pertaining to or used for reading: reading glasses.
given to reading: the reading public.

Nearby words

  1. reader,
  2. readership,
  3. readies,
  4. readily,
  5. readiness,
  6. reading chair,
  7. reading desk,
  8. reading group,
  9. reading notice,
  10. reading room

Origin of reading

before 900; Middle English redyng (gerund), Old English rǣdinge. See read1, -ing1, -ing2

Related formsnon·read·ing, nounself-read·ing, adjective




Rufus Daniel Isaacs, 1st Marquis of,1860–1935, Lord Chief Justice of England 1913–21; viceroy of India 1921–26.
a city in Berkshire, in S England.
a city in SE Pennsylvania.
a town in E Massachusetts, near Boston.
a city in SW Ohio.



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.

Verb Phrases

read in, Computers. to place (data, programs, or control information) in memory.
read out,
  1. to read aloud, as for someone's attention.
  2. 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.

Origin of read

before 900; Middle English reden, Old English rǣdan to counsel, read; cognate with Dutch raden, German raten, Old Norse rātha; akin to Sanskrit rādhnoti (he) achieves Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for reading

British Dictionary definitions for reading



  1. the act of a person who reads
  2. (as modifier)a reading room; a reading lamp
  1. ability to read
  2. (as modifier)the reading public; a child of reading age
any matter that can be read; written or printed text
a public recital or rendering of a literary work
the form of a particular word or passage in a given text, esp where more than one version exists
an interpretation, as of a piece of music, a situation, or something said or written
knowledge gained from booksa person of little reading
a measurement indicated by a gauge, dial, scientific instrument, etc
parliamentary procedure
  1. the formal recital of the body or title of a bill in a legislative assembly in order to begin one of the stages of its passage
  2. one of the three stages in the passage of a bill through a legislative assemblySee first reading, second reading, third reading
the formal recital of something written, esp a will



a town in S England, in Reading unitary authority, Berkshire, on the River Thames: university (1892). Pop: 232 662 (2001)
a unitary authority in S England, in Berkshire. Pop: 144 100 (2003 est). Area: 37 sq km (14 sq miles)



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

Word Origin for read

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




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
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

Word Origin and History for reading
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with reading


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.