read

1 of 3

verb

read ˈred How to pronounce read (audio) ; reading ˈrē-diŋ How to pronounce read (audio)

transitive verb

1
a(1)
: to receive or take in the sense of (letters, symbols, etc.) especially by sight or touch
(2)
: to study the movements of with mental formulation of the communication expressed
read lips
(3)
: to utter aloud the printed or written words of
read them a story
b
: to learn from what one has seen or found in writing or printing
c
: to deliver aloud by or as if by reading
specifically : to utter interpretively
d(1)
: to become acquainted with or look over the contents of (something, such as a book)
(2)
: to make a study of
read law
(3)
: to read the works of
e
: to check (something, such as copy or proof) for errors
f(1)
: to receive and understand (a voice message) by radio
2
a
: to interpret the meaning or significance of
read palms
b
: foretell, predict
able to read his fortune
3
: to recognize or interpret as if by reading: such as
a
: to learn the nature of by observing outward expression or signs
reads him like a book
b
: to note the action or characteristics of in order to anticipate what will happen
a good canoeist reads the rapids
a golfer reading a green
also : to predict the movement of (a putt) by reading a green
c
: to anticipate by observation of an opponent's position or movement
read a blitz
4
a
: to attribute a meaning to (something read) : interpret
how do you read this passage
b
: to attribute (a meaning) to something read or considered
read a nonexistent meaning into her words
5
: to use as a substitute for or in preference to another word or phrase in a particular passage, text, or version
read hurry for harry
often used to introduce a clarifying substitute for a euphemistic or misleading word or phrase
a friendly, read nosy, coworker
6
: indicate
the thermometer reads zero
7
: to interpret (a musical work) in performance
8
a
: to acquire (information) from storage
especially : to sense the meaning of (data) in recorded and coded form
used of a computer or data processor
A compiler is a program that translates instructions written by a human programmer into more specific codes that can be directly read by a computer. John Markoff
b
: to read the coded information on (something, such as a CD)
I had a minor problem with the disk drive in that the machine would not read the disk the first time it was powered up each day but had to be turned off and back on again.Robert Moskowitz

intransitive verb

1
a
: to perform the act of reading words : read something
b(1)
: to learn something by reading
(2)
: to pursue a course of study
2
a
: to yield a particular meaning or impression when read
b
: to be readable or read in a particular manner or to a particular degree
this book reads smoothly
3
: to consist of specific words, phrases, or other similar elements
a passage that reads differently in older versions

read

2 of 3

adjective

: instructed by or informed through reading

read

3 of 3

noun

1
chiefly British : a period of reading
it was a night … for a read and a long sleepWilliam Sansom
2
: something (such as a book) that is read
a novel that's a good read
3
: the action or an instance of reading
Phrases
read between the lines
: to understand more than is directly stated
read the riot act
1
: to order a mob to disperse
2
a
: to order or warn to cease something
b
: to protest vehemently
c
: to reprimand severely

