Definition of read in English:



  • 1Look at and comprehend the meaning of (written or printed matter) by mentally interpreting the characters or symbols of which it is composed.

    ‘it's the best novel I've ever read’
    ‘I never learned to read music’
    ‘Emily read over her notes’
    [no object] ‘I'll go to bed and read for a while’
    • ‘Still, since only the two of us ever read this stuff, it barely matters, does it?’
    • ‘He was reading the newspaper and he looked up at me and said in a very serious tone of voice.’
    • ‘He's lying on the bed, reading the paper as I put on my makeup.’
    • ‘Consumers should know what is good for them and make it a habit to at least read the ingredients written on the packets.’
    • ‘It's not a good look watching grown men and women openly weeping while reading a tabloid newspaper!’
    • ‘He read over what had happened and then read the email from Neil that she had attached.’
    • ‘It just seems to be one long tirade on how to read stuff and then write it.’
    • ‘If anyone can read the characters on the sword itself, please let me know what they say.’
    • ‘He could see his poem, deeply creased now as if it had been read over and over, lying on the floor by his feet.’
    • ‘When she complained that she wouldn't have time she was told not to worry and just to skim read the papers.’
    • ‘The nature of these disclosures, and the colorful language used, strongly support the belief that no one ever reads this material.’
    • ‘Clearly, the notion of reading everything ever written is now entirely preposterous.’
    • ‘You don't need a computer to read a magazine or newspaper on the bus on your way to work.’
    • ‘Nobody has ever read the small print of a mobile-phone insurance contract.’
    • ‘In all of the books she had ever read the main character always had some sort of friend.’
    • ‘Sunday morning I put him down for a nap and I stayed in bed reading the paper.’
    • ‘Alex was reading the papers in bed one Sunday morning when the smoke alarm fitted outside her bedroom door went off.’
    • ‘I cannot read the characters you sent to me, but I can see the web site address.’
    • ‘Far too much of my work involved reading old newspapers and regional magazines on microfilm.’
    • ‘I know all the stories and the names of the characters from my time reading the Bible as a child.’
    decipher, make out, make sense of, interpret, understand, comprehend
    peruse, study, scrutinize, look through
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Speak (the written or printed matter that one is reading) aloud, typically to another person.
      ‘the charges against him were read out’
      [with two objects] ‘his mother read him a bedtime story’
      [no object] ‘I'll read to you if you like’
      • ‘He performs his poems and children join in, writing their own poetry or reading his aloud.’
      • ‘She wrote letters to Christian's large family for him often, and when a letter arrived for him she'd read it aloud.’
      • ‘She didn't just show it to her, she ended up reading it all aloud and was rewarded with the first real chuckle we've had from her for weeks.’
      • ‘She was glad now that her History teacher humiliated her by taking that letter and reading it aloud to the class.’
      • ‘It is basically a long prose poem meant to be read aloud, and I could only take so much of that at one time.’
      • ‘He reads it aloud, and then proceeds to asks us the riddle.’
      • ‘Proud of himself and unable to contain his joy, he began to read the letter aloud.’
      • ‘The three tellers read each ballot successively, and the third one reads the name aloud.’
      • ‘This time, Gerard and Kathleen caught up to us as I was reading the card aloud.’
      • ‘They came over to look over her shoulder as she read the scroll aloud, unrolling it.’
      • ‘Letters and cards were read thanking the branch for Christmas gifts given to older members who are unable to attend meetings.’
      • ‘They wrote essays, or lectures, or sermons and they read them aloud.’
      • ‘Mum or dad reads the story, while the child follows the pictures - and occasionally makes that little jump of recognition when they realise the characters they are looking at make up one of the words mum or dad has just read out.’
      • ‘The Duke hands the letter to the clerk, who reads it aloud.’
      • ‘They guys are looking at us with a mixture of curiosity and fear so I decide to read the letter aloud.’
      • ‘Please remember these qualifications are read over the telephone during the interview.’
      • ‘This completed the case for the prosecution and the usual caution was read over to the prisoners.’
      • ‘Perhaps she stands in front of them to prevent her mother or her kid from reading them aloud.’
