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Fathom   /fˈæðəm/   Listen
Fathom

verb
(past & past part. fathomed; pres. part. fathoming)
1.
Come to understand.  Synonyms: bottom, penetrate.
2.
Measure the depth of (a body of water) with a sounding line.  Synonym: sound.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Fathom" Quotes from Famous Books



... line of rocks running along forty or fifty feet farther out. Some of them seem to be thirty feet out of the water; at one end they touch the cliff, and at the other there is a free passage. The water is very clear, but as far as I can judge I should say there is a depth of a fathom or a fathom and a half between the rocks and the cliff. Certainly a boat could row in to a position underneath where ...
— The Treasure of the Incas • G. A. Henty

... of the immense depths of Divine wisdom, in forbidding us to fathom these depths by telling us that it is insolence to call God to the tribunal of our humble reason, in making it a crime to judge our Master, the theologians only confess the embarrassment in which they find themselves as soon as they have to render account of the conduct of a God, which they ...
— Superstition In All Ages (1732) - Common Sense • Jean Meslier

... his whiskers in peace and to think to his heart's content. By nightfall his face had become an inscrutable mask, and then it was known that the President of Bramble County's Horse-Thief Detective Association was determined to fathom the great problem. Stealthily he went up to the great attic in his home and inspected his "disguises." In some far-off period of his official career he had purchased the most amazing collection of false beards, wigs and garments that any stranded comedian ever disposed of at a sacrifice. He ...
— The Daughter of Anderson Crow • George Barr McCutcheon

... Darwinism—the Huxley of Germany. Like Huxley, Haeckel had at once made the logical application of the Darwinian theory to man himself, and he sought now to trace the exact lineage of the human family as no one had hitherto attempted to fathom it. Utilizing his wide range of zoological and anatomical knowledge, he constructed a hypothetical tree of descent—or, if you prefer, ascent—from the root in a protozoon to the topmost twig or most recent offshoot, man. ...
— A History of Science, Volume 5(of 5) - Aspects Of Recent Science • Henry Smith Williams

... we hove our ship to, with the wind at sou'-west, boys, We hove our ship to, for to strike soundings clear; We got soundings in ninety-five fathom, and boldly Up the channel of old England our course ...
— Flag and Fleet - How the British Navy Won the Freedom of the Seas • William Wood

... "Let us be friends. In yonder house live my parents and relatives. Go to them and ask for a hog, kapas, some fine mats, and a feather cloak. Describe me to them and tell them that I give all those things to you. The feather cloak is unfinished. It is now only a fathom and a half square, and was intended to be two fathoms. There are enough feathers and netting in the house to finish it. Tell them to finish it for ...
— Hawaiian Folk Tales - A Collection of Native Legends • Various

... Traitor, now is thy death day come. And when Sir Mordred heard Sir Arthur, he ran until him with his sword drawn in his hand. And then king Arthur smote Sir Mordred under the shield, with a foin of his spear throughout the body more than a fathom. And when Sir Mordred felt that he had his death's wound, he thrust himself, with the might that he had, up to the bur of king Arthur's spear. And right so he smote Arthur with his sword holden in both his hands, on the side of the head, that the sword pierced the helmet and the brain-pan, and ...
— The Ontario Readers: Fourth Book • Various

... where the rope was got, and doubt if I much cared. It was not that which gravelled me, but whether, now that we had it, it would serve our turn. Its length, indeed, we made a shift to fathom out; but who was to tell us how that length compared with the way we had to go? Day after day, there would be always some of us stolen out to the Devil's Elbow and making estimates of the descent, whether by a bare guess or the dropping of stones. ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 20 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... almost as dominant, and in its essence as irrational, as that which created feudalism." The gentlemen collected on the platform looked at each other and smiled, perhaps failing to catch the exact meaning of the Senator's words. "A lord here has a power, as a lord, which he cannot himself fathom and of which he daily makes an unconscious but most deleterious use. He is brought up to think it natural that he should be a tyrant. The proclivities of his order are generous, and as a rule he gives more than ...
— The American Senator • Anthony Trollope

... whist:" (mind, it is "cortesia," not "curtsey,") and read "quiet" for "whist," if you want the full sense. Then you may indeed foot it featly, and sweet spirits bear the burden for you—with watch in the night, and call in early morning. The vis viva in elemental transformation follows—"Full fathom five thy father lies, of his bones are coral made." Then, giving rest after labour, it "fetches dew from the still vext Bermoothes, and, with a charm joined to their suffered labour, leaves men asleep." Snatching away the feast of the cruel, it seems to them as a harpy; ...
— The Crown of Wild Olive • John Ruskin

... taking advantage of an opportunity to bask in the smile of a pretty girl for the sheer pleasure of her company. He was purposely detaining her, but whether from a wish to amuse himself or to mark his indifference to what went on around him she did not fathom. The fact was that Sylvia had wondered herself a good deal about that interview in Mrs. Owen's house, and she was not quite sure why she ...
— A Hoosier Chronicle • Meredith Nicholson

... excited him in an extraordinary measure, and the fact, taken together with other observations made elsewhere, had implanted in Jenkins's mind a suspicion, a mad desire to know the name of this new mistress. It was this that he was trying to read on the pale face of his patient, attempting to fathom the depth of his thoughts rather than the origin of his malady. But he had to deal with one of those faces which are hermetically sealed, like those little coffers with a secret spring which hold jewels and women's letters, ...
— The Nabob • Alphonse Daudet

