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

  • transitive v. To examine and grasp the meaning of (written or printed characters, words, or sentences).
  • transitive v. To utter or render aloud (written or printed material): read poems to the students.
  • transitive v. To have the ability to examine and grasp the meaning of (written or printed material in a given language or notation): reads Chinese; reads music.
  • transitive v. To examine and grasp the meaning of (language in a form other than written or printed characters, words, or sentences): reading Braille; reading sign language.
  • transitive v. To examine and grasp the meaning of (a graphic representation): reading a map.
  • transitive v. To discern and interpret the nature or significance of through close examination or sensitive observation: The tracker read the trail for signs of game.
  • transitive v. To discern or anticipate through examination or observation; descry: "I can read abandonment in a broken door or shattered window” ( William H. Gass).
  • transitive v. To determine the intent or mood of: can read your mind like a book; a hard person to read.
  • transitive v. To attribute a certain interpretation or meaning to: read her words differently than I did.
  • transitive v. To consider (something written or printed) as having a particular meaning or significance: read the novel as a parable.
  • transitive v. To foretell or predict (the future).
  • transitive v. To receive or comprehend (a radio message, for example): I read you loud and clear.
  • transitive v. To study or make a study of: read history as an undergraduate.
  • transitive v. To learn or get knowledge of from something written or printed: read that interest rates would continue to rise.
  • transitive v. To proofread.
  • transitive v. To have or use as a preferred reading in a particular passage: For change read charge.
  • transitive v. To indicate, register, or show: The dial reads 32°.
  • transitive v. Computer Science To obtain (data) from a storage medium, such as a magnetic disk.
  • transitive v. Genetics To decode or translate a sequence of messenger RNA into an amino acid sequence in a polypeptide chain.
  • intransitive v. To examine and grasp the meaning of printed or written characters, as of words or music.
  • intransitive v. To speak aloud the words that one is reading: read to the children every night.
  • intransitive v. To learn by reading: read about the storm in the paper today.
  • intransitive v. To study.
  • intransitive v. To have a particular wording: Recite the poem exactly as it reads.
  • intransitive v. To contain a specific meaning: As the law reads, the defendant is guilty.
  • intransitive v. To indicate, register, or show a measurement or figure: How does your new watch read?
  • intransitive v. To have a specified character or quality for the reader: Your poems read well.
  • n. Informal Something that is read: "The book is a page-turner as well as a very satisfying read” ( Frank Conroy).
  • adj. Informed by reading; learned: only sparsely read in fields outside my profession.
  • read out To read aloud: Please read out the names on the list.
  • read up To study or learn by reading: Read up on the places you plan to visit before you travel.
  • idiom lecture To issue a reprimand: My parents read me a lecture because I had neglected my chores.
  • idiom read between the lines To perceive or detect an obscure or unexpressed meaning: learned to read between the lines of corporate annual reports to discern areas of fiscal weakness.
  • idiom read out of To expel by proclamation from a social, political, or other group: was read out of the secretariat after the embarrassing incident.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A reading or an act of reading, especially an actor's part of a play.
  • v. To think, believe; to consider (that).
  • v. To look at and interpret letters or other information that is written.
  • v. To speak aloud words or other information that is written. Often construed with a to phrase or an indirect object.
  • v. To interpret or infer a meaning, significance, etc.
  • v. To consist of certain text.
  • v. Of text, etc., to be interpreted or read in a particular way.
  • v. To substitute (a corrected piece of text in place of an erroneous one); used to introduce an emendation of a text.
  • v. Used after a euphemism to introduce the intended, more blunt meaning of a term.
  • v. To be able to hear what another person is saying over a radio connection.
  • v. To make a special study of, as by perusing textbooks.
  • v. to recognise (someone) as being transgender
  • v. Simple past tense and past participle of read.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • imp. & p. p. of read, v. t. & i.
  • adj. Instructed or knowing by reading; versed in books; learned.
  • n. Rennet. See 3d reed.
  • n. Saying; sentence; maxim; hence, word; advice; counsel. See rede.
  • n. Reading.
  • intransitive v. To give advice or counsel.
  • intransitive v. To tell; to declare.
  • intransitive v. To perform the act of reading; to peruse, or to go over and utter aloud, the words of a book or other like document.
  • intransitive v. To study by reading.
  • intransitive v. To learn by reading.
  • intransitive v. To appear in writing or print; to be expressed by, or consist of, certain words or characters.