      • ‘Standing before those who had come to read out their poems, she recollected images about poetry reading sessions.’
      • ‘How about nobody sings, nobody recites, nobody reads aloud, nobody speaks or tap dances or whatever it is the great media event people are planning.’
      read out, read aloud, say aloud, recite, declaim
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2[no object]Have the ability to look at and comprehend the meaning of written or printed matter.
      ‘only three of the girls could read and none could write’
      • ‘Anyway it was his own silly fault for not reading what I wrote.’
      • ‘Most lose or never develop the ability to read and write in their native language.’
      • ‘Most girls were not expected to use their schooling beyond the ability to read, so they didn't pay it much attention.’
      • ‘The ability to read and write, an experience of debate: these are essential to democracy.’
      • ‘She said the greater the levels of exposure, the greater the decline in reading and reasoning ability.’
      • ‘Her mother couldn't understand why she wanted to bury herself away in her bedroom, reading and writing and spending time on her own.’
      • ‘There are still people leaving school without the ability to read or write.’
      • ‘Lione quickly caught the attention of the royals with her ability to read and write.’
      • ‘We are also in the three top-performing countries on mathematical ability, reading, and literacy.’
      • ‘The world operates and revolves around reading and having the ability to comprehend what is read.’
      • ‘They're slow at it, and they never achieve full ability to read quickly and automatically.’
      • ‘By high school the typical boy is a year and a half behind the typical girl in reading and writing.’
      • ‘It is clear that higher education is a sector predicated upon the ability to read and write accurately.’
      • ‘Both tests will assess the listening, speaking, reading and writing abilities of students.’
      • ‘A stroke can affect your ability to read and write and even if you can talk, sometimes the words don't come out in the correct order.’
      • ‘Patients may quickly lose their ability to read or to see the faces of their grandchildren.’
      • ‘Until about a year ago, none of them could read and write; now they are studying mathematics.’
      • ‘Figures published last week showed alarming gaps in children's ability to read and write.’
      • ‘It seems somehow odd now to recall that none of these three could read or write, and that they did not speak English.’
      • ‘After all, if you stand in front of a room and tell everyone that no one reads what you write online, maybe the problem isn't with the users or the medium.’
    3. 1.3Habitually read (a particular newspaper or journal)
      • ‘I do read newspapers, and you can ask about my politics and I will tell you.’
      • ‘Ireland is no madder than England - as anyone who reads English tabloid newspapers will know.’
      • ‘In print advertising, you are looking at everybody who reads the magazine or newspaper.’
      • ‘Even the simple act of reading a newspaper is fraught for you.’
      • ‘Mr Nairn is described as living in Ireland, but clearly reads the Scottish newspapers with a diligence they do not always deserve and has a tendency to keep cuttings of congenial opinions.’
      • ‘You all want to read newspapers, you all want the products of the forest, somewhere the trees have to be grown.’
      • ‘In the absence of good Muslim newspapers Muslims are compelled to read other newspapers.’
      • ‘I don't think it will come as any great surprise to you that I've stopped reading newspapers.’
      • ‘After months in the fields helping the farmer tend cows, Martin started reading the newspapers.’
      • ‘He doesn't read the newspaper and is proud of it.’
      • ‘But then no one reads a newspaper in the same way as they do a magazine. Newspapers primarily inform.’
      • ‘She also enjoyed reading the newspapers and neighbours calling in for a cup of tea and chatting about old times.’
      • ‘He reads newspapers and law journals, and would like to improve Grahamstown's public amenities.’
      • ‘He read Jewish newspapers to learn the business of emigration to Palestine and other countries.’
      • ‘Right now, however, it is doubly hard to be a black woman, especially one who reads newspapers or, heaven forbid, happens to be remotely newsworthy.’
      • ‘She believes that teens in the rural Jamaica can help the industry by reading the newspapers and being aware of what is going on.’
      • ‘So we were reading the newspapers and scraping the barrels of our own experiences.’
      • ‘My college tenured several professors who instilled in students a sharp guilt about reading newspapers.’
      • ‘We read newspapers and we see certain schools with poor results every year.’
