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  1. read
  2. verb

    • 1. look at and comprehend the meaning of (written or printed matter) by interpreting the characters or symbols of which it is composed:

      it's the best novel I've ever read I never learned to read music Emily read over her notes I'll go to bed and read for a while
      Synonym : peruse, study, scrutinize, look through, pore over, devour, be absorbed in, bury oneself in, wade through, plough through, run one's eye over, cast an eye over, leaf through, scan, glance through, flick through, skim through, thumb through, flip through, browse through, dip into, con, decipher, make out, make sense of, interpret, understand, comprehend
    • 2. have the ability to look at and comprehend the meaning of written or printed matter:

      only three of the girls could read and none could write
    • 3. speak (the written or printed matter that one is reading) aloud:

      I read the letter to her the charges against him were read out I'll read to you if you like his mother read him a bedtime story
      Synonym : read out, read aloud, say aloud, recite, declaim
    • 4. habitually read (a particular newspaper or periodical):

      now, I know what my reputation is—I read the papers
    • 5. (of a passage, text, or sign) have a certain wording:

      the placard read ‘We want justice’
    • 6. used to indicate that a particular word in a text or passage is incorrect and that another should be substituted for it:

      for madam read madman
    • 7. (of an actor) audition for (a role):

      ring your agent and say you'll read for the part
    • 8. discover (information) by reading it in a written or printed source:

      he was arrested yesterday—I read it in the paper I read about the course in a magazine
    • 9. discern (a fact, emotion, or quality) in someone's eyes or expression:

      she looked down, terrified that he would read fear on her face
    • 10. understand or interpret the nature or significance of:

      he didn't dare look away, in case this was read as a sign of weakness
      Synonym : interpret, take, take to mean, construe, see, explain, understand
    • 11. (of a piece of writing) convey a specified impression to the reader:

      the brief note read like a cry for help
    • 12. inspect and record the figure indicated on (a measuring instrument):

      I've come to read the gas meter
    • 13. (of a measuring instrument) indicate a specified measurement or figure:

      the thermometer read 0° C
      Synonym : indicate, register, record, display, show, have as a reading, measure
    • 14. study (an academic subject) at a university:

      I'm reading English at Cambridge he went to Manchester to read for a BA in Economics
      Synonym : study, do, take, major in
    • 15. (of a computer) copy, transfer, or interpret (data):

      it attempts to read a floppy disk without regard to its format
    • 16. enter or extract (data) in an electronic storage device:

      the commonest way of reading a file into the system
    • 17. (of a device) obtain data from (light or other input):

      the microchip gives a unique code when read by the scanner
    • 18. present (a bill or other measure) before a legislative assembly:

      the bill was accordingly read a second time
    • 19. hear and understand the words of (someone speaking on a radio transmitter):

      ‘Do you read me? Over.’


    • 1. a period or act of reading something:

      I was having a quiet read of the newspaper
    • 2. a book considered in terms of its readability:

      the book is a thoroughly entertaining read
    • 3. a person's interpretation of something:

      their read on the national situation may be correct


    • 1. having a specified level of knowledge as a result of reading:

      Ada was well read in French literature a man deeply read in history, philosophy, and theology
    • 2. having a readership of a specified extent:

      it is still a widely read newspaper a little-read English columnist whose name escapes me
  3. Variation

    • v.: verb: read, 3rd person present: reads, gerund or present participle: reading, past tense: read, past participle: read