pe·​ruse | \ pə-ˈrüz How to pronounce peruse (audio) \
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 How to pronounce perusal (audio) \ noun
peruser noun

Synonyms for peruse


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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 All its coffees are roasted in small batches inside the café in three countertop Ailio Bullet R1 roasters that quietly hum as coffee purists peruse a rotating list of over a dozen coffees and four espresso roasts. Chris Morocco, Bon Appétit, "A Coffee-Obsessive’s Guide to Drinking the Best Coffee in Vancouver," 7 Nov. 2019 Half the fun is perusing the lengthy cocktail list, designed to look hand-scrawled and presented in a small binder. Paul Hodgins, Daily Pilot, "Adult Beverages: SOCIAL’s new Huntington Beach spot is a cocktail paradise," 25 Sep. 2019 Rick Kilby, a designer and author, perused the auction offerings at Thursday night’s preview, which featured an open bar. Stephen Hudak,, "Mermaids, manatees, gators headline History Center auction but Orange Bird may steal the show," 9 Aug. 2019 That will generate well over 100 petabytes of data that anyone in the United States or Chile will be able to peruse at will. Quanta Magazine, "A Digital Copy of the Universe, Encrypted," 2 Oct. 2013 Inside the museum, visitors can peruse exhibits about the history of French cooking and learn about the chefs who made the cuisine famous. Danielle Pointdujour, Essence, "Trending in Travel: Free Accommodations, Foodie Museums, $247 Flights To Paris, And More!," 11 Nov. 2019 For instance, seismologists and historians are perusing the General Archive of the Indies, held in the Spanish city of Seville. National Geographic, "Ancient Aztec records reveal hidden earthquake risk," 11 Oct. 2019 The more than 300 supporters who gathered for the event enjoyed perusing an elaborate silent auction during a pre-dinner, sunset cocktail reception. David Laurell, Burbank Leader, "On the Town: Family Service Agency hosts ‘Imagine A City’ fundraiser," 7 Oct. 2019 As performers scattered around the Brooklyn event space getting ready to hit the stage, others downed fruity cocktails, perused the pop-up shops in the backyard, and dove into the artists’ nest for a pre-show thrill. Rosa Sanchez, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Reefer Madness' Interactive Screening: A Cult Classic Makes a Comeback," 23 Sep. 2019

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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Time Traveler for peruse

Time Traveler

The first known use of peruse was circa 1520

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Last Updated

20 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Peruse.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 17 January 2020.

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More Definitions for peruse


How to pronounce peruse (audio)

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 How to pronounce peruse (audio) \
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

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