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

Keep scrolling for more

Other words from peruse

perusal \pə-ˈrü-zəl \ noun
peruser noun

Synonyms for peruse


pore (over), read

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

And there is still the IMA's revolving art exhibits and its permanent collection to peruse, including the 1629 self-portrait by Rembrandt. Sarah Bahr, Indianapolis Star, "Ultimate Indiana bucket list: 50+ things to do in Indianapolis and around the state," 11 July 2018 Even better — pick a specific categories to peruse at a time., "30 Summer Shoes You Can Buy At Shopbop Up to 70% Off," 27 June 2018 The best way to peruse all the varieties available is to go online where breeders show off their most important new introductions. Maureen Gilmer, sacbee, "For gorgeous blooms in the summer heat, you can’t beat lantanas," 22 June 2018 That piece of drama got its very own piece, so feel free to peruse., "Twitter Reacts as Real Madrid Claim 13th European Crown With Bale Heroics in 3-1 Liverpool Win," 26 May 2018 Brian Bielawski and Michell Amezcua crossed the border from northwest Indiana to peruse the records at Illiana on Saturday. Frank Vaisvilas, Daily Southtown, "Record Store Day releases draw serious collectors, online entrepreneurs," 24 Apr. 2018 Art Festivals Art extends outside gallery walls, and area festivals are one of the more low-key ways to peruse the work of dozens of artists in a single day. Birmingham Magazine,, "A guide to how to choose art for your home," 24 Apr. 2018 Featuring dozens of arts-and-crafts vendors, the outdoor event welcomes those to peruse and purchase items including photography, pottery, paintings, and more., "Independence Beer Garden opens, Clover Market, and other great happenings, April 20-27," 19 Apr. 2018 Main attraction: Green City Market pop-up 115 S. Sangamon St. 773-880-1266 How much: free to peruse, but bring cash for goodies! Audrey Gorden, RedEye Chicago, "Chicago date idea: Green City Market then brunch," 1 Sep. 2017

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about peruse

Listen to Our Podcast about peruse

Statistics for peruse

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for peruse

The first known use of peruse was circa 1520

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


by word of mouth

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!