... The elusive thought which he fancifully pursues from point to point in the surrounding landscape finds statement in lines 34-60. Of these lines Sharp (Life of Browning, p. 159) says, "There is a gulf which not the profoundest search can fathom, which not the strongest-winged love can overreach: the gulf of individuality. It is those who have loved most deeply who recognize most acutely this always pathetic and often terrifying isolation of the soul. None save the weak can believe in the absolute union of two spirits ... ...
— Selections from the Poems and Plays of Robert Browning • Robert Browning

... them. It is for Astronomy to make answer if question be raised of the date of Paschal full Moon, or of Eclipse. Let the physiologist explain, if he can, Scriptural allusions to the vegetable and animal kingdoms. How precious are the guesses of Geology, as she tries to fathom the Ocean of unrecorded Time!—Who would desire the silence of the Professor of any department of physical Science? Morals also have their place and their function assigned them; and a thrice blessed place,—a ...
— Inspiration and Interpretation - Seven Sermons Preached Before the University of Oxford • John Burgon

... looked earnestly, searchingly at the girl, as if striving to fathom her thoughts; then throwing her head back, with the haughty air which Edna had remarked in St. Elmo, she compressed her lips, lowered her veil, and remained silent and ...
— St. Elmo • Augusta J. Evans

... the conversation, questioning her and listening with affected interest to her mechanical answers, while trying to fathom those unsmiling, unearthly eyes that looked ...
— A Traveller in Little Things • W. H. Hudson

... was, could not be considered safe, to say the least of it. "As good as a gold-mine," he would exclaim. "Right bang in the middle of the Walpole Reefs, and if it's true enough that you can get no holding-ground anywhere in less than forty fathom, then what of that? There are the hurricanes, too. But it's a first-rate thing. As good as a gold-mine—better! Yet there's not a fool of them that will see it. I can't get a skipper or a shipowner to go near the place. So I made up my mind to cart the blessed stuff myself." ...
— Lord Jim • Joseph Conrad

... on strange ground to-night," suggested Portsmouth, tossing her head impatiently to indicate the terrace, as she tried to fathom ...
— Mistress Nell - A Merry Tale of a Merry Time • George C. Hazelton, Jr.

... "on" any longer, was what I could least fathom, but I trusted her to have excellent reasons for anything that she did. "It's sure to be quite simple, once you know it," I told myself; and the near future proved me to ...
— Lady Baltimore • Owen Wister

... scores of Tom Van Dorn's friends wondered at it then and have marveled at it since, that in the six months which elapsed between his divorce and his remarriage, he did not fathom the shallowness and pretense of Margaret Fenn. But he did not fathom them. Her glib talk taken mechanically from cheap philosophy about being what you think you are, about shifting moral responsibility onto good intentions, about ...
— In the Heart of a Fool • William Allen White

... would a shark, by spritsail-yarding, or some still less refined mode of torture. One day some of us while walking the poop had our attention directed to a sucking-fish about two and a half feet in length which had been made fast by the tail to a billet of wood by a fathom or so of spun yarn, and turned adrift. An immense striped shark, apparently about fourteen feet in length, which had been cruising about the ship all the morning, sailed slowly up, and, turning slightly on one side, attempted to seize the apparently helpless ...
— Narrative Of The Voyage Of H.M.S. Rattlesnake, Commanded By The Late Captain Owen Stanley, R.N., F.R.S. Etc. During The Years 1846-1850. Including Discoveries And Surveys In New Guinea, The Louisiade • John MacGillivray

... Whereupon he lighted a candle, and turned towards the door leading to the second story. He was evidently in a great hurry to get his guests up-stairs. Watson, Macgreggor and George looked at one another, as if trying to fathom the cause of their peculiar reception at the hands of Farmer Hare. But each one silently decided that their only cue was to be as polite as possible, and refrain from any ...
— Chasing an Iron Horse - Or, A Boy's Adventures in the Civil War • Edward Robins

... and entrance to the Infernal Regions from these parts. Others have gone down from the village with a "fifty-six" and a wagon load of inch rope, but yet have failed to find any bottom; for while the "fifty-six" was resting by the way, they were paying out the rope in the vain attempt to fathom their truly immeasurable capacity for marvellousness. But I can assure my readers that Walden has a reasonably tight bottom at a not unreasonable, though at an unusual, depth. I fathomed it easily with a cod-line and a stone weighing about a pound and a half, and could tell accurately ...
— Walden, and On The Duty Of Civil Disobedience • Henry David Thoreau

... 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

... secession and the Civil War which followed it, we must fathom the thoughts and feelings of the opposing parties. Let us suppose two representative spokesmen to state their case ...
— The Negro and the Nation - A History of American Slavery and Enfranchisement • George S. Merriam

... are. I am German. The blood of Kant is in my veins." He seemed to be speaking partly to himself. "I do not dogmatize so gladly as I once did. As I do not know the essence of matter, it would be folly for me to assume to fathom the depth of spirit. The essential hopelessness of science is coming to render me humble. Spiritualism certainly is a comfortable belief. I would gladly embrace it if I could. I suspend judgment. This desire for another life may be only a survival of a more unreasoning ...
— The Tyranny of the Dark • Hamlin Garland

... travellers having declared they had seen it in the distance) they would not have been allowed to approach it. This fact was the one point that chiefly dwelt in her mind—a secret of science which she puzzled her brain to fathom. What could be the unseen force that guarded the city?—girding it round with an unbreakable band from all exterior attack? A million bombs could not penetrate it,—so had said the Voice travelling ...
— The Secret Power • Marie Corelli

... a banker in an adjacent town, with whom he enjoyed a slight acquaintance. In thinking the matter over he was greatly perplexed to determine how to introduce the subject. Of course it would not answer to allow the cashier to fathom his secret purpose, and yet he was oppressed with a vague consciousness that only a translucent film hid his thought from the world. Once or twice, in driving over on the unfamiliar errand, weak and irresolute he half resolved to turn back, but greed finally prevailed, and ...
— The Lock and Key Library/Real Life #2 • Julian Hawthorne

