into Nana and other works of that character as soon as she could summon up enough knowledge of French to fathom their meaning. The daughter grew up and the result has not been encouraging to educationists thinking of proceeding on similar lines. The State also has its Index Prohibitorius and will not permit indecent books nor indecent pictures to be sold. Enough: let us again clear our minds ...
— Science and Morals and Other Essays • Bertram Coghill Alan Windle

... tall; as he sat in the low-backed, office chair he looked to be less than five feet, over all. What became of that lank expanse of bone and cuticle when he sat down was one of the mysteries that not even James Bansemer could fathom. ...
— Jane Cable • George Barr McCutcheon

... one of those apparently insane remarks of the doctor's which no sane nor sober man could fathom or see a reason for—except in Doc. ...
— Joe Wilson and His Mates • Henry Lawson

... of this scene, and of course it enabled him to fathom Martin's resources. He congratulated himself that they were so speedily exhausted. He did not get out when the car reached Waverley Place, for obvious reasons, but kept on till they came to Bleecker Street. Rose was about to ...
— Rufus and Rose - The Fortunes of Rough and Ready • Horatio Alger, Jr

... impossible to describe the multiplicity of feelings which agitated the minds of the company. Fear, surprise, anger, and curiosity, ruled them by turns and kept them incessantly upon the rack. There was something mysterious in the visiter who had just left them—something which they could not fathom—something unaccountable. 'Who could he be?' This was the question that each put to the other, but no one could give any thing like a rational answer. Meanwhile the evening wore on apace, and though the bell of the parish church hard by sounded ...
— The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 14, - Issue 402, Supplementary Number (1829) • Various

... Registrar of Minerva in the temple of Sais, that individual was not joking, as the father of history supposed. He thought that in the watershed the two conical hills, Crophi and Mophi might be found, and the fountains between them which it was impossible to fathom; and that it might be seen that from that region there was a river flowing north to Egypt, and another flowing south to a country that might have been called Ethiopia. But whatever might be his views or aims, it was ordained that ...
— The Personal Life Of David Livingstone • William Garden Blaikie

... they had actually embarked at Acapulco on board an English South Sea whaler. This had taken place a full year previous; and while the vindictive Spaniard was chuckling over their fancied sufferings "many a fathom deep" in the damp and unhealthy galleries of a silver mine, the objects of his hatred were jogging along comfortably towards London, with a full ship ...
— An Old Sailor's Yarns • Nathaniel Ames

... in dreams assurd were Of the Spirit that plagued us so; Nine fathom deep he had followed us From the land ...
— The Complete Poetical Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge - Vol I and II • Samuel Taylor Coleridge

... never been able to fathom Burke's feelings towards her. The Irishman's manner to her in public was always light-hearted and cheerfully friendly; but the subaltern suspected that it concealed a deeper, warmer feeling. He betrayed no jealousy of Frank's ...
— The Jungle Girl • Gordon Casserly

... girl of three years, and one girl of three months and a week, but a promise like that Boy's I shall never see. How often I have pleased myself that one day I should send to you this Morning Star of mine, and stay at home so gladly behind such a representative. I dare not fathom the Invisible and Untold to inquire what relations to my Departed ...
— The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (The Physician and Poet not the Jurist)

... recreation ahead in the opportunity to "lick all the kids," and I assumed that Ptolemy had deep laid schemes for the outmaneuvering of teachers, but as his left hand never made confidant of his right, I could not expect to fathom ...
— Our Next-Door Neighbors • Belle Kanaris Maniates

... remain. Hayne, Calhoun, and their like were playing with fire. Already they were boldly weighing "the chances of preserving liberty when the bonds that unite us together shall be broken asunder"; already they were hanging over the precipice of disunion, to see whether they could "fathom the depth of the abyss below." The last powerful words of the speech were, therefore, a glorification of ...
— The Reign of Andrew Jackson • Frederic Austin Ogg

... not suppose," I said, "that Q for some reason which we cannot fathom, wishes us to again ...
— Nonsense Novels • Stephen Leacock

