noun read·ing \ ˈrē-diŋ \
|Updated on: 9 Aug 2018

Definition of reading

1 : the act of reading
2 a : material read or for reading
b : extent of material read
3 a : a particular version
b : data indicated by an instrument
4 a : 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

Examples of reading in a Sentence

  1. The family attended the reading of her will.

  2. The speech ended with a reading from his latest novel.

  3. After several readings, I finally understood the meaning of the poem.

  4. He needs help in reading.

  5. The teacher gave us a list of books for further reading on the subject.

  6. He has done a lot of reading on this subject.

  7. The reading for today is about human cloning.

  8. Moby-Dick is required reading for any scholar of 19th-century American literature.

  9. The pastor selected a reading for tonight's service.

Recent Examples of reading from the Web

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.

First Known Use of reading

before 12th century

in the meaning defined at sense 1

See Words from the same year
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reading Synonyms


biographical name Read·ing \ ˈre-diŋ \

Definition of Reading

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


geographical name Read·ing \ ˈre-diŋ \

Definition of Reading

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

READING Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of reading for English Language Learners

  • : 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

READING Defined for Kids


noun read·ing \ ˈrē-diŋ \

Definition of reading for Students

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.

Seen and Heard

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excessive admiration or flattery

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