from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To read or examine, typically with great care.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To go through searchingly or carefully; run over with careful scrutiny; examine throughout or in detail; inspect; survey; scan; scrutinize.
  • To read through carefully or with attention.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb rare To observe; to examine with care.
  • transitive verb To read through; to read carefully.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An examination or perusal; an instance of perusing.
  • verb transitive To examine or consider with care.
  • verb transitive To read completely.
  • verb transitive, informal To look over casually; to skim.
  • verb intransitive, regional To go from place to place; to wander.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb examine or consider with attention and in detail


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English perusen, to use up : Latin per-, per- + Middle English usen, to use; see use.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From per-+use, from either Medieval Latin (peruti, perusitare ("wear out")) or Anglo-Norman (peruser ("use up")), originally leading two concurrent meanings, but only those derived from "to examine" survive today.


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  • [Footnote A: It was Miss Wooler who taught Charlotte to "peruse".]

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  • Consider, you who peruse me, whether I may not in unknown ways be looking upon you ... Whitman, "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry"

    December 11, 2006

  • As seen in a Cracked's 9 Words That Don't Mean What You Think.

    November 26, 2007

  • Examine in detail v. look over casually.

    May 24, 2008

  • He came to a standstill in front of her, and perused her with the expression of an intensely interested haddock. - ''Yashima, or, The Gorgeous West'' by R T Sherwood, 1931.

    December 24, 2008