scan

1 of 2

verb

scanned; scanning

transitive verb

1
: to read or mark so as to show metrical structure
scan poetry
2
: to examine by point-by-point observation or checking:
a
: to investigate thoroughly by checking point by point and often repeatedly
a fire lookout scanning the hills with binoculars
b
: to glance from point to point of often hastily, casually, or in search of a particular item
scan the want ads looking for a job
3
a
: to examine systematically (as by passing a beam of radiation over or through) in order to obtain data especially for display or storage
scanned the patient's heart
radar scans the horizon
scan the photos into the computer
b
: to pass over in the formation of an image
the electron beam scans the picture tube

intransitive verb

1
: to scan verse
2
: to conform to a metrical pattern
this poem scans well
scannable adjective

scan

2 of 2

noun

1
: the act or process of scanning
2
: a radar or television trace
3
: an image formed by scanning something: such as
a
: a depiction (such as a photograph) of the distribution of a radioactive material in something (such as a bodily organ)
b
: an image of a bodily part produced (as by computer) by combining ultrasonic or radiographic data obtained from several angles or sections
Choose the Right Synonym for scan

scrutinize, scan, inspect, examine mean to look at or over.

scrutinize stresses close attention to minute detail.

scrutinized the hospital bill

scan implies a surveying from point to point often suggesting a cursory overall observation.

scanned the wine list

inspect implies scrutinizing for errors or defects.

inspected my credentials

examine suggests a scrutiny in order to determine the nature, condition, or quality of a thing.

examined the specimens

Examples of scan in a Sentence

Verb He scanned the field with binoculars. He scanned the audience looking for his parents. She scanned his face for any clue to what he was thinking. She quickly scanned the pages of the newspaper. She scanned through the list to find her name. Their bags were scanned at the airport. This machine scans a patient's brain. Noun The patient underwent a brain scan. The doctor examined the bone scans.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
His team spent a week scanning the Santa Monica Mountains, capturing the texture of the landscape. Anna Wiener, The New Yorker, 15 Apr. 2024 To compare postmenopausal women’s risk of heart issues to the risk for men, the researchers also scanned men with a similar profile in terms of race, age, statin use, blood pressure, and diabetes status as the women screened. Maggie O'Neill, Health, 11 Apr. 2024 The medical service/device: A DEXA scan, a type of bone density test, in January 2021. Elizabeth B. Kim, The Enquirer, 10 Apr. 2024 Working in concert with your efforts, Cox Advanced Security automatically scans for threats 24/7/365. Advertorial, Orange County Register, 10 Apr. 2024 This simulator offers a comprehensive learning experience, covering essential risk anticipation skills such as scanning intersections, executing passing maneuvers, and handling adverse weather conditions. Tyler Shepherd, USA TODAY, 10 Apr. 2024 There were works to be scanned across the world, including in the Netherlands, Spain, the United States, and other islands like Curaçao. Kate Knibbs, WIRED, 8 Apr. 2024 Cash and credit card users must purchase a ticket at the machine at the station and scan their ticket before boarding the bus. Alex Groth, Journal Sentinel, 4 Apr. 2024 While a few men stood guard, scanning the forest edges, others moved through the tents and a cookhouse area, searching for anything that might provide a clue to who controls the mines. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, 1 Apr. 2024
Noun
Her condition was discovered at her 12-week scan, Montgomery told South West News Service. Cara Lynn Shultz, Peoplemag, 4 Apr. 2024 Normal lung tissue appears black on a CT scan, but GGOs are lightly colored or gray patches. Leah Groth, Health, 30 Mar. 2024 Officers will be at these detectors viewing an iPad for scans and checking those who set off the alarm. Oscar Gonzalez / Gizmodo, Quartz, 29 Mar. 2024 The New York Yankees will start their season without ace Gerrit Cole, but despite an earlier scan on his abdomen, captain Aaron Judge will be in the lineup on opening day, along with the rest of the power-hitting trio, Giancarlo Stanton and offseason addition Juan Soto. Trisha Garcia-Easto, Sacramento Bee, 28 Mar. 2024 The technology scans shows to determine the behaviors and emotions featured in specific episodes of a larger series that are shown through both streaming and linear television. Rachyl Jones, Fortune, 3 Apr. 2024 Brain scans later showed tissue damage and volume loss similar to those found in persistent concussion syndrome. Nik Popli, TIME, 1 Apr. 2024 Cancer still seemed unlikely, but that ambiguous scan was enough to get everyone’s attention. Lauren Gray, SELF, 1 Apr. 2024 An abnormal scan likewise does not always signal COVID. Leah Groth, Health, 30 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'scan.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English scannen, from Late Latin scandere, from Latin, to climb; akin to Middle Irish sceinnid he springs, Sanskrit skandati he leaps

First Known Use

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

1706, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of scan was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near scan

Cite this Entry

“Scan.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/scan. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

scan

1 of 2 verb
scanned; scanning
1
: to read or mark verses so as to show stress and rhythm
scan poetry
2
a
: to examine thoroughly
scanned their faces for signs of anger
b
: to make a wide sweeping search of
scanning the field with binoculars
c
: to look through or over hastily
scanned the headlines
d
: to examine systematically (as by passing a beam of radiation over or through) in order to obtain data especially for display or storage
scanned the patient's heart
scan the photos into the computer
3
: to move across in successive lines to form an image on a cathode-ray tube
the electron beam scans the face of the picture tube

scan

2 of 2 noun
1
: the act or process of scanning
2
: an image formed by scanning something: as
a
: a picture of the distribution of radioactive material in something (as a bodily organ)
b
: a picture of part of the body made (as by a computer) by combining separate pictures taken from different angles or of different sections

Medical Definition

scan

1 of 2 verb
scanned; scanning

transitive verb

1
a
: to examine especially systematically with a sensing device (as a photometer or a beam of radiation)
b
: to pass an electron beam over and convert (an image) into variations of electrical properties (as voltage) that convey information electronically
2
: to make a scan of (as the human body) in order to detect the presence or localization of radioactive material

intransitive verb

: to make a scan of the body or of an organ or part

scan

2 of 2 noun
1
: the act or process of scanning
2
a
: a depiction (as a photograph) of the distribution of a radioactive material in something (as a bodily organ)
b
: an image of a bodily part produced (as by computer) by combining ultrasonographic or radiographic data obtained from several angles or sections

More from Merriam-Webster on scan

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