... was in the zenith. His back Toward us, crouched the spider, at the mouth Of our strange prison on the towering cliff. The spider's shape was full a fathom long. Two parts it had, the fore part, head and breast; The hinder part, the trunk. The first was black, But all the last was covered with short hair, Yellow and fine. Eight sprawling legs adhered To his tough breast. Eight eyes were in his head, Two in the front, and three on either side; ...
— Stories in Verse • Henry Abbey

... under his own flag, and was indeed an admiral on his own account, he conferred with his first lieutenant, Peter Plum, on the question of a colour: what description of flag should he fly at his masthead? They both started with the understanding that nothing under a fathom and a half in length was worth hoisting. After much discussion it was agreed that the device should consist of a very small jack in the top corner, and in the middle a crown with a wooden leg under it—the timber toe being in both Westlake's and Plum's opinion the most pregnant symbol of ...
— The Honour of the Flag • W. Clark Russell

... the "Audacious" was too far off the Irish coast to permit of talk of shallow water, and that neither guns nor 30,000-ton warships are raised from fifty-fathom depths. ...
— The Audacious War • Clarence W. Barron

... word which man cannot fathom," cried Hadassah, "The Divine Essence is One: the foundation of our faith is the most solemn declaration, Hear, O Israel! the Lord our God[2] is One Lord (Deut. vi. 4); and yet in that very declaration is conveyed the idea of unity ...
— Hebrew Heroes - A Tale Founded on Jewish History • AKA A.L.O.E. A.L.O.E., Charlotte Maria Tucker

... years, but a child, or rather a piquant, amusing young girl, in manner, and perhaps in disposition. She is an enigma of which I should be sorry to have to undertake the solution. As she seems, I like her immensely, but when I try to fathom what she really is, she ...
— A Girl of the Commune • George Alfred Henty

... While endeavoring to fathom the mystery of life we soon realize, however, that we are dealing with an ultimate which no human mind is capable of solving or explaining. We can study and understand life only in its manifestations, not in ...
— Nature Cure • Henry Lindlahr

... Priest Pemberton was a real scholar in his 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 Guardian Angel • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

... 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

... my son," she replied honestly, "but I am at a loss to fathom his motive. What can ...
— For Love of Country - A Story of Land and Sea in the Days of the Revolution • Cyrus Townsend Brady

... some deep mystery here that I cannot fathom. In the first place, if they had really meant you to remain ignorant of the place at which the episodes described by you occurred, they would scarcely have dropped you at the ...
— The Hand Of Fu-Manchu - Being a New Phase in the Activities of Fu-Manchu, the Devil Doctor • Sax Rohmer

... babes yet, one 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)

... 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 little ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Volume 11, No. 24, March, 1873 • Various

... frothy sparkle on top, as if they had secrets they might tell if they wuz a mind to—secrets of dark places down, fur down, where the sun doesn't shine; secrets of joy and happiness, and hope that had gone down, and wuz carried under the depths—under the depths that we hadn't no lines to fathom. ...
— Samantha at the World's Fair • Marietta Holley

... very clear impression of the clergyman put carefully away beside his appreciation of Leh Shin's assistant. He had caught just a glimpse of the personality of the man, and was busy building it up bit by bit, working out his idea by first trying to fathom the temperament that dwelt in the spare body and drove and wore ...
— The Pointing Man - A Burmese Mystery • Marjorie Douie

... fill that up and forget it," he ventured in a valorously timid tone which made it hard, for reasons I couldn't quite fathom, to keep my throat from tightening. But I sat there, shaking my head ...
— The Prairie Child • Arthur Stringer

... off about money. What's money! This compact is a great mystery. It's my business from this hour to fathom that mystery. Please ...
— A Perilous Secret • Charles Reade

... just the very best idea yet. Excuse me a moment while I think," he said, and he closed his eyes. His head nodded two or three times in a satisfied sort of way, and occasionally he murmured to himself. The girls looked at one another, unable to fathom the meaning of this conduct. Then Mr. ...
— The Outdoor Girls in a Motor Car - The Haunted Mansion of Shadow Valley • Laura Lee Hope

... coast, and extended northward to the equator. These roads were from twenty to twenty-five feet wide, were macadamized with pulverized stone mixed with lime and bituminous cement, and were walled in by strong walls "more than a fathom in thickness." In many places these roads were cut for leagues through the rock; great ravines were filled up with solid masonry; rivers were crossed by suspension bridges, used here ages before their introduction ...
— The Antediluvian World • Ignatius Donnelly

... it, after all, a fight between the members of the band over the division of the spoils? It was too deep for the committee. They could feel dimly that mighty forces were stirring beneath the surface, but they could not fathom what it was all about. One thing was clear: the one thing that is always clear when capital speaks to business men of their class—they ...
— The Winning of Barbara Worth • Harold B Wright

... to a humble man like myself, occupying a position of no authority, to fathom what may be in the minds of those great Princes of the Church, the Archbishops. In effect they rule the country, and it is possible that they prefer to place on the throne a drunken nonentity who will offer no impediment ...
— The Sword Maker • Robert Barr

... that they attract. The psychology of the looks, and leers, and grins, and hot, hectic desires on the faces of his women is a puzzle that we can not lay aside—we want to solve the riddle of this paradox of existence—the woman whose soul is mire and whose heart is hell. Many men have tried to fathom it at close range, but we devise a safer plan and follow the trail in books, art and imagination. Art shows you the thing you might have done or been. Burke says the ugly attracts us, because we congratulate ourselves that we ...
— Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great, Volume 6 - Subtitle: Little Journeys to the Homes of Eminent Artists • Elbert Hubbard

