pe·​ruse | \ pə-ˈrüz How to pronounce peruse (audio) \
perused; perusing

Essential Meaning of peruse

1 : to look at or read (something) in an informal or relaxed way Would you like something to drink while you peruse [=look over] the menu? He perused the newspaper over breakfast.
2 : to examine or read (something) in a very careful way She perused [=studied] the lists closely.

Full 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

Other Words from peruse

peruser noun

Synonyms for peruse


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Frequently Asked Questions About peruse

Does peruse mean "read in detail"?

Peruse can mean "to read something in a relaxed way, or skim" and can also mean "to read something carefully or in detail." It is what is known as a contronym, a word having two meanings that contradict one another. There are numerous examples of these in English, including sanction, oversight, and dust. If you use peruse simply take care that your intended meaning is made clear by the context.

Does peruse mean "to skim"?

Yes; one of our definitions for peruse is "to skim." However, you should be aware that another of our definitions for this word is "to read something in detail." Some usage guides feel that the ‘"read carefully" sense is correct and that the "skim" sense is not. Both have been in widespread use for some four hundred years.

What is the noun form of peruse?

Peruse is a verb, referring to either the casual or the thorough and detailed examining of something. The related noun meaning "the act or an instance of perusing something" is perusal. Another noun related to peruse is peruser, "one who peruses."

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 To shop the new line in its entirety, peruse select styles, and pinpoint your nearest pop-up location, visit Shelby Ying Hyde, Harper's BAZAAR, 12 Jan. 2022 The show offers chances for folks to simply peruse, or to sell, buy or swap. Marc Bona, cleveland, 5 Jan. 2022 To enjoy the South Pacific beyond the overwater bungalow, peruse our French Polynesia adventurer’s guide. Stephanie Vermillion, Condé Nast Traveler, 30 Dec. 2021 Others just wanted to peruse top-shelf whiskies or learn how to make a Gold Rush or Monte Carlo perfectly. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 31 Dec. 2021 Recently, a woman came into Cheeky Vintage to peruse the racks and told Davis the story of how her grandmother was a seamstress for the original Neiman Marcus in Houston. Layne Van Vranken, Chron, 2 Dec. 2021 Starting Friday, Guilder Cafe will greet customers in the street-level corner space that’s traditionally been a spot for Powell’s customers to rest their feet and peruse their new purchases. oregonlive, 26 Nov. 2021 Around her, men and women stepped out of Bentleys and Benzes to peruse windows with glittery displays of gold, diamonds and silk — no tinsel or faux baubles in sight. Washington Post, 21 Dec. 2021 Wednesday drew several hundred people to peruse vendor tables set up in the amphitheater area adjacent to the Park’s gazebo. Rich Heileman, cleveland, 21 May 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near peruse

Peru saltpeter


Peruvian coca

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Statistics for peruse

Last Updated

18 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Peruse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for peruse


pe·​ruse | \ pə-ˈrüz How to pronounce peruse (audio) \
perused; perusing

Kids Definition of peruse

2 : to read through carefully

More from Merriam-Webster on peruse

Nglish: Translation of peruse for Spanish Speakers


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