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 Monitoring of sea surface temperature readings from multiple platforms, including satellites, ships and buoys will continue. Anchorage Daily News, "Feared return of ‘The Blob’ fizzles - at least for now - as storms churn and chill the North Pacific," 19 Feb. 2020 Mobileye dismissed the findings, saying a modified speed limit sign could also trick human drivers into reading 85 mph instead of 35 mph. Kate Gibson, CBS News, "Tesla tricked into speeding by researchers using electrical tape," 19 Feb. 2020 No one enters the evacuees’ quarters, not even for twice daily temperature readings. Lauren Caruba,, "‘Victims of circumstance’: Cruise ship passengers quarantined at Lackland faced chaotic trip home," 18 Feb. 2020 The crew also distributed masks and thermometers, as passengers were asked to take their temperatures and report readings above 99.5℉ (37.5℃), Smith said. David Oliver, USA TODAY, "Why did US break Diamond Princess coronavirus quarantine? 'Something went awry'," 17 Feb. 2020 McClung was one of the initial cohort of teachers at elementary charter school Uplift Triumph Preparatory in Northwest Dallas, working as a kindergarten and first-grade teacher before becoming a reading specialist. Corbett Smith, Dallas News, "As one trustee steps aside, another to face strong challenge in Dallas ISD board elections," 14 Feb. 2020 Examples of sedentary behavior include surfing the web, screen time on smartphones, playing video games, watching television and reading. Dr. Yalda Safai, ABC News, "Lack of activity in kids may predict depression in adulthood: Study," 12 Feb. 2020 This year the highlight is STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)-focused activities as well as reading. Carissa D. Lamkahouan, Houston Chronicle, "Teen comic convention to feature Harry Potter-themed rock," 11 Feb. 2020 Fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race are familiar with the reading challenge, where the queens take turns throwing shade at each other while wearing librarian’s glasses. Alexis Reliford,, "RuPaul Reads The Children’s Library For Filth On SNL," 9 Feb. 2020

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

22 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Reading.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for reading


How to pronounce Reading (audio)

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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