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

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 Customers can also peruse the list of pricey cellar wines. Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas News, "5 new restaurants in downtown Dallas," 15 Jan. 2021 To help you get started, peruse 20 designer home decor items to uplift your space, below. Alexis Bennett, Vogue, "20 Designer Decor Items to Put Your Fashion Sense on Display at Home," 18 Jan. 2021 Check in for a live class, or peruse their on-demand library that’s thousands-deep. Alexa Tucker, SELF, "The 32 Best Workout Apps So You Can Exercise Anywhere," 30 Dec. 2020 Essentially a mini Sephora right inside of Kohl's, this new partnership will allow Kohl's shoppers to conveniently peruse and purchase beauty products that are typically — and sometimes exclusively — found at Sephora. Marci Robin, Allure, "Mini Sephora Stores Are Coming to Kohl's in 2021," 1 Dec. 2020 Attendees peruse local shops along the eclectic street, enjoying shopping specials and decorated trees. Anne Nickoloff, cleveland, "Cleveland Holiday Market guide: 21 ways to shop local in 2020," 18 Nov. 2020 Right now, customers can peruse all the incredible savings that the store will be releasing as a Black Friday preview in mid-November. Nicole Briese, USA TODAY, "Macy's Black Friday 2020 deals have been released—what to shop now and what to wait for," 26 Oct. 2020 Purveyors of fine furniture can now peruse the warehouse, once again open and welcoming to the mask-wearing public. Shelby Simon | Contributing Writer,, "Shop profile: Old World Wonders at Dop Antiques," 8 Oct. 2020 So click here to watch an overview of the series, then peruse the titles of the remaining videos. Andrew Mckean, Outdoor Life, "Become More Confident and Knowledgeable About Firearms with the NSSF’s Learn to Shoot Series," 2 Oct. 2020

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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Statistics for peruse

Last Updated

23 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Peruse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce peruse (audio) \
perused; perusing

Kids Definition of peruse

2 : to read through carefully

More from Merriam-Webster on peruse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for peruse

Nglish: Translation of peruse for Spanish Speakers

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