verb (used with object), read [red] /rɛd/, read·ing [ree-ding] /ˈri dɪŋ/.
- to look at carefully so as to understand the meaning of (something written, printed, etc.): to read a book; to read music.
- to utter aloud or render in speech (something written, printed, etc.): reading a story to his children; The actor read his lines in a booming voice.
- to have such knowledge of (a language) as to be able to understand things written in it: to be able to read French.
- to apprehend the meaning of (signs, characters, etc.) otherwise than with the eyes, as by means of the fingers: to read Braille.
- to apprehend or interpret the meaning of (gestures, movements, signals, or the like): to read a semaphore; to read sign language.
- to make out the significance of by scrutiny or observation: to read the cloudy sky as the threat of a storm; a fisherman skilled in reading a stream for potential pools.
- to anticipate, expect, or calculate by observation: At the line of scrimmage, the quarterback read a blitz and called an audible.
- to foresee, foretell, or predict: to read a person’s fortune in tea leaves.
- to make out the character, motivations, desires, etc., of (a person or persons), as by the interpretation of outward signs.
- to interpret or attribute a meaning to (a written text), a musical composition, etc.): How do you read this clause in the contract?
- to infer (something not expressed or directly indicated) from what is read, considered, or observed: He read an underlying sarcasm into her letter. In your silence I read agreement to my plan.
- to adopt or give as a reading in a particular passage: For “one thousand” another version reads “ten thousand.”
- to substitute or replace (a particular word or phrase) in a written text, usually to correct an error: Read “cavalry” for “calvary.”
- to check (printers’ proofs, copy, etc.) for errors; proofread.
- to register or indicate, as a thermometer, clock, etc.
- Computers. to obtain (data, programs, or control information) from an external storage medium or some other source and place in memory.
- British. to study (a subject), as at a university: to read law.
- to read the work of (an author): She is reading Kafka.
- to learn by or as if by reading: to read a person’s thoughts.
- to hear and understand (a transmitted radio message or the person transmitting it); receive: I read you loud and clear.
- to bring, put, etc., by reading: to read oneself to sleep.
- to give one (a lecture or lesson) by way of admonition or rebuke.
- to discover or explain the meaning of (a riddle, dream, etc.).
verb (used without object), read [red] /rɛd/, read·ing [ree-ding] /ˈri dɪŋ/.
- to read or peruse written or printed matter.
- to utter aloud or render in speech written or printed words that one is perusing: to read to a person.
- to give a public reading or recital.
- to inspect and apprehend the meaning of written or other signs or characters.
- to occupy oneself seriously with reading or study.
- to obtain knowledge or learn of something by reading.
- to admit of being read, especially properly or well.
- to have a certain wording.
- to admit of being interpreted: a rule that reads in two different ways.
- to register or indicate particular information, as the status or condition of something: Her blood pressure is reading a little low today.
- to have an effect or make an impression; show forth: Those battle photographs read with great impact.
- Computers. to read data, programs, or control information.
- an act or instance of reading: Give the agreement a careful read before you sign it.
- something that is read: Her new novel is a wonderful read.
- read in, Computers. to place (data, programs, or control information) in memory.
- read out,
- to read aloud, as for someone’s attention.
- Computers.to retrieve (information) from a computer.
- read out of, to oust from membership in (a political party or other group) by a public announcement of dismissal: He was read out of the association because of alleged subversive activities.
- read up on, to learn about by reading; gather information on; research by reading: You’d better read up on World War I before taking the history test.
- to read (data) into a computer memory or storage device
- read oneself in Church of England to assume possession of a benefice by publicly reading the Thirty-nine Articles
verb reads, reading or read (rɛd)
- to comprehend the meaning of (something written or printed) by looking at and interpreting the written or printed characters
- to be occupied in such an activityhe was reading all day
- (when tr , often foll by out) to look at, interpret, and speak aloud (something written or printed)he read to us from the Bible
- (tr) to interpret the significance or meaning of through scrutiny and recognitionhe read the sky and predicted rain; to read a map
- (tr) to interpret or understand the meaning of (signs, characters, etc) other than by visual meansto read Braille
- (tr) to have sufficient knowledge of (a language) to understand the written or printed worddo you read German?
- (tr) to discover or make out the true nature or mood ofto read someone’s mind
- to interpret or understand (something read) in a specified way, or (of something read) to convey a particular meaning or impressionI read this speech as satire; this book reads well
- (tr) to adopt as a reading in a particular passagefor “boon” read “bone”
- (intr) to have or contain a certain form or wordingthe sentence reads as follows
- to undertake a course of study in (a subject)to read history; read for the bar
- to gain knowledge by readinghe read about the war
- (tr) to register, indicate, or showthe meter reads 100
- (tr) to bring or put into a specified condition by readingto read a child to sleep
- (tr) to hear and understand, esp when using a two-way radiowe are reading you loud and clear
- computing to obtain (data) from a storage device, such as magnetic tapeCompare write (def. 16)
- (tr) to understand (written or printed music) by interpretation of the notes on the staff and to be able to reproduce the musical sounds represented by these notes
- read a lesson or read a lecture informal to censure or reprimand, esp in a long-winded manner
- read between the lines to perceive or deduce a meaning that is hidden or implied rather than being openly stated
- you wouldn’t read about it Australian informal an expression of dismay, disgust, or disbelief
- matter suitable for readingthis new book is a very good read
- the act of reading
- the past tense and past participle of read 1
- having knowledge gained from books (esp in the phrases widely read, well-read)
- take something as read to take something for granted as a fact; understand or presume
“an act of reading,” 1825, from read (v.).
1580s, “having knowledge gained from reading,” in well-read, etc., past participle adjective from read (v.).
Old English rædan (West Saxon), redan (Anglian) “to advise, counsel, persuade; discuss, deliberate; rule, guide; arrange, equip; forebode; read, explain; learn by reading; put in order” (related to ræd, red “advice”), from Proto-Germanic *raedanan (cf. Old Norse raða, Old Frisian reda, Dutch raden, Old High German ratan, German raten “to advise, counsel, guess”), from PIE root *re(i)- “to reason, count” (cf. Sanskrit radh- “to succeed, accomplish,” Greek arithmos “number amount,” Old Church Slavonic raditi “to take thought, attend to,” Old Irish im-radim “to deliberate, consider”). Words from this root in most modern Germanic languages still mean “counsel, advise.”
Sense of “make out the character of (a person)” is attested from 1610s. Connected to riddle via notion of “interpret.” Transference to “understand the meaning of written symbols” is unique to Old English and (perhaps under English influence) Old Norse raða. Most languages use a word rooted in the idea of “gather up” as their word for “read” (cf. French lire, from Latin legere). Read up “study” is from 1842; read out (v.) “expel by proclamation” (Society of Friends) is from 1788. read-only in computer jargon is recorded from 1961.
In addition to the idioms beginning with read
- read a lecture
- read between the lines
- read into
- read like an open book
- read out of
- read someone’s mind
- read the riot act
- read up
- do you read me
- open book, read like an