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 New studies support the idea of less screen time and more reading time for young children. CNN, "CNN 10 - January 21, 2020," 20 Jan. 2020 Bodhi Meditation hosts a second marketplace the weekend before the big day, with a fair-like atmosphere, tea garden, games for kids, a photo studio with old-style clothing, and an oracle reading, along with performances and food stalls. Naomi Tomky, Fortune, "One of the best places to celebrate Lunar New Year is just outside Vancouver," 18 Jan. 2020 One of those projects is Channel 4’s The Write Offs, which seeks to give eight illiterate adults, between the ages of 22 and 66, the opportunity to learn reading, writing, and spelling. Nick Romano,, "The Great British Bake Off," 16 Jan. 2020 What wasn’t known, until now, is whether or not Wunderlich’s instruments were inaccurate, giving him a higher reading, or whether average human temperature actually decreased over the last century and a half. Popular Science, "Our average body temperatures seem to be dropping," 14 Jan. 2020 He is known to have had three major passions — reading, music and yachting. Time, "Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, Who Modernized Oman, Dies at 79," 11 Jan. 2020 His presence here can be chalked up to the fact that Underwater was filmed almost three years ago, but that doesn’t make his penchant for agitated, smarmy line-readings any less exhausting. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Underwater Entertains but Doesn’t Have Much Depth," 9 Jan. 2020 The couple wrote their own vows, and forewent readings, choosing to keep the ceremony predominantly personal. Carrie Goldberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Wedding in the Irish Countryside Was Dark & Moody—in All the Right Ways," 9 Jan. 2020 So allow some serious reading time before ordering. Marc Bona, cleveland, "King’s Tandoor & Bar open in Solon offering massive menu for Indian, Thai food," 3 Jan. 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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Learn More about reading

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

25 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Reading.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 27 January 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

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


one that suddenly gains wealth or power

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