Definition of peruse in English:



  • 1Read (something), typically in a thorough or careful way.

    ‘he has spent countless hours in libraries perusing art history books and catalogues’
    • ‘I found myself having a different kind of experience reading this work than I have ever had perusing a materia medica.’
    • ‘He said he needed to peruse these documents before he could make any submissions against the extradition of his client.’
    • ‘You can navigate by country, topic or forum and read expert advice or peruse articles.’
    • ‘By now, having thoroughly perused the menu, it was obvious that Haus Munchen was priced very moderately.’
    • ‘At the end of the long room, a grey haired sixty year old man is tapping his desk with his fingers whilst perusing a wad of documents.’
    • ‘Readers who are accustomed to perusing statistical documents know what the set of numbers in the parentheses means.’
    • ‘The Tribunal perused the original and read the copies that were made for its use.’
    • ‘Upon opening the door Jack was surprised to find Chris sitting on the couch perusing a medical journal.’
    leaf, flick, flip, skim, browse, glance, look, riffle
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    1. 1.1 Examine carefully or at length.
      ‘Laura perused a Caravaggio’
      • ‘She thoroughly perused the room to make sure Pablo was nowhere nearby.’
      study, scrutinize, look through
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Note that peruse means ‘read,’ typically with an implication of thoroughness and care. It does not mean ‘read through quickly; glance over,’ as in documents will be perused rather than analyzed thoroughly


Late 15th century (in the sense ‘use up, wear out’): perhaps from per- ‘thoroughly’+ use, but compare with Anglo-Norman French peruser ‘examine’.