Word of the DayMonday, June 07, 2010
\FATH-uhm\ , verb;
To penetrate to the truth of; comprehend; understand.
To measure the depth of water by means of a sounding line; sound.
A unit of length equal to six feet (1.8 meters): used chiefly in nautical measurements.
"Moving at 200 miles an hour, he could see things more clearly than most of us could ever fathom, and thrill us all while doing it."
-- Teresa Earnhardt, Remembering Dale Earnhardt, NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, May 2010
Figuring out whether travel insurance covers your canceled trip can be as hard to fathom as the pronunciation of the volcano causing all the trouble (Eyjafjallajokull).
-- Jane Engle, "For travelers, an Icelandic pain in the ash", Los Angeles Times, May 2010
Fathom starts its history meaning a "length of the outstretched arm" (a measure of about six feet). The verb sense comes into being approximately 1600.
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