  • intransitive v. To produce a certain effect when read.
  • transitive v. To advise; to counsel.
  • transitive v. To interpret; to explain.
  • transitive v. To tell; to declare; to recite.
  • transitive v. To go over, as characters or words, and utter aloud, or recite to one's self inaudibly; to take in the sense of, as of language, by interpreting the characters with which it is expressed; to peruse
  • transitive v. Hence, to know fully; to comprehend.
  • transitive v. To discover or understand by characters, marks, features, etc.; to learn by observation.
  • transitive v. To make a special study of, as by perusing textbooks.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To counsel; advise; recommend.
  • To teach; instil, as a lesson.
  • To explain the meaning of; explain; interpret; make out; solve: as, to read a riddle; to read a dream.
  • To declare; tell; rehearse.
  • To suppose; guess; imagine; fancy.
  • To understand by observation or scrutiny; acquire a knowledge of (something not otherwise obvious) by interpreting signs or indications; study out; interpret: as, to read the signs of the times; to read the sky or a person's countenance.
  • To discover by observation or scrutiny; perceive from signs or indications.
  • To observe and apprehend the meaning of (something written, printed, inscribed, or stamped in letters or other significant characters); go over with the eyes (or, in the case of the blind, with the fingers) and take in the meaning of (significant characters forming or representing words or sentences); peruse: as, to read a book, newspaper, poem, inscription, or piece of music.
  • To note the indication of (a graduated instrument): as, to read a thermometer or a circle.
  • To utter aloud: said of words or sounds represented by letters or other significant characters.
  • To peruse or study (a subject in the books written about it); learn through reading: as, to read law or philosophy; to read science for a degree; to read the news; we read that the meek shall inherit the earth.
  • To perceive or assume in the reading or study of a book or writing (something not expressed or directly indicated); impute or import by inference: as, to read a meaning in a book which the author did not intend; to read one's own notions into a book; to read something between the lines.
  • To affect by reading so as to bring into a specified condition: as, to read a child asleep; to read one's self blind.
  • To read about.
  • To counsel; advise; give advice or warning.
  • To speak; discourse; declare; tell.
  • To peruse something written or printed; acquire information from a record of any kind.
  • To utter aloud the words of something written or printed; enunciate the words of a book or writing.
  • In music: To perform or render music at first sight of the notes: applied to either vocal or instrumental performance: as, he plays well, but reads very slowly.
  • To perform or render music in a particular way; put a certain expression upon it; interpret it: used of a performer or conductor.
  • To give a recital or lecture; rehearse something written or learned: as, to read before a public audience.
  • To study systematically from books or writings: sometimes with up.
  • To appear on reading; have a (specified) meaning.
  • To have a certain quality or effect in perusal; used absolutely, to be suitable or desirable for perusal.
  • Having knowledge gained from reading; instructed by reading; in general, versed: now usually with well: as, well read in the classics.
  • An obsolete form of red.
  • A dialectal form of red.
  • n. Counsel; advice.
  • n. Interpretation.
  • n. Speech; tale; narrative.
  • n. A saying; a proverb.
  • n. Reading; perusal.

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

  • v. audition for a stage role by reading parts of a role
  • v. be a student of a certain subject
  • v. have or contain a certain wording or form
  • v. interpret the significance of, as of palms, tea leaves, intestines, the sky; also of human behavior
  • v. interpret something in a certain way; convey a particular meaning or impression
  • v. look at, interpret, and say out loud something that is written or printed
  • v. make sense of a language
  • v. interpret something that is written or printed
  • v. indicate a certain reading; of gauges and instruments
  • n. something that is read
  • v. obtain data from magnetic tapes
  • v. to hear and understand


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

Middle English reden, from Old English rǣdan, to advise.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English rǣdan ("advise, read"), from Proto-Germanic *rēdanan (“advise, counsel”). Cognate with Danish råde, Dutch raden, German raten, Swedish råda. The development from ‘advise, interpret’ to ‘interpret letters, read’ is unique to English. Compare rede.



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  • Recently came across this usage in regard to having an original musical composition played by musicians: "Has this been read yet?"

    May 31, 2010

  • It's even more boring in the past tense. Read. Thud. Bed. Dud.

    August 5, 2008

  • How could this be such a boring word for such an incredibly mind-expanding, tremendously important activity?

    August 5, 2008

  • present tense v. past tense.

    November 22, 2007