read·​ing | \ˈrē-diŋ \

Definition of reading 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 : the act of reading

2a : material read or for reading

b : extent of material read

3a : a particular version

b : data indicated by an instrument

4a : a particular interpretation of something (such as a law)

b : a particular performance of something (such as a musical work)

5 : an indication of a certain state of affairs a study to get some reading of shoppers' preferences


biographical name
Read·​ing | \ˈre-diŋ \

Definition of Reading (Entry 2 of 3)

1st Marquis of 1860-1935 Rufus Daniel Isaacs British statesman; viceroy of India (1921-26)


geographical name
Read·​ing | \ˈre-diŋ \

Definition of Reading (Entry 3 of 3)

1 town in eastern Massachusetts north of Boston population 24,747

2 city on the Schuylkill River in southeastern Pennsylvania population 88,082

3 town on the Thames River in southern England that is the capital of Berkshire population 219,000

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Synonyms for reading

Synonyms: Noun

assignment, lesson

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Examples of reading in a Sentence


The family attended the reading of her will. The speech ended with a reading from his latest novel. After several readings, I finally understood the meaning of the poem. He needs help in reading. The teacher gave us a list of books for further reading on the subject. He has done a lot of reading on this subject. The reading for today is about human cloning. Moby-Dick is required reading for any scholar of 19th-century American literature. The pastor selected a reading for tonight's service.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In August, the Philadelphia Fed’s manufacturing survey hit its lowest reading in 21 months, while the Empire State manufacturing index fell in September. Michael Wursthorn, WSJ, "Bull Market’s Latest Hurdle: Slowing Sales Growth," 21 Oct. 2018 There was plenty to do, from corralling the young bridesmaids and pageboys to giving her reading from The Great Gatsby during the ceremony. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Princess Beatrice Wore the Cutest Bee Brooch to Her Sister Eugenie's Wedding," 12 Oct. 2018 But because of a faulty altitude reading, the probes released while the spacecraft was too high. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Japan's Space Agency Landed Bouncing Rovers on an Asteroid," 24 Sep. 2018 Happy reading! *Reviews may be condensed and edited for clarity, and will be chosen based on content and volume. The Editors, Marie Claire, "Introducing #ReadwithMC:'s Interactive Monthly Book Club," 22 Aug. 2018 An acquaintance of mine retweeted one of her daily readings into my feed, and I was taken with her simple, subtly political interpretation of the Three of Cups card. Katie Heaney, The Cut, "Does Your Therapy Need More Tarot?," 10 July 2018 The focus areas for the 21 minutes would include writing and reading, math and support groups, depending on the needs of students. Linda Girardi, Aurora Beacon-News, "West Aurora may try new lunch period model for sixth-graders," 10 July 2018 During the eight weeks of summer readings, the library will offer programs such as craft workshops, music shows, a comedy and juggling show, reptiles and amphibians, a puppet show and hip hop dance and karate workshop. Courant Community, "Community News For The Vernon Edition," 10 July 2018 The Center offers programs to prepare students for the High School Equivalency exam in addition to English Language Learner classes, and Adult Basic Education to improve reading, writing, or math skills. Staff Report, Post-Tribune, "Community news," 3 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reading.' 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 reading


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for reading

Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for reading

The first known use of reading was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for reading



English Language Learners Definition of reading

: the act of reading something

: the activity of reading a book, magazine, etc.

: a book, article, etc., that is being read or that is intended to be read


read·​ing | \ˈrē-diŋ\

Kids Definition of reading

1 : the act of reading a poetry reading

2 : something read or available to be read

3 : the number or fact shown on an instrument Take a reading from the thermometer.

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Comments on reading

What made you want to look up reading? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


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