[ reed ]
See synonyms for read on
verb (used with object),read [red], /rɛd/, read·ing [ree-ding]. /ˈri dɪŋ/.
  1. to look at carefully so as to understand the meaning of (something written, printed, etc.): to read a book;to read music.

  2. to utter aloud or render in speech (something written, printed, etc.): He spent the evening reading a story to his children.The actor read his lines in a booming voice.

  1. to have such knowledge of (a language) as to be able to understand things written in it: to be able to read French.

  2. to apprehend the meaning of (signs, characters, etc.) otherwise than with the eyes, as by means of the fingers: to read Braille.

  3. to apprehend or interpret the meaning of (gestures, movements, signals, or the like): to read a semaphore;to read sign language.

  4. to make out the character or significance of by scrutiny or observation: I read the cloudy sky as the threat of a storm.A fisherman should be skilled in reading a stream for potential pools.

  5. to anticipate, expect, or calculate by observation: At the line of scrimmage, the quarterback read a blitz and called an audible.

  6. to foresee, foretell, or predict: to read a person's fortune in tea leaves.

  7. to make out the character, motivations, desires, etc., of (a person or persons), as by the interpretation of outward signs.

  8. to interpret or attribute a meaning to (a written text), a musical composition, etc.): How do you read this clause in the contract?

  9. 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.

  10. to adopt or give as a reading in a particular passage: For “one thousand” another version reads “ten thousand.”

  11. to substitute or replace (a particular word or phrase) in a written text, usually to correct an error: Read “cavalry” for “calvary.”

  12. to check (printers' proofs, copy, etc.) for errors; proofread.

  13. to register or indicate, as a thermometer, clock, etc.

  14. Computers. to obtain (data, programs, or control information) from an external storage medium or some other source and place in memory.

  15. British. to study (a subject), as at a university: to read law.

  16. to read the work of (an author): She is reading Kafka.

  17. to learn by or as if by reading: to read a person's thoughts.

  18. to hear and understand (a transmitted radio message or the person transmitting it); receive: I read you loud and clear.

  19. to bring, put, etc., by reading: to read oneself to sleep.

  20. to give one (a lecture or lesson) by way of admonition or rebuke.

  21. to discover or explain the meaning of (a riddle, dream, etc.).

  22. Slang.

    • to perceive (someone) as a particular gender, as cisgender, or as transgender: People keep reading me as a woman when I wear lipstick and as a man when I don't.Since I had top surgery, strangers usually read me as cis.

    • to perceive (someone) as transgender or as the gender they were assigned at birth, especially when they do not wish to be so percieved: I was really happy with how I looked last night but getting read really upset me.

verb (used without object),read [red], /rɛd/, read·ing [ree-ding]. /ˈri dɪŋ/.
  1. to read or peruse written or printed matter.

  2. to utter aloud or render in speech written or printed words that one is perusing: to read to a person.

  1. to give a public reading or recital.

  2. to inspect and apprehend the meaning of written or other signs or characters.

  3. to occupy oneself seriously with reading or study.

  4. to obtain knowledge or learn of something by reading.

  5. to admit of being read, especially properly or well.

  6. to have a certain wording.

  7. to admit of being interpreted: a rule that reads in two different ways.

  8. to register or indicate particular information, as the status or condition of something: Her blood pressure is reading a little low today.

  9. to have an effect or make an impression; show forth: Those battle photographs read with great impact.

  10. Computers. to read data, programs, or control information.

  1. an act or instance of reading: Give the agreement a careful read before you sign it.

  2. something that is read: Her new novel is a wonderful read.

Verb Phrases
  1. read in, Computers. to place (data, programs, or control information) in memory.

  2. read out,

    • to read aloud, as for someone's attention.

    • Computers. to retrieve (information) from a computer.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

Idioms about read

  1. read between the lines. line1 (def. 82).

  2. read for, (of an actor) to audition for (a role, a play, etc.).

  1. read lips, to study the lip movements of a speaker who cannot be heard so as to determine the words being uttered.

  2. read the green, Golf. green (def. 35).

  3. read the riot act. Riot Act (def. 2).

Origin of read

First recorded before 900; Middle English reden, read(en), reid(e), Old English rǣdan “to counsel, read”; cognate with Dutch raden, German raten, Old Norse rātha; akin to Sanskrit rādhnoti “(he) achieves”; see also rede, riddle1

Other words for read

Words Nearby read

Other definitions for read (2 of 3)

[ red ]

  1. having knowledge gained by reading (usually used in combination): a well-read person.

Origin of read

First recorded in 1570–80; past participle of read1

Other definitions for Read (3 of 3)

[ reed ]

  1. George, 1733–98, American political leader: served in the Continental Congress 1774–77.

  2. Sir Herbert, 1893–1968, English critic and poet.

  1. a male given name: from an Old English word meaning “red.” Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use read in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for read (1 of 2)


/ (riːd) /

verbreads, reading or read (rɛd)
  1. to comprehend the meaning of (something written or printed) by looking at and interpreting the written or printed characters

  2. to be occupied in such an activity: he was reading all day

  1. (when tr , often foll by out) to look at, interpret, and speak aloud (something written or printed): he read to us from the Bible

  2. (tr) to interpret the significance or meaning of through scrutiny and recognition: he read the sky and predicted rain; to read a map

  3. (tr) to interpret or understand the meaning of (signs, characters, etc) other than by visual means: to read Braille

  4. (tr) to have sufficient knowledge of (a language) to understand the written or printed word: do you read German?

  5. (tr) to discover or make out the true nature or mood of: to read someone's mind

  6. to interpret or understand (something read) in a specified way, or (of something read) to convey a particular meaning or impression: I read this speech as satire; this book reads well

  7. (tr) to adopt as a reading in a particular passage: for ``boon'' read ``bone''

  8. (intr) to have or contain a certain form or wording: the sentence reads as follows

  9. to undertake a course of study in (a subject): to read history; read for the bar

  10. to gain knowledge by reading: he read about the war

  11. (tr) to register, indicate, or show: the meter reads 100

  12. (tr) to bring or put into a specified condition by reading: to read a child to sleep

  13. (tr) to hear and understand, esp when using a two-way radio: we are reading you loud and clear

  14. computing to obtain (data) from a storage device, such as magnetic tape: Compare write (def. 16)

  15. (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

  16. read a lesson or read a lecture informal to censure or reprimand, esp in a long-winded manner

  17. read between the lines to perceive or deduce a meaning that is hidden or implied rather than being openly stated

  18. you wouldn't read about it Australian informal an expression of dismay, disgust, or disbelief

  1. matter suitable for reading: this new book is a very good read

  2. the act of reading

Origin of read

Old English rǣdan to advise, explain; related to Old Frisian rēda, Old High German rātan, Gothic garēdan

British Dictionary definitions for read (2 of 2)


/ (rɛd) /

  1. the past tense and past participle of read 1

  1. having knowledge gained from books (esp in the phrases widely read, well-read)

  2. take something as read to take something for granted as a fact; understand or presume

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Other Idioms and Phrases with read


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

also see:

  • do you read me
  • open book, read like an

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.