scru·ti·nize | \ ˈskrü-tə-ˌnīz \
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

Farrell’s proposals remained largely intact after being scrutinized by the city’s budget committee. Dominic Fracassa,, "Now-former SF Mayor Farrell looks back on short term, future of city," 12 July 2018 Eventually the word was used more figuratively – to canvass an issue was to break it apart, scrutinize, and talk through it. Melissa Mohr, The Christian Science Monitor, "So many words to talk about elections," 14 June 2018 The Ohio system scrutinized by the Supreme Court started the removal process when someone didn’t vote in any election for two years. Richard Ruelas, azcentral, "Arizona's method of purging voters from rolls more lenient than Ohio," 11 June 2018 Pakistani and Chinese scientists reportedly scrutinized those missiles and used the lessons in their own weapons programs. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "What Happens to a Cruise Missile Captured by the Russians," 26 Apr. 2018 Comey's book will be heavily scrutinized by the president's legal team looking for any inconsistencies between it and his public testimony, under oath, before Congress., "In New Book, Comey Blasts Untruthful, ‘Ego-Driven’ Trump," 12 Apr. 2018 And the first games of that rookie manager’s career will be heavily scrutinized. Matt Breen,, "Phillies manager Gabe Kapler reflects on what went wrong," 3 Apr. 2018 Pruitt is no stranger to scandal, having been heavily scrutinized for the last few months over his potentially improper use of taxpayer dollars for first-class flights and pricey hotels. Emily Atkin, The New Republic, "A brief guide to Scott Pruitt’s bizarre condo corruption controversy.," 30 Mar. 2018 Citing three crashes within roughly a decade, the lawmaker said the company’s FAA certificate should be suspended while its safety record is scrutinized and the latest incident is investigated. Tim Stelloh, NBC News, "Helicopter pilot declared engine failure moments before fatal NYC crash," 12 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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Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

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


occurring twice a year or every two years

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