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 The world’s scientists and Internet sleuths will scrutinize every move., 13 Oct. 2021 Still, regulators at the state utilities commission will closely scrutinize PG&E’s undergrounding plans when the company seeks permission to recover costs through electric rates. J.d. Morris, San Francisco Chronicle, 10 Oct. 2021 Business leaders all over the world must scrutinize the impact of their organizations on the climate and, thus, respond to the critical threats of global warming impacting our planet. Mark Minevich, Forbes, 8 Oct. 2021 The regulator will also scrutinize changes to the formulation of the vaccine itself given to younger children. Alexander Tin, CBS News, 20 Sep. 2021 Collectively, the workers scrutinize millions of pieces of WhatsApp content each week. Peter Elkind, ProPublica, 7 Sep. 2021 To study black holes, scientists scrutinize this stellar menagerie, similar to studying a shadow to learn about its shadow-casting object. Shi En Kim, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 Aug. 2021 Started in January when the museum brought together artists, activists and others to scrutinize and fortify the institution’s role in culture and community building, the series will continue until January 2022 with the fruit of those collaborations. New York Times, 30 Sep. 2021 Scalia argued that the alternative would be for courts to constantly scrutinize and weigh individual litigants’ religious beliefs. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 21 Sep. 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

16 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Scrutinize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Oct. 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: 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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