... children, remember—intellectual children—ignorant as babies because, poor souls, they had had neither books nor teaching. Savages are, you know, terrified at a thing they cannot fathom and these persons were as yet little more. Well, at any rate, clocks began to make their appearance. By 1286 one of these faceless mechanisms was put up on St. Paul's Cathedral in London; and before 1300, others were, ...
— Christopher and the Clockmakers • Sara Ware Bassett

... special line of study,—as all D. D.'s are supposed to be, or they would not have been honored with that distinguished title. But Mr. Byles Gridley not only had more learning than the deep-sea line of the bucolic intelligence could fathom; he had more wisdom also than they gave him credit for, even those among them who thought ...
— The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (The Physician and Poet not the Jurist)

... present he declined relating the particulars of his death, and displayed a constancy and intrepidity in resisting her entreaties that would have been admirable in a better cause. Before she had time to fathom this painful mystery, Welbeck's frauds were in danger of detection, and he and his pupil ...
— Arthur Mervyn - Or, Memoirs of the Year 1793 • Charles Brockden Brown

... this apparently unexceptional proceeding was looked on by many with grave offence. The Afghan officers muttered that this was mere braggadocio on the part of the sahibs; that the sport was only to show how they would spit and cut down the sons of the Prophet, if they had the chance! To fathom such depths of bigotry as this incident reveals is one of the many difficulties which ...
— The Story of the Guides • G. J. Younghusband

... for a moment, and gazed thoughtfully into vacancy, as if to fathom the meaning of an obscure oracle; all at once his face brightened, and a joyous smile played ...
— Andreas Hofer • Lousia Muhlbach

... the thoughts that surged through Van's mind as he and Bob settled themselves into their places on the train and began the attempt to fathom the reams of directions Mr. Blake had sent them; pages and pages there were of what to do and what not to do on the long trip, the letter closing with ...
— The Story of Sugar • Sara Ware Bassett

... was and never will be. Its misty, alluring signals have shipwrecked many an artistic mariner, and—but pshaw! I'm too old to moralize this way. Only young people moralize. It is their prerogative. When they live, when they fathom good and evil and their mysteries, charity will check their tongues, so I shall say no more of Bohemia. What I saw of it further convinced me of its ...
— Old Fogy - His Musical Opinions and Grotesques • James Huneker

... the land we use a lead and line, to learn the depth of water. This is called heaving the lead, as the lead is swung round with the arm to fall far ahead. There are knots on the line a fathom apart, which we ...
— Taking Tales - Instructive and Entertaining Reading • W.H.G. Kingston

... have seen us, but they wouldn't stop—not in this sea," was the reply of the revenue officer. "They're up to some trick, and I can't just fathom what it is." ...
— The Motor Girls on Waters Blue - Or The Strange Cruise of The Tartar • Margaret Penrose

... just over a ledge of coral, not half-a-fathom under the surface. Depressing one end of the filled canoe, and letting go of it quickly, it bounced up, and discharged a great part of its contents; so that we easily baled out the remainder, and again embarked. This time, my ...
— Omoo: Adventures in the South Seas • Herman Melville

... round the town like an old billy goat. Not sorry though. It is a nice little town. Mind if I sit down? I'm a bit blown." And dropping on a stool Mr. Cressy fanned himself with his panama and grinned at Philip, a grin the young man could not quite fathom. What new trick had the clever old financier at the bottom of his mind? Phil hoped he had not got to go through the thing again. Once had been quite ...
— Wild Wings - A Romance of Youth • Margaret Rebecca Piper

... you, you swab! It's just two fathom from where you stand. Just two fathom! How long would it take you to walk there? How long? Just about six seconds! There and back! You—" I won't bother with all the epithets, although by now I know Captain Selover's vocabulary fairly ...
— The Mystery • Stewart Edward White and Samuel Hopkins Adams

