To retch is to gag, or nearly vomit. The smell of a passing garbage truck on a hot summer day might make you retch.

Sometimes, retch is used to literally mean "throw up," but it usually means to come very close to throwing up without actually vomiting. You might retch because you're sick, or when you have to eat something you hate, like overcooked cauliflower. Retch is also a noun: "When I heard the retch from the bathroom, I knew he'd caught that stomach bug." Originally, to retch meant "to clear the throat."

Definitions of retch
  1. verb
    make an unsuccessful effort to vomit; strain to vomit
    synonyms: gag, heave
  2. verb
    eject the contents of the stomach through the mouth
    synonyms: barf, be sick, chuck, disgorge, regurgitate, throw up, vomit, vomit up
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    keep down
    manage not to throw up
    type of:
    egest, eliminate, excrete, pass
    eliminate from the body
  3. noun
    an involuntary spasm of ineffectual vomiting
    synonyms: heave
    see moresee less
    type of:
    (pathology) sudden constriction of a hollow organ (as a blood vessel)
Word Family

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