An example of peruse is to read through the classified ads in a newspaper.
transitive verb-·rused′, -·rus′ing
- Obs. to examine in detail; scrutinize
- to read carefully or thoroughly; study
- to read in a casual or leisurely way
Origin of peruseLate Middle English perusen, to use up, probably from Classical Latin per-, intensive + Middle English usen, to use
transitive verbpe·rused, pe·rus·ing, pe·rus·es
- To read or examine, typically with great care.
- Usage Problem To glance over; skim.
Origin of peruseMiddle English perusen to use up Latin per- per- Middle English usen to use ; see use .
Usage Note: Peruse has long meant “to read thoroughly,” as in He perused the contract until he was satisfied that it met all of his requirements, which was acceptable to 75 percent of the Usage Panel in our 2011 survey. But the word is often used more loosely, to mean simply “to read,” as in The librarians checked to see which titles had been perused in the last month and which ones had been left untouched. Seventy percent of the Panel rejected this example in 1999, but only 39 percent rejected it in 2011. Further extension of the word to mean “to glance over, skim” has traditionally been considered an error, but our ballot results suggest that it is becoming somewhat more acceptable. When asked about the sentence I only had a moment to peruse the manual quickly, 66 percent of the Panel found it unacceptable in 1988, 58 percent in 1999, and 48 percent in 2011. Use of the word outside of reading contexts, as in We perused the shops in the downtown area, is often considered a mistake.
(third-person singular simple present peruses, present participle perusing, simple past and past participle perused)
- The sense of "skimming" is proscribed by some authorities on usage, including the Oxford American Dictionary. The shift, however, is not dissimilar to that found in scan. The Oxford English Dictionary further notes that the word was used as a general synonym for read as far back as the 16th century.