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 The event, held each year on the plaza of Media Studios North, has become a tradition that offers an end-of-summer evening to enjoy live music, sample exotic beverages, peruse an elaborate silent auction and tangle with Lady Luck. David Laurell, Burbank Leader, "On the Town: It’s no gamble: Casino event raises funds for children’s dental clinic," 16 Sep. 2019 Guests can peruse a variety of artwork at an opening reception and then stay while judges give awards to the top artists from more than 125 entries. Daily Pilot, "Art ventures forth in Costa Mesa festival this weekend," 4 Sep. 2019 The company has nearly 100 service centers across the U.S., according to its website, which are separate from its galleries where people can peruse the vehicles and ask questions. Madison Iszler,, "Tesla’s San Antonio service center site is for sale," 3 Sep. 2019 That’s the sort of lovable irreverence that impressed me as a fifth grader at my neighborhood drugstore, perusing the black-and-white pages of this odd comic book. Clarence Page,, "Column: Alas, poor Mad magazine, pulled under by its own humor wave," 5 July 2019 In a final component of the Whitney exhibition, surveillance footage sent in from those stores shows customers perusing Eckhaus Latta’s last collection. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "A Museum Show Where the Exhibits Are for Sale," 6 Aug. 2018 Many shoppers didn't seem bothered by the cameras — and were more interested in the ability to peruse products that were previously only available online. CBS News, "Experimental Texas store uses hidden cameras to track shoppers' movements," 22 Aug. 2019 Here, shoppers can peruse the shop’s virtual shelves, place orders, and get groceries delivered to their doors. Brittany Meiling, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego’s grocery delivery startup Mercato inks deal with DoorDash," 29 Aug. 2019 Below, peruse all the outfits that will be added to MTV VMA history after tonight. Glamour, "Every Single Look From the 2019 MTV VMAs Red Carpet," 26 Aug. 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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Statistics for peruse

Last Updated

11 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for peruse

The first known use of peruse was circa 1520

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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

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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).


to speed up the process or progress of

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