Simple Definition of peruse
: to look at or read (something) in an informal or relaxed way
: to examine or read (something) in a very careful way
Examples of peruse in a sentence
To refresh my memory of the old days, I asked for some Dailies of the thirties from the morgue, sat down at the large round oak table at the end of the editorial room on the second floor, and began riffling through the musty pages. Soon a burly middle-aged man appeared and seated himself at the table to peruse some recent issues of the paper and take notes. —Arthur Miller, Timebends, 1987
I've even found myself idly perusing the Yellow Pages, not frantic for a plumber, just browsing. —Lesley Conger, Writer, October 1968
Bessie asked if I would have a book … , and I begged her to fetch Gulliver's Travels from the library. This book I had again and again perused with delight. —Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre, 1847
He perused the newspaper over breakfast.
<perused the manuscript, checking for grammatical errors>
Did You Know?
Peruse has long been a literary word, used by such famous authors as Shakespeare, Tennyson, and Thomas Hardy, and it tends to have a literary flavor even in our time. Peruse can suggest paying close attention to something, but it can also simply mean "to read." The "read" sense, which is not especially new and was in fact included in Samuel Johnson's 1755 dictionary, has drawn some criticism over the years for being too broad. Some commentators have recommended that peruse be reserved for reading with great care and attention to detail. But the fact remains that peruse is often used in situations where a simple "read" definition could be easily substituted. It may suggest either an attentive read or a quick scan.
Origin of peruse
Middle English, to use up, deal with in sequence, from Latin per- thoroughly + Middle English usen to use
First Known Use: 1532
PERUSE Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
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