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

Definition of scrutinize

transitive verb

: to examine closely and minutely

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. (But 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 teachers, their unions and free speech advocates say the proposals would excessively scrutinize daily classwork and would lead teachers to pre-emptively pull potentially contentious materials to avoid drawing criticism. NBC News, 20 Jan. 2022 Perhaps a day-long effort to scrutinize the subtle striations in the gray blanket above and tease out distinctions found some reward toward sunset. Washington Post, 19 Dec. 2021 Shiel invited investigative journalists from those countries and elsewhere to scrutinize the files and to explain, for instance, which among several dozen Argentinean names were most significant. The New Yorker, 4 Nov. 2021 Frances Haugen, the Facebook whistleblower who testified before Congress this month, has advocated for a government backed regulatory agency to scrutinize business practices and come up with regulations. Melanie Zanona, CNN, 26 Oct. 2021 That's why legal experts tell CNN that securities regulators are likely to heavily scrutinize Trump's SPAC, slowing down or even derailing the deal altogether. Matt Egan, CNN, 11 Jan. 2022 Over the next 11 months, pollsters will scrutinize the candidate preferences of Wisconsin voters. Susan Webb Yackee, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9 Jan. 2022 The authors also scrutinize museums that deal with the thieves who steal their art. Washington Post, 7 Jan. 2022 Testers at the labs run the swabs through expensive machines that tear apart any virus in the sample and scrutinize its nucleic acid, giving them a detailed map of its genome. David Axe, Rolling Stone, 23 Dec. 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

25 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Scrutinize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jan. 2022.

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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: The Cross of Lead

More from Merriam-Webster on scrutinize

Nglish: Translation of scrutinize for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of scrutinize for Arabic Speakers


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