... lookin' at the thing too, I think," said the Gairner; "but I canna juist fathom't, ...
— My Man Sandy • J. B. Salmond

... Into his mind there flashed Joan's words. . . . "It's ours. I tell you, ours," and he smiled grimly. "Why, in the name of fortune, I should give what I possess to a crowd of scally wags who haven't made good, is more than I can fathom. . . ." ...
— Mufti • H. C. (Herman Cyril) McNeile

... 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 of discovery on himself was that neither mariner nor merchant would ...
— The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 07 • Various

... of winter cold. With my back to both doors I stood shuddering over the blue fire. Whatever logicians may say, we do not reason life's conclusions out. Clouds blacken the heavens till there comes the lightning-flash. So do our intuitions leap unwarned from the dark. 'Twas thus I seemed to fathom the mystery of those interlopers. Ben Gillam had been chosen to bring the pirate ship north because his father, of the Hudson's Bay Company, could screen him from English spies. Mr. Stocking, of Boston, was another partner to the venture, who could shield ...
— Heralds of Empire - Being the Story of One Ramsay Stanhope, Lieutenant to Pierre Radisson in the Northern Fur Trade • Agnes C. Laut

... Feet thrash a Peasley! Huh! A joke! Why, Ethan was six foot six at twenty, with an arm like a fathom of towing cable. Catch me turning down one of our own boys! No, sir! Not by a ...
— Cappy Ricks • Peter B. Kyne

... mystified by this, and apprehensive—as men will be of the things they cannot fathom—of what might be reserved in it for Florence. It was Gherardi who reassured him, laughing in the face of the crafty Florentine, as he informed him that even children should come to smile at such a treaty as this. He added that he had gone after Paolo Orsini to beg ...
— The Life of Cesare Borgia • Raphael Sabatini

... of the wounden-neck back unto Wedermark. Unto such shall be granted amongst the good-doers To win the way out all whole from the war-race. 300 Then boun they to faring, the bark biding quiet; Hung upon hawser the wide-fathom'd ship Fast at her anchor. Forth shone the boar-shapes Over the check-guards golden adorned, Fair-shifting, fire-hard; ward held the farrow. Snorted the war-moody, hasten'd the warriors And trod down together until the hall timbered, Stately and ...
— The Tale of Beowulf - Sometime King of the Folk of the Weder Geats • Anonymous

... has stratagems that one must fathom. The intelligence of that animal is really marvellous. I have observed at night a fox hunting a rabbit. He had organized a real hunt. I assure you it is not easy to dislodge a fox. Caumont has an excellent cellar. I do not care for it, but it is generally appreciated. ...
— The Red Lily, Complete • Anatole France

... Mr. Chumbleton if there were any signs of Cardinal College being affected by the new Moral Uplift, but he seemed unable to fathom the meaning of my query. His standpoint was clearly philistine and, I regret to say, distinctly pagan. He had never heard of the Land Campaign, or of Mr. HEMMERDE, Baron DE FOREST or even Mr. HAROLD BEGBIE. ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 147, July 22, 1914 • Various

... we cannot fathom, Placed within thy form! When the heart is sinking, Thou alone canst raise it, Trembling ...
— The Complete Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

... said Captain Ephraim ruefully. "It's not my way to go by land if I can get by water, and I have not been a fathom deep in a wood since King Philip came down on the province, so you must lay the course and ...
— The Refugees • Arthur Conan Doyle

... nephew's departure on this voyadge, there hapned an unlookt-for accident the 22 or 23rd of Aprill, at night. Having haled our vessells as far as wee could into a litle slip in a wood, wee thought them very secure, lying under a litle Hill about 10 fathom high, our Houses being about the same distance off from the River side; yet about 10 o'clock at night a hideous great noise rous'd us all out of our sleep, & our sentinill came & told us it was the clattering of much Ice, & that the floods came downe with ...
— Voyages of Peter Esprit Radisson • Peter Esprit Radisson

... care for out-door things?" Then get a bit of wood and a few carving tools, and see what dainty wonders you can make at home. Or lose your cares in "illuminating"; or bury them fathom deep in German. From any of these, well begun and carried on, you will come back re-created for your work: made over "as good as new." Not poisoned with bad air, nor wearied by late hours; not singed and jaded with chagrin, vanity, and disappointment. Riding, rowing, archery, fishing, ought to ...
— Tired Church Members • Anne Warner

... annoyed to feel that he was flushing. He could not fathom her, but he had a conviction that she had been serious and that this attitude was a mere pose. "Nevertheless, I think it can be managed," he insisted. "And I want you ...
— The Blood Red Dawn • Charles Caldwell Dobie

... passed close to two rocks on which the waves break furiously. They are the Piedras de Diego Perez (latitude 21 degrees 58 minutes 10 seconds.) The temperature of the sea at its surface lowers at this point to 22.6 degrees centigrade, the depth of the water being only about one fathom. In the evening we went on shore at Cayo de Piedras; two rocks connected together by breakers and lying in the direction of north-north-west to south-south-east. On these rocks which form the eastern extremity ...
— Equinoctial Regions of America V3 • Alexander von Humboldt

... that it is, most certainly. That profound wisdom; that toleration of the weaknesses of men; that sympathy with men, who cannot fathom the mysteries of life, and the struggle for life of all things that love life; that spirit I call God, and I don't think that a better name ...
— Phyllis of Philistia • Frank Frankfort Moore

... stood absently turning over the papers on his desk, in a frame of mind which left him uncertain how to employ himself,—whether to read,—to write,—to finish a sketch of the flowering reeds on the river which he had yesterday begun,—or to combat with his own mood, fathom its meaning, and conquer its tendency? There came a light tap at his door and the maid Hester ...
— God's Good Man • Marie Corelli

