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

Investors will be scrutinizing their results after the stocks were battered last year by the U.S.-China trade dispute. Amrith Ramkumar, WSJ, "Stock Market’s Next Hurdle: Tech and Industrial Earnings," 22 Jan. 2019 The Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission are scrutinizing the transaction, with a decision possible in coming weeks. Todd Shields,, "Sinclair station sales risk new scrutiny as part of Tribune deal," 4 July 2018 And roboticists aren’t just scrutinizing the forms of nature, but behaviors as well—the most epic being those of ants, of course. Matt Simon, WIRED, "How Roboticists Are Copying Nature to Make Fantastical Machines," 28 June 2018 Mason is just one among many campuses that are scrutinizing Koch money. Washington Post, "Amid skepticism, Koch Foundation increases higher ed giving," 28 May 2018 Mueller's team is scrutinizing Russian interference in the 2016 election, whether the Russians coordinated with any Trump associates and whether the president has sought to thwart the probe., "Giuliani: Mueller's team told Trump's lawyers the special counsel cannot indict a sitting president," 17 May 2018 The drug industry has been closely scrutinizing the administration’s remarks for months. John Fritze, Indianapolis Star, "Donald Trump vows to lower 'soaring' drug prices, but abandons campaign pledge," 11 May 2018 Investors are scrutinizing cash flow as an indication of Big Oil's ability to pass on the rewards of higher prices through share buybacks. Kelly Gilblom, Houston Chronicle, "Strong earnings drive BP stock to highest since 2010," 1 May 2018 Authorities in several states are now looking into Devumi, and similar companies in some states are also being scrutinized. CBS News, "Twitter followers reportedly disappear as authorities look into fake accounts," 31 Jan. 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

4 Feb 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 \
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).


to deny responsibility for

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