verb scru·ti·nize \ ˈskrü-tə-ˌnīz \
|Updated on: 8 Jul 2018

Definition of scrutinize

scrutinized; scrutinizing
: to examine closely and minutely



scrutinize was our Word of the Day on 01/05/2014. Hear the podcast!

Examples of scrutinize in a Sentence

  1. I closely scrutinized my opponent's every move.

  2. Her performance was carefully scrutinized by her employer.

Recent Examples of scrutinize from the Web

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.

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.

First Known Use of scrutinize


in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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Synonym Discussion of 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 Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of scrutinize for English Language Learners

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

SCRUTINIZE Defined for Kids


verb scru·ti·nize \ ˈskrü-tə-ˌnīz \

Definition of scrutinize for Students

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

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