... cauldron, out it came in an ecclesiastical shape'. If the newspaper report may be relied on, there was much laughing among the hearers of those words, the deep meaning of which it may safely be affirmed, only a select few of them could fathom. ...
— An Apology for Atheism - Addressed to Religious Investigators of Every Denomination - by One of Its Apostles • Charles Southwell

... will tell you my story and how I became an eunuch.' So they set down the lantern and dug a hole between four tombs, the length and breadth of the chest, Kafour plying the spade and Sewab clearing away the earth by basketsful, till they had reached a depth of half a fathom, when they laid the chest in the hole and threw back the earth over it: then went out and shutting the door, disappeared from Ghanim's sight. When he was sure that they were indeed gone and that he was alone in the place, his heart was concerned to know what was in the chest and he said to himself; ...
— The Book Of The Thousand Nights And One Night, Volume I • Anonymous

... auction-room, and it became a by-word that a visit from the great book-hunter was as bad as a storm in the book-shops. He boasted in his epigrams of exploits in Flanders, in Switzerland, and among the Venetian book-stalls. At Rome he bought books by the fathom; he skimmed the German shelves, and passed over into England to relieve the islanders of their riches. At Lyons he met Marshal Villeroi, who gave him a great portion of the books which Cardinal de Tournon had bequeathed to the Jesuits. We trace ...
— The Great Book-Collectors • Charles Isaac Elton and Mary Augusta Elton

... a no. So down we three—myself, and Bill there, and Philip Feltram—come to the boat; and we pulled out, keeping Snakes Island atwixt us and the wind. 'Twas smooth water wi' us, for 'twas a scug there, but white enough was all beyont the point; and passing the finger-stone, not forty fathom from the shore o' the island, Bill and me pullin' and he sittin' in the stern, poor lad, up he rises, a bit rabblin' to himself, ...
— J. S. Le Fanu's Ghostly Tales, Volume 3 • Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

... we always found more shallow water, and the sea thick, black, and very muddy, and came at length into five fathom water; and seeing this we determined to pass over to the land which we had seen on the other side, and here likewise we found as little depth or less, whereupon we rode all night in five fathom ...
— The Romance of the Colorado River • Frederick S. Dellenbaugh

... not put the bear at the very top of his list and charges for him at the highest rate? Why children so delight in bears and have such a firm belief that they are kind, gentle, and grandfatherly animals is a piece of psychology which I have never been able to fathom. As to the existence of the feeling, there can be no possible doubt. My grandchildren, budding Montessorians though they be, have the same absolute and unlimited confidence in bears that I had ...
— The Adventure of Living • John St. Loe Strachey

... and really esteemed this one of the greatest compliments his science had ever received; Dr. Spencer could not help observing, 'I did not think it was in him to do such a wise thing. I never can fathom the rogue. I hope he was not bitten during his benevolent ...
— The Trial - or, More Links of the Daisy Chain • Charlotte M. Yonge

... in consequence, advised that they should sacrifice to the wind; and a sacrifice was accordingly offered, when the vehemence of the wind appeared to every one manifestly to abate. The depth of the snow was a fathom; so that many of the baggage-cattle and slaves perished, with about thirty of the soldiers. They continued to burn fires through the whole night, for there was plenty of wood at the place of encampment. But those who came up late could get no wood; those ...
— The Best of the World's Classics, Restricted to prose. Volume I (of X) - Greece • Various

... But let me even turn And hide myself from what I've seen, and try To fathom certain truths you know, and learn The Beauty shining in ...
— The Poems of Henry Kendall • Henry Kendall

... was not the dupe of the two sisters; she guessed into whose hands that money was to go, and she was delighted to oblige the countess; moreover, she felt a deep compassion for all such embarrassments. Rastignac, so placed that he was able to fathom the manoeuvres of the two bankers, came to breakfast that morning with ...
— A Daughter of Eve • Honore de Balzac

... and gave it an admonitory shake. "My dear lad, don't be a fool!" he said, with slow force. "You're consuming your own happiness—and hers too. You can't measure a woman's feelings like that. They are immeasurable. You can't even begin to fathom a woman's restraint—a woman's reserve. How can she offer when you are always demanding? As to her love, it is probably as infinitely great, as infinitely deep, as infinitely selfless, as yours is passionate, and fierce and insatiable. ...
— The Bars of Iron • Ethel May Dell

... guitar to the accompaniment of which he sang a number of plaintive and sweet-toned songs. Three or four of his countrymen occasionally came up from below. Then they, too, sang more plaintive songs; or played a strange game with especial cards which none of us "gringos" could ever fathom; or perhaps stepped a grave, formal sort of dance. Senora Morena, the only woman, would sometimes join in this. She was a large woman, but extraordinarily light on her feet. In fact, as she swayed and balanced opposite her partner she reminded me of nothing so much as ...
— Gold • Stewart White

... directly concern the moral responsibility, and therefore the destiny, of man. All-important, therefore, in both points of view, they have been much discussed in all ages of the world, and have no doubt urged men, more than all other questions have, to endeavor to fathom the profound mysteries of the Nature and the mode of Existence and action of an ...
— Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry • Albert Pike

... the North, and the longer you looked at them the deeper they grew, just like the tarn, which, if you stare long enough into it, you will find is as deep as the heavens above, that is, whose depth only faith and fancy can fathom. But however long you looked at Aasa, you could never be quite sure that she looked at you; she seemed but to half notice whatever went on around her; the look of her eye was always more than half inward, and when it shone the brightest, it might well happen that she could ...
— Tales From Two Hemispheres • Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen

... the garden behind her, the girl's light chatter, her companion's brief, cynical laugh. For she knew by the sure intuition which is a woman's inner and unerring vision, that jest or trifle as he might his keen brain was actively employed in some subtle investigation too obscure for her to fathom, and that behind his badinage and behind his cynicism there sat ...
— The Keeper of the Door • Ethel M. Dell

... only a few feet away, was a dark chasm lying between us and that shore for which we had been striving so earnestly. It was a fathom wide; and there flowed the dark waters of the river, gloomily, warningly, menacingly! To me, that chasm was nothing; but how could she cross it? Besides, there was no doubt that ...
— The Lady of the Ice - A Novel • James De Mille

... graftiest modern city you might mention. The thing is inexplicable—but perfectly attested. Not quite inexplicable, either: he came from the Gods, and had the Gloves of Gwron on his hands: he had the wisdom you cannot fathom, which meets all events and problems as they come, and finds their solution in its superhuman self, where the human brain-mind finds only dense impenetrability.—Marquis Ting saw and wondered.—"Could ...
— The Crest-Wave of Evolution • Kenneth Morris

... to drag the cricket into the burrow without listening to the recriminations which the latter had no business to make, since it was to be regarded as having received the two routine doses of poison. But the Sphex sees its victim come to life, understands this fact, and without seeking to fathom the cause judges that a new struggle and new blows of the sting are necessary; he understands that it is necessary to begin afresh, since the usual result has not been attained. He is then capable of reflection, and the series of acts which he accomplishes are not ordained with such ...
— The Industries of Animals • Frederic Houssay

... 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 the opposite heights, ...
— Vanity Fair • William Makepeace Thackeray

... Mansford stood within the vestibule of the former's home. Ramon's arm was around Alene's waist and her beautiful black eyes were upturned to his, as if to say, "Fathom the love we tell of, if you can." Down stoops Ramon and plants a fervent, lingering kiss upon the lips of the girl he loves, saying, as he stroked ...
— The Hindered Hand - or, The Reign of the Repressionist • Sutton E. Griggs

... "'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 ...
— Mary Olivier: A Life • May Sinclair

... complication of interests at present springing up in Europe, which is difficult to fathom. Just now it seems as if the Polish insurrection were being fomented by Austria, at French instigation, in order that the hands of Russia may be tied, so that in case of war with America, we may be deprived of the ...
— Continental Monthly, Vol. III, No IV, April 1863 - Devoted to Literature and National Policy • Various

... one can surely fathom all the cunning wiles of Satan; for though many said Sidonia's power is now broken by Wolde's death, and indeed the poor sheriff was the only one who still played the hare, and kept the roaring ox safe up ...
— Sidonia The Sorceress V2 • William Mienhold

... the leaves of the book of the past, and study its economic aspect, as we have studied its political and literary aspect. We must follow living nations through their divers periods of development, and fathom the causes of the destruction of those that are dead. When we are dealing with the comparative study of the economic destinies of nations, our investigations are limited to a small number of individual nations—a ...
— Principles Of Political Economy • William Roscher

... What did the look mean that she sometimes surprised in Martha's eyes—the same look she had detected in Stephen's? Were they looks of pity or were they—and she shuddered—looks of scorn? This was the nightmare which had haunted her, the problem she could not fathom. ...
— Felix O'Day • F. Hopkinson Smith

... merciful essay! When we had once got upon the subject of sanitary improvements, I thought we should soon be five fathom deep in blue-books, reports, interminable questions of sewerage, and horrors of ...
— Friends in Council (First Series) • Sir Arthur Helps

... thought he, as he put matters to rights in the surgery ere going upstairs. "A mystery which I may as well fathom. It may be of use to poor Tom, as most other mysteries are. That is, though, if I can do it honourably; for the man is a gallant gentleman. I like him, and I am inclined to trust him. Whatsoever his secret is, I don't think that it is ...
— Two Years Ago, Volume II. • Charles Kingsley

... earthly blessing. Relations, acquaintances, strangers, even enemies, could be found who would do so. But who will so love me as to carry my crushing burden of sin? Who can fully understand its exceeding sinfulness I Who can fathom the depths into which I have fallen, or enter the body of death which imprisons my spirit. One only, the truest, the best, the most loving of all, my Saviour! And His hatred of my sin, and His sorrow for it, is just the measure of His love to ...
— Parish Papers • Norman Macleod

... the skeleton sent to Spanish Town, where a few years afterwards it fell to pieces for want of care. This unfortunate town has been twice destroyed by an earthquake; the ruins on a clear day may be seen in three-fathom water. ...
— A Sailor of King George • Frederick Hoffman

... name Hau-mea who was Kapo's mother. It belongs to the land, in contrast to the sea, and seems to be intended to intensify and extend the meaning of the term previously used. The passage is difficult. Expert Hawaiians profess their inability to fathom its meaning.] ...
— Unwritten Literature of Hawaii - The Sacred Songs of the Hula • Nathaniel Bright Emerson

... confronted, but they were as shifty as the maiden's were steady, and whilst the blue of hers deepened with anger, his assumed a greenish tint that was both uncomely and cruel. For a moment he stared into the azure deeps before him, trying to fathom them. ...
— Sea-Dogs All! - A Tale of Forest and Sea • Tom Bevan

... '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, ...
— Tales from Shakespeare • Charles and Mary Lamb

... had gained an offing of four miles, when a violent gale and snow-storm came on. The sails belonging to the vessel all blew to rags immediately, being very old. I had no resource, except to anchor, which I did on a bank, in five fathom water. The other vessel lost all her sails, and, having no anchor, as I then conjectured, and afterwards learned, drifted on shore, and was dashed to pieces, the people being either frozen to death, wounded, or ...
— Frank Mildmay • Captain Frederick Marryat