      • ‘Getting him to sit down at story time proved impossible but by the age of four he was reading newspapers.’
    4. 1.4Discover (information) by reading it in a written or printed source.
      ‘he was arrested yesterday—I read it in the paper’
      [no object] ‘I read about the course in a magazine’
      • ‘The Boks of today are more interested in writing history than reading about it.’
      • ‘It is not board level, because I have read in another submission there are no black women at board level.’
      • ‘The question that came up for me reading your information about SARS has to do with numbers of cases.’
      • ‘I read with interest of your concerns about the Greens' progressive drug policy.’
      • ‘It's appropriate to set the record straight so that anyone who read the information in your report knows the truth.’
      • ‘I read about it in a book but cant find real proof.’
    5. 1.5Discern (a fact, emotion, or quality) in someone's eyes or expression.
      ‘she looked down, terrified that he would read fear on her face’
      • ‘She could not read the emotions and raised her hot fingers to trace the outline of her cheek.’
      • ‘He had learned to read her moods and expressions well in the past year since they had married.’
      • ‘But Keren to his annoyance had a way of reading his moods and using them to his advantage.’
      • ‘She was reading his emotions, the ones that were bottled up inside without use.’
      • ‘Brent studied her face, he could read every emotion and thought she had at that moment.’
      • ‘Gregory reached out subconsciously with his mind, reading her feelings of horror and fear.’
      • ‘It's hard to read the feelings of others when you still haven't figured out your own.’
      • ‘They bored into mine and read my fears even before I had the courage to think them.’
      • ‘It's very hard at the moment to read that mood, but it's uncertain, slightly fearful, unconfident.’
      • ‘He just surveyed me with those dark eyes that seemed to read my emotions, and kept on driving.’
      • ‘He showed nothing in his jet black eyes, not that I was used to reading the emotions of birds.’
      • ‘But how can you read the clues as to what's going on in the boss's mind - or behind the scenes?’
      • ‘Even if they can't speak another's language, they can still read their emotions.’
      • ‘He could read the shame in Drake's voice and had a pretty fair idea of what had transpired.’
      • ‘Not for the first time, Monique was very glad that he could not read emotions like she could, or thoughts, like Lawrence.’
      • ‘Kyle can read the anguish as she moves on again, her unwillingness to let a good man die.’
      • ‘Sara sighed and lowered her head in order to prevent Gabe from reading the emotions, which leaked out of her tired eyes.’
      • ‘Sarah squinted her eyes in curiosity trying hard to read the information from his face.’
      • ‘I wanted to read every emotion going through his head through those eyes.’
      • ‘He laughed and looked at his plate, as if he was embarrassed for reading my emotions wrong.’
    6. 1.6Understand or interpret the nature or significance of.
      ‘he didn't dare look away, in case this was read as a sign of weakness’
      • ‘After your date reads the first clue, they will be on an exciting adventure to find you.’
      • ‘When the voices speak to him (or he reads the significance of Viking remains), they tell him how to get on with his poetry, not how the rest of the people from the North can get on with life.’
      • ‘I apologise to Jack Robertson for reading him the wrong way, although I am not sure I follow all of what he says.’
      • ‘What will people do then, being able to read their love lives, the stock market, war and peace all in the stars?’
      • ‘To do this they turned to techniques developed by Freudian psychoanalysts to read the inner desires of the new self.’
      • ‘Anyway, the point remains that Labour has abjectly failed to read the mood of the nation when it comes to tax cuts.’
      • ‘As such, the glories of nature can be read as harbingers of a future still arriving.’
      • ‘The evidence before me establishes that that is how it was read and understood by the Claimants, and in my view reasonably so.’
      • ‘The guy can still throw the ball, he understands how to read defenses and he can move the chains.’
      • ‘It will in all likelihood be a compromise Cabinet, that is, if I am reading the signs right.’
      • ‘The desert is an unforgiving place to those who cannot read its signs or understand its subtle warnings.’
      • ‘Perhaps I read it wrong, but I would strongly encourage you not to make blanket statements.’
      • ‘He was a man who was way ahead of his time and read the signs of the times that were later to be the basis of Vatican 2.’
