scru·​ti·​nize | \ ˈskrü-tə-ˌnīz How to pronounce scrutinize (audio) \
scrutinized; scrutinizing

Definition of scrutinize

transitive verb

: to examine closely and minutely

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Other Words from scrutinize

scrutinizer noun

Choose the Right Synonym for scrutinize

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

Scrutinize This Word's Etymology

A close look at the etymology of scrutinize reveals that the word stems from the Latin verb scrutari (meaning "to search" or "to examine"), which in turn probably comes from scruta (meaning "trash," or more specifically "a mixture of worthwhile articles and trash"). In the 15th century scrutari gave us the noun scrutiny, a word that originally meant "a formal vote" and then "an official examination of votes." Scrutinize retained reference to voting, with the meaning "to examine votes," at least into the 18th century-and even today in Britain a scrutineer is a person who counts votes.

Examples of scrutinize in a Sentence

I closely scrutinized my opponent's every move. Her performance was carefully scrutinized by her employer.

Recent Examples on the Web

And investigators have looked into possible wrongdoing by a city building inspector scrutinizing the house. Emily Alpert Reyes,, "New claims about perks for inspector, perils for neighbors in Bel-Air mega-mansion case," 17 June 2019 If anything, for a sport so often scrutinized for safety, widespread attention for actually enforcing rules intended for safety was probably a positive thing. Gentry Estes, The Courier-Journal, "Mark Casse and Bill Mott are the top winners of a wild Triple Crown season," 9 June 2019 Hour-by-hour and year-by-year timelines scrutinize the events leading up to the Hamilton-Burr duel, whose frozen-in-time figures re-create that fateful incident. Mary Bergin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Chicago's 'Hamilton' exhibit showcases the real history highlighted in the popular musical," 5 June 2019 Tech companies aren't alone in scrutinizing the data fiduciary concept pushed by Balkin and others. Issie Lapowsky, WIRED, "New York's Privacy Bill Is Even Bolder Than California's," 4 June 2019 Readers of book reviews are often reading about a book not only as potential readers of that book but to partake of an intellectual world that constantly scrutinizes more books than any one person could ever read. Christian Lorentzen, Harper's magazine, "Like This or Die," 10 Apr. 2019 These developments, however, resulted from female victims having their credibility scrutinized on national television. Rhaina Cohen, The New Republic, "What the 1990s Got Wrong," 29 June 2018 Yet rarely is the conduct of arresting officers scrutinized in immigration courts, where the backlog reached an all-time high in March. Aubrey Nagle,, "Philly Starbucks arrest sparks national outrage, improper ICE arrests overlooked | Morning Newsletter," 16 Apr. 2018 Though Opening Day gets highly scrutinized because of the game’s publicity, the season is a 162-game stretch and burning out every reliever would have been bad. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers' Alex Wilson takes loss, but bails out bullpen," 30 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scrutinize.' 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 scrutinize

1671, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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Statistics for scrutinize

Last Updated

24 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for scrutinize

The first known use of scrutinize was in 1671

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More Definitions for scrutinize



English Language Learners Definition of scrutinize

: to examine (something) carefully especially in a critical way


scru·​ti·​nize | \ ˈskrü-tə-ˌnīz How to pronounce scrutinize (audio) \
scrutinized; scrutinizing

Kids Definition of scrutinize

: to examine very closely … I stood still and scrutinized the place where I'd seen movement.— Avi, Crispin

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