... To portray his studied thought; He may draw from truth and fiction All the charm with which they're fraught; He may be a friend of Nature And may understand her laws; He may prove embryo creature Has within itself a "cause"; He may fathom all creation And dwell among the stars, Visit every land and nation And return with honor's scars; Yet he may lack a power,— Occult to scientific truth— Which is Heaven's richest dower To ...
— Our Profession and Other Poems • Jared Barhite

... the churchyard of St. Peter, where he saw that pyramid that Julius Caesar brought forth of Africa; it stood in Faustus's time leaning against the church-wall of St. Peter's; but Pope Sixtus hath erected it in the middle of St. Peter's churchyard. It is fourteen fathom long, and at the lower end five fathom four square, and so forth smaller upwards. On the top is a crucifix of beaten gold, the stone standing on four lions of brass. Then he visited the seven churches of Rome, that ...
— Mediaeval Tales • Various

... it was flowing nicely just astern, the order, "Slack away," was given; the wire being paid out evenly by means of the friction-brakes. In one thousand five hundred fathoms of water, after the two-thousand-fathom mark had passed out, the order was given, "Hold on and make fast." Speed was now reduced to one and a half knots and the wire watched until it gave a decided indication of the trawl dragging over the bottom. The strain was now taken ...
— The Home of the Blizzard • Douglas Mawson

... pleasant secret behind this, a secret that none is wise enough to fathom. The infinite fund of disinterested humane kindliness that is adrift in the world is part of the riddle, the insoluble riddle of life that is born in our blood and tissue. It is agreeable to think that no man, save by his own gross fault, ever went ...
— Pipefuls • Christopher Morley

... are exercised thereby;' and as we are in the same place commanded to 'make straight paths for our feet,' so in this instance I have preferred giving my child present pain in order that he may escape future and greater trials. Ah! Margaret, he may think I am harsh in this case, as he cannot fathom my motive; and how often do we judge hardly of the dealings of our kind heavenly Father when he thwarts us in some favourite wish, or smiles not on our undertaking. Be assured that only those who commit their ...
— Watch—Work—Wait - Or, The Orphan's Victory • Sarah A. Myers

... "A fathom deep in sleep I lie With old desires, restrained before, To clamor lifeward with a cry, As dark flies out the greying door; And so in quest of creeds to share I seek assertive day again... But old monotony is ...
— This Side of Paradise • F. Scott Fitzgerald

... brisk wind till nine in the morning, we came among certain islands called Atfas, almost entirely desert, and only inhabited by people who come from other islands to fish and seek for pearls, which they get by diving to the bottom of the sea in four fathom water. They drink rain water, which is preserved in cisterns and ponds. We remained here all night, having ran 100 miles. On the 20th we came to an island 20 miles from the land named Khamaran, where we got provisions and good water. In this island there was a ruinous castle, altogether ...
— A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume VI - Early English Voyages Of Discovery To America • Robert Kerr

... you not to be overpowered by your feelings of indignation, and to be amiable and condescending toward the home-coming Electoral Prince; for it is sometimes very necessary to wear a mask and assume an appearance of harmlessness and unconcern in order the better to fathom the designs of one's enemies, and to make them feel secure, that they may the more easily ...
— The Youth of the Great Elector • L. Muhlbach

... read about Brutus, one of those mysterious men whose history we could not fathom, for as far north as York we read in a book there that "Brutus settled in this country when the Prophet Eli governed Israel and the Ark was taken from the Philistines, about 1140 B.C., or a century and a half later than when David was singing Psalms in Jerusalem"; then the writer went on to ...
— From John O'Groats to Land's End • Robert Naylor and John Naylor

... to him than ever. When he had sought her glance, her look had told him nothing. It was as though with the doffing of the motley she had discarded its recollections. In a tentative mood, he had striven to fathom her, but found himself at a loss. She had been neither reserved, nor had she avoided him; to her the past seemed a page, lightly read and turned. Had Caillette truly said "now she belonged to ...
— Under the Rose • Frederic Stewart Isham

... intellectual miseries which surround us: God destines a calmer and a more certain future to the communities of Europe; I am unacquainted with His designs, but I shall not cease to believe in them because I cannot fathom them, and I had rather mistrust my ...
— Democracy In America, Volume 1 (of 2) • Alexis de Tocqueville

... he said slowly, as if he measured her resistance though he couldn't fathom it, "I guess it had better be yes or no right here. It ain't going to do either of us any good to drag this thing out. If you want to come back to me, come—if you don't, we'll shake hands on it now. I'm due in Apex for ...
— The Custom of the Country • Edith Wharton

... exclaimed. "What a devil! He's half a fathom broad across his shoulders. And he's hungry, too; look how the pilot fish are running round the ship. That's a sure sign he has an empty belly. If he wasn't hungry they would ...
— Edward Barry - South Sea Pearler • Louis Becke

... down—troubled. The mother moved away. The father bent his head upon his hand with closed eyes. The girl came back to her work, but the song on her lips had died. She worked silently with a far look in her eyes, trying to fathom it. ...
— The City of Fire • Grace Livingston Hill

... ministers! you novices! We receive you with free sense at last, and are insatiate henceforward; Not you any more shall be able to foil us, or withhold yourselves from us; We use you, and do not cast you aside—we plant you permanently within us; We fathom you not—we love you—there is perfection in you also; You furnish your parts toward eternity; Great or small, you furnish your ...
— Poems By Walt Whitman • Walt Whitman

