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fathom (verb) measure depth; understand thoroughly.
When you fathom the depth of a river, sea, or ocean at a certain point you measure it. You measure the depth of an ocean in fathoms. To understand something thoroughly is to fathom it. When you say it is difficult to fathom a person's mind you mean it is difficult to understand them.
- Fathoming the intention of a person is understanding clearly their intentions.
- Was it Somerset Maugham who has said it is difficult to fathom the mind even of the person closest to you, and that even after years of being close to them you know next to nothing about them?