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Fathom (n.) A measure of length, containing six feet; the space to which a man can extend his arms; -- used chiefly in measuring cables, cordage, and the depth of navigable water by soundings.
Fathom (n.) The measure or extant of one's capacity; depth, as of intellect; profundity; reach; penetration.
Fathom (v. t.) To encompass with the arms extended or encircling; to measure by throwing the arms about; to span.
Fathom (v. t.) The measure by a sounding line; especially, to sound the depth of; to penetrate, measure, and comprehend; to get to the bottom of.