... may be on the lookout for Mooween; you may be eager and even anxious to meet him; but when you double the point or push into the blueberry patch and, suddenly, there he is, blocking the path ahead, looking intently into your eyes to fathom at a glance your intentions, then, I fancy, the experience is like that of people who have the inquisitive habit of looking under their beds nightly for a burglar, and at last find him there, stowed away snugly, just where they always expected ...
— Wood Folk at School • William J. Long

... you were in that trance something that was not you spoke out of your mouth, which something said that it was your namesake, the other Benita. Well, as you say, we can't fathom these things, especially in a haunted kind of place like this, but the upshot of it is that I don't think we have much more to ...
— Benita, An African Romance • H. Rider Haggard

... considerable way, I was unwilling to discourage the men, and reluctantly gave up my intention of ascertaining the depth and the character of the bed. There was a general shout in the boat when we found ourselves in one fathom, and we soon after landed on a low point of mud, immediately under the butte of the peninsula, where we unloaded the boat, and carried the baggage about a quarter of a mile to firmer ground. We arrived just in time for meridian observation, and carried the ...
— The Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, Oregon and California • Brevet Col. J.C. Fremont

... running water and nought besides. On the far bank the mists lay in wisps and streamers above the low-lying meadow, and the dark bulk of cattle and horses loomed through them like rocks in a vaporous sea. But a fathom from the ground the air was dry and clear; it was but in a shallow sea that these rocks were submerged, and on this side of the river where Daisy walked the banking-up of the path to form a protection to the garden against the spring ...
— Daisy's Aunt • E. F. (Edward Frederic) Benson

... Kitty's chamber, as she endeavored to persuade him to do—and that for two reasons: the first, because by this means he should escape reproaches, recriminations, and prayers; the second, because he was not sorry to have an opportunity of reading his own thoughts and endeavoring, if possible, to fathom those of ...
— The Three Musketeers • Alexandre Dumas, Pere

... light the skyes. O Phoebus, hadst thou but thus long from thine, Restrained the beams of thy beloved shine, At thy return, if so thou could'st or durst Behold a Chaos blacker than the first. Tell him here's worse than a confused matter, His little world's a fathom under water, Nought but the fervor of his ardent beams Hath power to dry the torrent of these streams Tell him I would say more but cannot well, Oppressed minds, abruptest tales do tell. Now post with double speed, mark what I says By all our loves, ...
— Anne Bradstreet and Her Time • Helen Campbell

... remained inscrutable. I could not fathom the expressions of his black frowning face. Although Captain Falk of course had no direct communication with him openly, I learned through Bill Hayden that indirectly he treated him with tolerant ...
— The Mutineers • Charles Boardman Hawes

... humbug, that I acquired what you consider an unfeminine accomplishment. I saw fat, turbaned men sitting cross-legged in every bazaar, dozing over their huge pipes, in a sort of dreamy helplessness; and I determined to fathom the mystery of their enjoyment, and find ...
— Flora Lyndsay - or, Passages in an Eventful Life • Susan Moodie

... thing was incomprehensible to him. Why under heaven had she done it? How could one so sensitive have done a wanton cruel thing like this? Her reason he could not fathom. The facts that confronted him were that she had done it, and had meant to carry the crime through. Only detection had ...
— Brand Blotters • William MacLeod Raine

... countenance; who had no other wish, no other prayer, no other hope than to please him. She felt that the eye of Frederick never rested upon her with any other expression than that of cold friendship or absolute indifference. The reason for this she could never fathom. Elizabeth would have given her heart's blood to be beloved by him for one single day, yes, for one short, blessed hour; to be clasped to his heart, not for form or etiquette, but as a loving and beloved wife, to receive in her ear the sweet whispers ...
— Frederick the Great and His Court • L. Muhlbach

... you can, and walk down Main Street with a swing to your shoulders, too. And now you're up on the Bank and twenty-five fathom of water and the right bottom—and you're a ...
— The Seiners • James B. (James Brendan) Connolly

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

... last remark of Angelica's, twinkled a glance at his Father Confessor which had an effect on the latter that made itself apparent in the severity of his reply: "The ways of the Lord are inscrutable," he said, "and it is presumptuous for mortals, however great their station, to attempt to fathom them." ...
— The Heavenly Twins • Madame Sarah Grand

... Glown-a-Coppal, the "Horse's Glen," invites the adventurous to fathom its depths. The dark lakes lying in its shadows are shoreless, but for the gloomy rocks which overhang the water's edge. Where the ground becomes more broken and rugged, suddenly a less inaccessible path arises, and leads to the Devil's Punch Bowl, a dark tarn, beset with strange ...
— The Sunny Side of Ireland - How to see it by the Great Southern and Western Railway • John O'Mahony and R. Lloyd Praeger

... afternoon fire started in the hold. It's makin' headway fast now, an'll reach the dynamite most any time. You'd better take us aboard, an' get away from here as quick as you can. 'Tain't safe nowhere within five hun'erd fathom of her." ...
— The Mucker • Edgar Rice Burroughs

... could pick her out from ten thousand, but I have never seen her yet in the City of Light. You may, my dear friend, cherish only an illusion, and yet I am half willing to agree with you; such intuitive feelings have a deeper philosophy of truth than we can fathom, and no laughing skepticism, no mere frivolous doubt can expel them. Wait, my friend; it may yet be meant for you to meet her. And now I do recall some accounts told me of occasional visitants to Mars entering its life at different points; many ...
— The Certainty of a Future Life in Mars • L. P. Gratacap

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



Words linked to "Fathom" :   measure, pace, volume unit, quantify, linear measure, mining, cubic measure, capacity measure, excavation, cubage unit, understand, capacity unit, cubic content unit, displacement unit, yard, cubature unit, linear unit



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