|to bark; yelp.|
|to spend time idly; loaf.|
|1.||a unit of length equal to six feet (1.829 metres), used to measure depths of water|
|2.||mining a unit of volume usually equal to six cubic feet, used in measuring ore bodies|
|3.||forestry a unit of volume equal to six cubic feet, used for measuring timber|
|4.||to measure the depth of, esp with a sounding line; sound|
|5.||to penetrate (a mystery, problem, etc); discover the meaning of|
|[Old English fæthm; related to Old Frisian fethem outstretched arms, Old Norse fathmr embrace, Old High German fadum cubit, Latin patēre to gape]|
(Old A.S. faethm, "bosom," or the outstretched arms), a span of six feet (Acts 27:28). Gr. orguia (from orego, "I stretch"), the distance between the extremities of both arms fully stretched out.
old English measure of length, now standardized at 6 feet (1.83 metre), which has long been used as a nautical unit of depth. The longest of many units derived from an anatomical measurement, the fathom originated as the distance from the middle fingertip of one hand to the middle fingertip of the other hand of a large man holding his arms fully extended. The name comes from the Old English faedm or faethm, meaning outstretched arms
Learn more about fathom with a free trial on Britannica.com.