pe·​ruse | \pə-ˈrüz \
perused; perusing

Definition of peruse 

transitive verb

1a : to examine or consider with attention and in detail : study

b : to look over or through in a casual or cursory manner

2 : read especially : to read over in an attentive or leisurely manner

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Other Words from peruse

perusal \pə-​ˈrü-​zəl \ noun
peruser noun

Synonyms for peruse


pore (over), read

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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.

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
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Recent Examples on the Web

Customers perused offerings kept behind counters and under glass. Steven Senne, The Seattle Times, "Green Tuesday: Crowds line up at 1st East Coast pot shops," 20 Nov. 2018 Or, peruse their offerings for inspiration and then build your own. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "The Right Way to Stack Firewood," 28 Sep. 2018 Take a brief break from the beach bliss, cocktails, and fireworks to peruse our roundup of the holiday's best fashion, beauty, and home sales—then go back to eating your hotdog. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "The Best Fourth of July Sales to Shop In-Between the Food and Fireworks," 2 July 2018 The Shopper The dedicated shopper can find a wonderful variety to peruse at Jazz Fest craft areas. Sue Strachan,, "Don't like Jazz Fest? We have some ideas for you," 26 Apr. 2018 There will also be releases on trade from China and India that will be perused for clues on how the global economy is traveling, while Australia's central bank releases its half-yearly financial stability review., "Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day," 12 Apr. 2018 For those who’d rather shop in the open air, the Market Common provides an entire ‘village’ of residences, restaurants and shops to peruse. Aleks Kang, USA TODAY, "8 reasons why Myrtle Beach should be your next vacation," 2 Apr. 2018 Dine on beet borscht soup or housemade pastries at Monk’s Rock Coffeehouse & Bookstore, then peruse their selection of Russian-themed souvenirs. Laura Kiniry, Smithsonian, "The 20 Best Small Towns To Visit in 2018," 5 June 2018 The space is open Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., when people are invited to drink free coffee, peruse the zine and book collection, and otherwise gather to chat and dream. Birmingham Magazine,, "Collaborative community space hosts music, art shows," 12 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'peruse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of peruse

circa 1520, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for peruse

Middle English, to use up, deal with in sequence, from Latin per- thoroughly + Middle English usen to use

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Statistics for peruse

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for peruse

The first known use of peruse was circa 1520

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More Definitions for peruse



English Language Learners 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


pe·​ruse | \pə-ˈrüz \
perused; perusing

Kids Definition of peruse

2 : to read through carefully

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More from Merriam-Webster on peruse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for peruse

Spanish Central: Translation of peruse

Nglish: Translation of peruse for Spanish Speakers

Comments on peruse

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


a knickknack or trinket

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