      • ‘They stand either side of a pool of light, which can be read as iconographically significant.’
      • ‘Jesus wants those who read the signs of nature to ponder the real signs of the times.’
      • ‘This was also how many regimental commanders read the mood of their men.’
      • ‘Yet it seems doctors in many parts of the country are still failing to read the signs and make the correct diagnosis.’
      • ‘It's early days and I'm still open to be convinced that I'm reading Zapatero entirely wrong here.’
      • ‘They would see reading art by understanding the symbols as an easy way of interpreting culture.’
      • ‘We need to know the story being played out before us and, instinctively, start to read the clues.’
      interpret, take, take to mean, construe, see, explain, understand
      View synonyms
    7. 1.7[no object](of a piece of writing) convey a specified impression to the reader.
      ‘the brief note read like a cry for help’
      • ‘Unfortunately his piece reads like a university essay and wouldn't convince too many apart from those who want to believe his theory.’
      • ‘At times the writing reads like a legal argument, at other times like a therapeutic recovery manual.’
      • ‘I may have had comics at the front of my brain when writing that and perhaps comics are a little behind in terms of artistic exploration, but a lot of the time such writing reads like a cop-out or just plain lazy.’
      • ‘Although it's true that Fuller's reputation has never quite shaken off the hucksterism, and at times his writing reads like a very bad weblog, this was an extraordinary achievement.’
      • ‘It reads like the suicide note not of a country alone, but of an entire civilization.’
      • ‘The piece reads like it was edited by deleting large sections, and perhaps that's what happened.’
      • ‘The whole thing together makes a super piece which reads easily and educates us well.’
      • ‘This reads like unedited notes that accidentally found their way into a finished story.’
      • ‘Some of my mentees are working on their first extended piece of writing: if it reads well, that's fine by me.’
      • ‘That whole piece reads like a comedy sketch.’
      • ‘The text reads smoothly most of the time, yet occasionally an awkward construction captures the reader's attention.’
      • ‘While nobody wants to hinder a woman from becoming an engineer or scientist, it should be noted that the wording in this bill reads like a feminist playbook.’
      • ‘He circles possibilities, though he feels it won't matter how his resume reads, what color tie he wears or how cordial he is in the interview.’
      • ‘What's really sad is that his opinion piece reads like a parody.’
      • ‘Accompanied by a series of photographs of Harlem, the piece reads akin to the ramblings of a sentimental expatriate inundating new friends with photographs of a lost home.’
      • ‘In any case, the arbitration is going forward and his piece reads like he does not expect the organisation to emerge unscathed.’
      • ‘Most writing of this genre reads like scripted excerpts from therapy sessions, and is great for making the writer feel better.’
      • ‘At times these read as lecture notes; at others more like a dramatic monologue.’
      • ‘His writing reads like he's thinking aloud, calmly at your shoulder, always coming up with variations and tips.’
      • ‘Ende's poignant text reads like a journal of displacement and disillusion.’
    8. 1.8[no object, with complement](of a passage, text, or sign) contain or consist of specified words; have a certain wording.
      ‘the placard read “We want justice.”’
      • ‘A statement on the band's website reads: ‘We will be doing a press tour in July for Europe.’’
      • ‘Outside my niece's old primary school, a very prominent sign reads: ‘You are entering a gun-free zone.’’
      • ‘T-shirts are also available, the sign reads on.’
      • ‘The campaign features a series a posters showing empty parts of a house with street signs reading Bedroom, Stairs and Hallway.’
      • ‘At Larapinta School they've got a sign that reads STOP, THINK, DO.’
      • ‘Television is the only place where, as the sign reads in Claudia's apartment, ‘It really happened.’’
      • ‘The third floor sign reads: Floor 3: These men have highly paid jobs, love kids, are extremely good looking, and help with the housework.’
      • ‘After another hour of travel, we finally saw a sign reading that the town of Tol is five more miles away.’
      • ‘He said: ‘There is one sign which reads Taxis Only but that is covered with graffiti.’’
      • ‘One sign reads, ‘You've got to have balls to conquer the world.’’