Examples of read in a Sentence

Verb She learned to read at a very early age. I can't read your handwriting. He likes reading the newspaper. She reads a lot of mystery novels. She starts work every day by reading her e-mail. Didn't you read the instructions? Please read from Chapter 5 through Chapter 10. He read the poem aloud. He wrote down the address I gave him and read it back to me. Her mother read to her every night at bedtime. Noun He reviewed the book after several reads. She was lying in bed having a peaceful read. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Here are our other favorite reads from Quartz and elsewhere from the past week to set you up for the week ahead. Susan Howson, Quartz, 18 Feb. 2024 For more, read our Best Coffee Subscriptions guide. Jaina Grey, WIRED, 17 Feb. 2024 Getting children to read more can sometimes pose a challenge. Theresa Vargas, Washington Post, 17 Feb. 2024 Premier delivers high-quality and timely reads enabling clinicians to more quickly see and deliver results for all services, including general X-rays, NIOSH B-reads, TB screenings, pre-employment screenings, cardiac screenings, and musculoskeletal and general ultrasound interpretations. Sacramento Bee, 6 Feb. 2024 Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend... Matt Rogers, Washington Post, 6 Feb. 2024 There's also read and write access, which allows the user to edit the credentials, or login-only access, which lets the user log in without viewing the password. PCMAG, 6 Feb. 2024 According to the complaint, Caines and another manager read the copy in the restaurant and laughed. Julia Coin, Charlotte Observer, 6 Feb. 2024 To learn more, read the full report on booking.com. Dobrina Zhekova, Travel + Leisure, 6 Feb. 2024
Adjective
The Hill, a widely read news source inside the Beltway, wrote a story about the letter that included background that may have enlightened the uninitiated. Michael Smolens, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 Feb. 2024 Nature has historically been one of the most read, cited, and prestigious academic journals, which makes its collapse into shallow and unscientific ideological advocacy deeply disappointing. Andrew Follett, National Review, 6 Jan. 2024 Room to read As a bibliophile with an ever-growing stack of books in my to-be-read pile, the library at the historic Oxmoor Farm in east Louisville is easily my dream room. Lennie Omalza, The Courier-Journal, 11 Jan. 2024 Texting an Android phone from your iPhone defaults back to the older SMS technology, which means no read receipts, no typing indicators, and no high-quality picture and video messaging. Michael Dobuski, ABC News, 16 Dec. 2023 Be sure to also read Alison Willmore’s review of the film, Jen Chaney’s tribute to Allan, its unsung hero, and Allison P. Davis’ close-read analysis of what Greta Gerwig is trying to tell us. Vulture, 15 Dec. 2023 When iMessage users are talking to people off the service, iMessage will soon be able to fall back to the RCS carrier messaging standard instead of SMS, which comes with the advantages of read receipts, higher-quality media sending, and typing indicators. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, 16 Nov. 2023 Her column in Catapult, Everyone Is Gay, was a widely read series that explored gender and sexuality in 90s music and music criticism. Hazlitt, 18 Oct. 2023 Coming in a slim—read: snug—fit, Reiss hoodie is entirely made of merino wool. Maverick Li, Men's Health, 31 Aug. 2023
Noun
This book is a useful read, not only for professional growth to learn how to lead change in your organization, but for your personal growth as well. MORE FROM FORBES5 Reasons To Learn Adaptability As A Leadership Skill In 2024By Rachel Wells 3. Rachel Wells, Forbes, 14 Feb. 2024 That fourth-down play — Ricky Proehl was the fourth read on the play. Scott Fowler, Charlotte Observer, 13 Feb. 2024 It’s been tricky to get a read on how luxury spenders have been thinking lately—sales slowed for the likes of French behemoth LVMH mid-last year, and then bounced back, while Gucci-owner Kering has struggled to clock in growth during the same period. Byprarthana Prakash, Fortune Europe, 9 Feb. 2024 Damian here with a close read of the latest blockbuster deal, a look at Novartis’ multibillion-dollar gamble, and a reminder of what Vertex Pharmaceuticals does well. Damian Garde, STAT, 6 Feb. 2024 For fiction fans, Zélie Adebola’s series starting with Children of Blood and Bone mixes West African mythology with modern themes for a great read. Noel Cody, Essence, 2 Feb. 2024 This week alone, economists will get a fresh read on the labor market through data on job openings and new hiring. Rachel Siegel, Washington Post, 30 Jan. 2024 All We Were Promised is a textured and nuanced read that showcases the many different experiences of Black women in the 19th century. Lynnette Nicholas, Essence, 22 Jan. 2024 Detailed book pages include links to relevant discussion threads, as well as crowdsourced suggestions for similar reads. Tatum Hunter, Washington Post, 22 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'read.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English reden "to counsel, order, decide, guide, govern, realize, grasp the meaning of, interpret, explain, teach, look at and understand (written symbols), say aloud (something written)," going back to Old English rǣdan, (non-West Saxon) rēdan "to rule, direct, decide, deliberate, counsel, suppose, guess, expound the meaning of (as a riddle or dream), look at and understand (written symbols), say aloud (something written)," going back to Germanic *rēdan- (whence also Old Frisian rēda "to advise, protect, help, plan, decide," Old Saxon rādan "to consult, guess, take care of, counsel," Old High German rātan "to advise, deliberate, assist," Old Icelandic ráða "to advise, counsel, decide, determine, plan, rule, explain, interpret," Gothic garedan "to make provision for," fauragarairoþ "[s/he] predestined"), going back to an Indo-European verbal base *(H)reh1dh- "carry through successfully," whence also Sanskrit rādhati "will bring about," rādhnóti "(s/he) achieves, prepares, satisfies," Avestan rādat̰ "will make right"; from a causative *(H)roh1dh-éi̯e-, Gothic rodjan "to speak, talk," Old Icelandic ræða "to speak, converse," Old Irish ráidid "(s/he) speaks, says, tells," imm-rádi "(s/he) thinks, reflects," Welsh adroddaf "(I) utter, say, relate," Old Church Slavic neraždǫ, neraditi "to have no care for, take no heed of" (also neroždǫ, neroditi), radi "for the sake of," Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian ráditi "to work, do," Lithuanian ródyti "to show"

