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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun With the reading and math requirements of standardized tests, mandatory recess times in elementary schools and other requirements, teachers already have a hard time fitting everything into the six-and-a-half-hour school day. Dan Sweeney,, "What times do you think school should start and end?," 9 Dec. 2019 Poetry readings and musical performances were held there. Emilio Fraia, The New Yorker, "Sevastopol," 9 Dec. 2019 Mary Anne loved theatre and art and travel and reading and good food, and especially loved sharing her experiences with family and friends., "Deaths in Central Florida: 12/8," 8 Dec. 2019 The physically active life had to surrender to the life of the mind, to Gershwin and Beethoven and to reading and things visual. Fay Vincent, New York Times, "A Catastrophic Accident, Then the Gift of Learning How to Live," 7 Dec. 2019 Several countries lost ground, boosting the ranking of the United States, which ranked eighth in reading and 11th in science. Washington Post, "U.S. students continue to lag behind peers in East Asia and Europe in reading, math and science, exams show," 3 Dec. 2019 Massachusetts topped the states in eighth grade reading and eighth grade math. Cynthia Howell, Arkansas Online, "State's 4th, 8th grade Report Card scores still lag," 30 Nov. 2019 Today, approximately 90 percent of students at the pre-K to sixth-grade school, score advanced or proficient on state reading and math tests, an impressive achievement given Alabama’s low rankings nationally. Christopher Harress |, al, "Beyond the Poarch Creek Indians, there’s a lot more to Alabama’s Native American history," 28 Nov. 2019 Nearly every student in Romeo Lugo’s elementary school is a minority and multiple grades behind in math and reading. Jacqueline Rabe Thomas, ProPublica, "Separated by Design: Why Affordable Housing Is Built in Areas With High Crime, Few Jobs and Struggling Schools," 25 Nov. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of reading


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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about reading

Time Traveler for reading

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for reading

Last Updated

13 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Reading.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 16 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


having a smooth flowing sound

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!