... young again? How full of the joy of life! Its currents swept by her unheeded now. Why had not God been merciful to her, that she could have died there upon the sea, she thought. Ah, poor humanity never learns His mercy; perhaps it is because we have no measure by which to fathom its mighty depths. She saw herself old and lonely, forgotten but not forgetting. But even then lacked she not opportunity; woman-like, in spite of her constancy, she took a melancholy pleasure in the thought that there was one still who hungered for the shattered remnants of her ...
— For Love of Country - A Story of Land and Sea in the Days of the Revolution • Cyrus Townsend Brady

... supply. On the 9th, at nine o'clock in the morning, we made the island of Bonavista, bearing S.W. The next day, we passed the isle of Mayo on our right; and the same evening anchored in Port Praya in the island of St Jago, in eighteen fathom water. The east point of the bay bore E.; the west point S.W. 1/2 S.; and the fort N.W. I immediately dispatched an officer to ask leave to water, and purchase refreshments, which was granted. On the return of ...
— A Voyage Towards the South Pole and Round the World, Volume 1 • James Cook

... some 30 miles, or about 10 beyond the barracoon. Fresh water can be obtained almost immediately inside the entrance, as the stream runs down very rapidly with the ebb tide. The least water crossing the bar (low-water— springs) was 1-1/2 fathom, one cast only therefrom from 2 to 5 fathoms, another 7 fathoms ...
— Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa - Journeys and Researches in South Africa • David Livingstone

... throughout the interview leaning heavily against the jamb of the kitchen door. Something inscrutable in the stare of the fishlike, china-blue eyes clung in his memory, and try as he would in the days that followed, MacNair could not fathom the meaning of that stare, if indeed it had any meaning. MacNair did not know why, but in some inexplainable manner the memory of that look ...
— The Gun-Brand • James B. Hendryx

... was tinkering at the Flying Dutchman (as he had immediately called the power-boat, on account of its ghostly associations) was evident to his brother and sister, but why he should be doing so they could not fathom. ...
— The Happy Venture • Edith Ballinger Price

... the conclusion with, I fear, too much haste and eagerness. Besides many other insuperable difficulties, which an investigation of such a nature presents, there was one quite sufficient to defeat all attempts to fathom the subject, namely, the syntactic ignorance of the language to which the inquiry related. Indeed, to any man who knows and speaks four European languages, it will be at once apparent, that to seize upon, and note from the sound, a word belonging to one country, ...
— Discoveries in Australia, Volume 2 • John Lort Stokes

... character; he believed her to be too profound for shallow people to read all in a moment: he even intimated that he himself had experienced no little difficulty in understanding her at odd times. "And so," said he, "they turn round upon you, and instead of saying, 'We are too shallow to fathom you,' they pretend you are ...
— A Simpleton • Charles Reade

... and Moors try to measure everything by portions of their body. The draa, a measure from the elbow to the tips of the fingers, is in universal requisition. The fathom, signified by the arms extended on both sides the body, is not so frequently in use. The sun is often said to be so many fathoms high. If we attended a little more to these natural measures it might be well, ...
— Narrative of a Mission to Central Africa Performed in the Years 1850-51, Volume 1 • James Richardson

... sad No more! O sweet No more! O strange No more! By a mossed brookbank on a stone I smelt a wildweed flower alone; There was a ringing in my ears, And both my eyes gushed out with tears. Surely all pleasant things had gone before, Low-buried fathom deep beneath with thee, ...
— The Suppressed Poems of Alfred Lord Tennyson • Alfred Lord Tennyson

... attempt of so many eminent sort, and illustrious Antecessors, to explain in self- consistency the differing functions of the Roman Csar, and in what sense he was legibus solutus. The origin of this difficulty we shall soon understand.] wit could as little fathom as the fleets of Csar could traverse the Polar basin, or unlock the gates of the Pacific, are best symbolized, and find their most appropriate exponent, in the illimitable city itself—that Rome, whose ...
— The Caesars • Thomas de Quincey

... O depth of grief, how can I fathom thee Or look upon thee!—Poor, poor bloodstained hand! Poor sisters!—A fair sacrifice to stand Before God's altars, daughter; yea, and call Me and ...
— Hippolytus/The Bacchae • Euripides