Note: Old English rǣdan was a Class VII strong verb, with evidence of reduplication (past tense reord), though also conjugated as a weak verb; by the Middle English period evidence for strong conjugation is vestigial. The expected outcome of Anglian rēdan would be *reed, reflecting Middle English close long e; the predominance of read, reflecting open long e, is perhaps due to interference from outcomes of Germanic *raidja- (see ready entry 1). This is essentially the conclusion of the Oxford English Dictionary, third edition, which assembles a number of presumed outcomes of *raidja- under a somewhat shadowy verb rede, the inflected forms of which can be difficult to distinguish from redd and rid (see redd entry 1, rid). — As is evident from the number of glosses, the Old and Middle English verbs covered a remarkably broad range of meanings. Those senses not having to do with the act of reading are now mostly represented by the spelling rede in Modern English (see rede). Though the sense "interpret" is evident in Old Norse, adaptation of this verb to refer to visual processing of written language is peculiar to Old English (and hence to Modern English); to express this idea other Germanic languages, excepting Gothic, have adapted, either by inheritance or loan, outcomes of the verb *lesan- "to gather, select," presumably as a calque on Latin legere (see legend). — A confusingly broad spectrum of meanings also characterizes the verb's Indo-European congeners, while the formal similarities are close. The gloss "carry through successfully" for *(H)reh1dh- ("erfolgreich durchführen") in Lexikon der indogermanischen Verben, 2. Ausgabe, applies best only to the Indo-Iranian forms.

Adjective

from past participle of read entry 1

Noun

noun derivative of read entry 1

First Known Use

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a(1)

Adjective

1586, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1825, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of read was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near read

Cite this Entry

“Read.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/read. Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

read

1 of 2 verb
read ˈred How to pronounce read (audio) ; reading ˈrēd-iŋ How to pronounce read (audio)
1
a
: to go over and take in and understand the meaning of letters or symbols
learn to read
read braille
can you read decimals
I can't read your writing
b
: to study the movements of (a speaker's lips) and so understand what is being said
c
: to speak aloud written or printed words
read us a story
d
: to go over and take in the contents of
reading a book
e
: to understand the written form of
reads Spanish
f
: to be able to be read
2
: to learn from what one has seen in writing or printing
read about the fire
3
a
: to discover or figure out the meaning of
read palms
b
: foretell, predict
able to read his fortune
c
: to watch carefully in order to tell what will happen
reading the rapids while canoeing
4
: to show by numbers or letters
the thermometer reads zero
5
a
: to acquire data or information
a scanner reads the bar code
b
: to send to or get from storage
read your program back in

read

2 of 2 adjective
: taught or informed by reading
a well-read person

Biographical Definition

Read 1 of 2

biographical name (1)

George 1733–1798 American statesman in Revolution

Read

2 of 2

biographical name (2)

Sir Herbert 1893–1968 English writer

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