noun, plural scru·ti·nies.

a searching examination or investigation; minute inquiry.
surveillance; close and continuous watching or guarding.
a close and searching look.

Origin of scrutiny

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin scrūtinium the action of searching, of scrutinizing, derivative of scrūtārī to search
Related formsnon·scru·ti·ny, noun, plural non·scru·ti··scru·ti·ny, noun, plural re·scru·ti·nies.self-scru·ti·ny, noun

Synonyms for scrutiny

1. See examination. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for scrutiny

Contemporary Examples of scrutiny

Historical Examples of scrutiny

  • As if she were conscious of his scrutiny, she lifted her head and glanced toward him.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Suddenly a strange sound at her side startled her into scrutiny of Caleb's face.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • The more potent a power in us, I suspect it is the more hidden from our scrutiny.'

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

  • My assistant hummed at her task, unconscious of my scrutiny.

    Ruggles of Red Gap

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • To his relief, a scrutiny of the dials revealed nothing wrong.

    Salvage in Space

    John Stewart Williamson

British Dictionary definitions for scrutiny


noun plural -nies

close or minute examination
a searching look
  1. (in the early Christian Church) a formal testing that catechumens had to undergo before being baptized
  2. a similar examination of candidates for holy orders

Word Origin for scrutiny

C15: from Late Latin scrūtinium an investigation, from scrūtārī to search (originally referring to rag-and-bone men), from scrūta rubbish
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 scrutiny

early 15c., "a vote to choose someone to decide a question," from Late Latin scrutinium "a search, inquiry" (in Medieval Latin, "a mode of election by ballot"), from Latin scrutari "to examine, investigate, search," from PIE root *skreu- "to cut; cutting tool" (see shred (n.)). Meaning "close examination" first recorded c.1600. Perhaps the original notion of the Latin word is "to search through trash," via scruta (plural) "trash, rags" ("shreds"); or the original sense might be "to cut into, scratch."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper