A measure of length, equal to six feet. Used by mariners to determine the depth of the sea. The word is probably derived from the Teutonic word fad, which signifies the thread or yarn drawn out in spinning to the length of the arm, before it is run upon the spindle.
- 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. The measure or extant of one's capacity; depth, as of intellect; profundity; reach; penetration.
- vb. To encompass with the arms extended or encircling; to measure by throwing the arms about; to span. To measure by a sounding line; especially, to sound the depth of; to penetrate, measure, and comprehend; to get to the bottom of.