read·​ing | \ ˈrē-diŋ How to pronounce reading (audio) \

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 How to pronounce Reading (audio) \

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 How to pronounce Reading (audio) \

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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Examples of reading in a Sentence

Noun 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 The May 8 reading will be a fundraiser for the ONE Archives Foundation and Invisible Histories Project and include a special introduction by Martin Sheen. Phillip Zonkel, USA TODAY, "Laverne Cox, Sterling K. Brown to star in 'The Normal Heart' virtual benefit reading," 8 Apr. 2021 The March reading was much higher than economists had expected. Paul Wiseman, Star Tribune, "ISM survey: U.S. services surge to record high in March," 5 Apr. 2021 The March reading is 20 points higher than the 48-year historical average of 22 percent. James Freeman, WSJ, "Another Small Business Hiring Binge," 1 Apr. 2021 But many social media users disagreed, asking why a white writer had been chosen when Gorman’s reading at the inauguration had been a significant cultural moment for Black people. Alex Marshall, New York Times, "Amanda Gorman’s Poetry United Critics. It’s Dividing Translators.," 26 Mar. 2021 Naperville Public Library doesn’t have the ability to instantly implement the no-fine policy, Della Terza said, but plans to institute the changes June 1 to coincide with the library’s summer reading program. Suzanne Baker,, "Naperville Public Library drops overdue fees because they hurt those who can least afford it, keeps people from returning," 20 Mar. 2021 Staff, students and parents have raised concerns regarding curriculum, especially the new reading program. Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage School Board candidate Q&As: What do you believe is the single most important issue facing the Anchorage School District? How would you address it if elected?," 14 Mar. 2021 Moreover, the books do not enhance the stated goal of the reading program: the preparation of sailors to engage current and future enemies. Roger J. Maxwell, National Review, "Woke Books Have No Place in U.S. Navy Training," 14 Mar. 2021 In honor of World Book Day, Queen Elizabeth's granddaughter spoke to the Evening Standard about how reading has been a big part of her life during lockdown amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Stephanie Petit,, "Princess Beatrice Says Becoming a Stepmother After Her Royal Wedding Is a 'Great Honor'," 4 Mar. 2021

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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Time Traveler for reading

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for reading

Last Updated

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Reading.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

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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

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