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 But the escalating political blowback may make some of those relationships untenable, especially as lawmakers and investors step up pressure on Western companies to scrutinize their supply chains for evidence of human rights abuses. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "High fees and pricey cowboy boots: Why crypto spending isn't about to go mainstream," 4 Apr. 2021 Police leaders, long reluctant to scrutinize their own officers’ extremist ties, are now facing intense pressure to root out staff with links to white supremacist and armed far-right groups. Washington Post, "Ex-officer texted ‘We stormed the Capitol’ during Jan. 6 riot, feds say, and tipsters turned him in," 3 Apr. 2021 FinCEN uses geographic targeting orders — which require financial institutions in a region to report certain types of transactions — to scrutinize a limited number of real estate markets, including Boston., "The costs of a secretive ‘wealth defense industry’ of shell companies, offshore tax havens, and empty luxury condos," 1 Apr. 2021 Common Cause Ohio, a left-leaning good government group, has asked the Ohio Senate to scrutinize Deters' appointment because of his connections to former Ohio Republican Party leader Matt Borges, a defendant in the federal case. Jessie Balmert, The Enquirer, "Gov. Mike DeWine announces replacement for PUCO commissioner who resigned amid FBI probe," 19 Mar. 2021 Continuing to scrutinize gaps on resumes, especially during a global crisis, will only lead us to miss out on strong hires. NBC News, "Author Alana Karen: Women belong in tech ― Now go and hire them," 9 Mar. 2021 At the time, most researchers thought the key to figuring out whether a stromatolite-like pattern had been shaped by primitive microbes or geologic forces was to scrutinize a sample micrometer by micrometer. Charlie Wood, Popular Science, "Perseverance’s giant ‘hand lens’ will scour Mars for signs of ancient life," 8 Mar. 2021 The claim was disputed, but an attempt to get a court to scrutinize its legitimacy failed. Charlie Savage, New York Times, "Biden Seeks Update for a Much-Stretched Law That Authorizes the War on Terrorism," 5 Mar. 2021 In one of the most memorable moments of the night, Jane Fonda, the winner of the Cecil B. DeMille Award, used her time to scrutinize and appeal to Hollywood itself, delivering a fiery speech about the industry’s chronic inequities. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, "An American Reckoning at the Golden Globes," 1 Mar. 2021

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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Time Traveler for scrutinize

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The first known use of scrutinize was in 1671

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Last Updated

7 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Scrutinize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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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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