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verb, \ˈrēd\

Simple Definition of read

  • : to look at and understand the meaning of letters, words, symbols, etc.

  • : to read the words of (a book, magazine, etc.)

  • : to speak aloud the words of (something written)

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of read

read play \ˈred\ reading play \ˈrē-diŋ\

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a (1) :  to receive or take in the sense of (as letters or symbols) especially by sight or touch (2) :  to study the movements of (as lips) with mental formulation of the communication expressed (3) :  to utter aloud the printed or written words of <read them a story> b :  to learn from what one has seen or found in writing or printing c :  to deliver aloud by or as if by reading; specifically :  to utter interpretively d (1) :  to become acquainted with or look over the contents of (as a book) (2) :  to make a study of <read law> (3) :  to read the works of e :  to check (as copy or proof) for errors f (1) :  to receive and understand (a voice message) by radio (2) :  understand, comprehend

  3. 2 a :  to interpret the meaning or significance of <read palms> b :  foretell, predict <able to read his fortune>

  4. 3 :  to recognize or interpret as if by reading: as a :  to learn the nature of by observing outward expression or signs <reads him like a book> b :  to note the action or characteristics of in order to anticipate what will happen <a good canoeist reads the rapids> <a golfer reading a green>; also :  to predict the movement of (a putt) by reading a green c :  to anticipate by observation of an opponent's position or movement <read a blitz>

  5. 4 a :  to attribute a meaning to (as something read) :  interpret <how do you read this passage> b :  to attribute (a meaning) to something read or considered <read a nonexistent meaning into her words>

  6. 5 :  to use as a substitute for or in preference to another word or phrase in a particular passage, text, or version <read hurry for harry> —often used to introduce a clarifying substitute for a euphemistic or misleading word or phrase <a friendly, read nosy, coworker>

  7. 6 :  indicate <the thermometer reads zero>

  8. 7 :  to interpret (a musical work) in performance

  9. 8 a :  to acquire (information) from storage; especially :  to sense the meaning of (data) in recorded and coded form —used of a computer or data processor b :  to read the coded information on (as a floppy disk)

  10. intransitive verb
  11. 1 a :  to perform the act of reading words :  read something b (1) :  to learn something by reading (2) :  to pursue a course of study

  12. 2 a :  to yield a particular meaning or impression when read b :  to be readable or read in a particular manner or to a particular degree <this book reads smoothly>

  13. 3 :  to consist of specific words, phrases, or other similar elements <a passage that reads differently in older versions>

read between the lines
  1. :  to understand more than is directly stated

read the riot act
  1. 1 :  to order a mob to disperse

  2. 2 a :  to order or warn to cease something b :  to protest vehemently c :  to reprimand severely

Examples of read in a sentence

  1. She learned to read at a very early age.

  2. I can't read your handwriting.

  3. He likes reading the newspaper.

  4. She reads a lot of mystery novels.

  5. She starts work every day by reading her e-mail.

  6. Didn't you read the instructions?

  7. Please read from Chapter 5 through Chapter 10.

  8. He read the poem aloud.

  9. He wrote down the address I gave him and read it back to me.

  10. Her mother read to her every night at bedtime.

Origin of read

Middle English reden to advise, interpret, read, from Old English rǣdan; akin to Old High German rātan to advise, Sanskrit rādhnoti he achieves, prepares

First Known Use: before 12th century



adjective \ˈred\

Simple Definition of read

  • : having knowledge that has been gained from reading books, articles, etc.

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of read

  1. :  instructed by or informed through reading


First Known Use of read


Rhymes with read



noun \ˈrēd\

Simple Definition of read

  • : something (such as a book) that is read

  • : an act of reading something (such as a book, article, etc.)

  • : a period of time spent reading

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of read

  1. 1 chiefly British :  a period of reading <it was a night … for a read and a long sleep — William Sansom>

  2. 2 :  something (as a book) that is read <a novel that's a good read>

  3. 3 :  the action or an instance of reading

Examples of read in a sentence

  1. He reviewed the book after several reads.

  2. She was lying in bed having a peaceful read.


First Known Use of read



biographical name \ˈrēd\

Definition of Read

  1. George 1733–1798 Am. statesman in Revolution


biographical name

Definition of Read

  1. Sir Herbert 1893–1968 Eng. writer

READ Defined for Kids


verb \ˈrēd\

Definition of read for Students

read \ˈred\reading \ˈrē-diŋ\

  1. 1 :  to understand language through written symbols for speech sounds

  2. 2 :  to speak aloud written or printed words <I read a poem to the class.>

  3. 3 :  to learn from information provided in writing or printing <We bought a newspaper to read about the fire.>

  4. 4 :  to discover something about by looking at certain characteristics or behavior <read palms> <On his face I read boredom.>

  5. 5 :  to show by letters or numbers <The thermometer reads zero.>

  6. 6 :  to explain what something is <… these tracks were … wolves' tracks. Pa read the tracks for Mary … — Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie>

  7. 7 :  to interpret stored data (as on a computer drive or optical disk) <The DVD player has to read the disk.>

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up read? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the range of perception or understanding

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