... account of his new empire and a tribute of gold and silver. Albert Duerer in August, 1520, saw at Brussels the "things brought the king from the new golden land," and describes them in his diary as including "a whole golden sun, a fathom in breadth, and a whole silver moon of the same size, and two rooms full of the same sort of armour, and also all kinds of weapons, accoutrements and bows, wonderful shields . . . altogether valued at a hundred thousand guidon. And all my life," ...
— The Age of the Reformation • Preserved Smith

... wind bloweth where it listeth and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh or whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the 'Wind.' " The full significance of this name as applied to the Holy Spirit (or Holy Wind) it may be beyond us to fathom, but we can see at least this much ...
— The Person and Work of The Holy Spirit • R. A. Torrey

... till the Soul is nigh choked out of him, and only a kind of Digestive, Mechanic life remains. In Earth and in Heaven he can see nothing but Mechanism; has fear for nothing else, hope in nothing else: the world would indeed grind him to pieces; but cannot he fathom the Doctrine of Motives, and cunningly compute these, and mechanize them to grind ...
— Sartor Resartus - The Life and Opinions of Herr Teufelsdrockh • Thomas Carlyle

... minutes the two were bearing out—none too soon, for those pumas crowded up once or twice within a fathom of their deck, devilish and devouring. But they wore away with a capricious current, and down a tossing sea ...
— The Judgment House • Gilbert Parker

... toil and study and contact with the rough edges of human nature, there was something unspeakably restful in the atmosphere of that quiet home; something soothing in the silent, steadfast affection, the depth of which he was only beginning to fathom. ...
— At the Time Appointed • A. Maynard Barbour

... ocean, remember to leave a direction. One cannot always shoot flying. Lord Chesterfield directed a letter to the late Lord Pembroke, who was always swimming, "To the Earl of Pembroke in the Thames, over against Whitehall." That was sure of finding him within a certain number of fathom; but your ladyship's longitude varies so rapidly, that one must be a good bowler indeed, to take one's ground so judiciously that by casting wide of the mark one may come in near to ...
— Letters of Horace Walpole, V4 • Horace Walpole

... dear sir. In my opinion, she is the subject of an insane delusion. In your opinion, she is in possession of her senses, and has some mysterious motive which neither you nor I can fathom. Either way, there can be no harm in putting Mrs. Lecount's description to the test, not only as a matter of curiosity, but for our own private satisfaction on both sides. It is of course impossible to tell my niece that she is to ...
— No Name • Wilkie Collins

... from the river, with the ruins of several intervening houses to break its force. At this time I took notice the waters retired so impetuously, that some vessels were left quite dry, which rode in seven-fathom water. The river thus continued alternately rushing on and retiring several times, in such sort that it was justly dreaded Lisbon would now meet the same fate which a few years ago had befallen the city of Lima. The master of a vessel which ...
— Complete Story of the San Francisco Horror • Richard Linthicum

... fainter in my imagination. His intercourse with my father began to occupy my fancy ever more and more; I was restrained from asking my father about him by an unconquerable shyness; but as the years went on the desire waxed stronger and stronger within me to fathom the mystery myself and to see the fabulous Sand-man. He had been the means of disclosing to me the path of the wonderful and the adventurous, which so easily find lodgment in the mind of the child. I liked nothing ...
— Weird Tales. Vol. I • E. T. A. Hoffmann

... not to be lightly set aside. But let it be a friend of your own who is to marry, a friend of your own who dies, and you are to express yourself—the problem is changed, you feel all the difficulties of the art of style, and fathom something of the depth of your unskill. Forbidden silence, we should be in a poor ...
— Style • Walter Raleigh

... in Bigot's mind which Angelique could not fathom, as little did Bigot suspect that, when Angelique seemed to flatter him by yielding to his suggestions, she was following out a course she had already decided upon in her own mind from the moment she had learned that Cecile Tourangeau ...
— The Golden Dog - Le Chien d'Or • William Kirby



Words linked to "Fathom" :   capacity measure, excavation, volume unit, measure, fthm, understand, sound, displacement unit, linear unit, mining, pace, cubage unit, bottom, penetrate



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