      • ‘On the right-hand side, stark text reads thus: ‘What, we ask, might this trigger economically?’’
      • ‘Flowers left at the spot are accompanied by a note that reads: ‘You were my guru and always put a smile on my face.’’
      • ‘Just as we were leaving, the teashop put out a sign reading: Now baking: Yorkshire Rascals.’
      • ‘A label on one of the cans reads: ‘No matter if the product is used up or not, don't bump it.’
      • ‘Pay Here, reads the sign in the National Park's Grassington car park.’
      • ‘We were in a corridor with a door at either end, each door has a sign, one reads Undermountain, the other, Rappan Athuk.’
      • ‘The religious text reads, ‘Before thy throne I now appear’, and it seems a most appropriate conclusion to a fantastic life of music.’
      • ‘A passage in the book reads: ‘Now the Tree of Life extends from above downwards, and is the sun which illuminates all.’’
      • ‘One day, he finds the manuscript left for him with a note which reads: ‘Welcome to our ranks!’
      • ‘One passage reads: ‘I regard personal disloyalty as the worst crime of all, and have killed some guilty of it without a qualm.’’
    9. 1.9Used to indicate that a particular word in a text or passage is incorrect and that another should be substituted for it.
      ‘for madam read madman’
      • ‘For Scholes at domestic level, read van der Vaart and others in the national team.’
    10. 1.10[no object](of an actor) audition for (a part in a play or film)
      • ‘He has the uncanny ability to master the American accent which, along with his smile and look, helped set him apart from the other actors reading for the part.’
      • ‘He said no - but as he was leaving the audition he was asked to read for a show.’
      • ‘The rest of the roles are filled by auditions of invited actors reading for specific parts and some by general auditions.’
    11. 1.11(of a device) obtain data from (light or other input)
      • ‘If there is an outcropping of rock or tree branches in the way, the laser will read the target.’
      • ‘The processor reads video stream from system memory, decodes it and writes it to graphics card memory.’
      • ‘Like that of a phonograph record, the device's needle reads the bumps on the subject's surface, rising as it hits the peaks and dipping as it traces the valleys.’
      • ‘Make sure you are reading the light from the moon and not any near by street lights etc.’
      • ‘The camera reads the ambient lighting and then kicks out just enough flash to fill shadows but leave the picture natural-looking.’
      • ‘The blue laser is finer and can read data that is packed more tightly on a disc.’
      • ‘Another switch will open a system or door only when its sensor reads the eyeballs of the owner.’
      • ‘Even without a network, it should not be beyond the wit of man to knock up a system that machine reads the passport and checks it against a digitised watchlist.’
      • ‘Yes, like a supermarket scanner reads the bar code on a bag of potato chips.’
      • ‘You've got to orient your own hand exactly or the sensor won't read it correctly.’
      • ‘Additionally, a laser that reads a two-dimensional bar code placed on the device could be used to track the item.’
      • ‘The device can read the plates of passing cars, and check national records to see if the car or lorry is travelling untaxed.’
      • ‘It is the ballots that were not counted because the machines could not read them that are important.’
      • ‘Under ultra-violet light it glows and the DNA code can be read under a microscope.’
      • ‘Fluorescent tags stick to variable spots; a detector reads their order as they flow past.’
      • ‘The user simply assumes a natural firing grip with the finger alongside the holster, the scanner reads the fingerprint and releases the gun for use - all in the space of a second or less.’
      • ‘The leader, me, Gus, hands over the device that reads Val's signal to the two youngest members, along with two camels and basic survival supplies.’
      • ‘On the audio side, the device reads standard M3U, PLS and RMP playlists, along with MP3 and WMA files.’
      • ‘It registers the severity of the crash by reading the deceleration data from the airbag's sensor.’
      • ‘Simply press a button and a red laser reads the bar code of the desired item.’
  • 2Inspect and record the figure indicated on (a measuring instrument)

    ‘I've come to read the gas meter’
    • ‘How on earth do the supply companies know how much gas or electricity we've used if they haven't actually read the meter?’
    • ‘The power company now only reads the meter every three months.’
    • ‘I just had some woman come round to read my meter.’
    • ‘Dragging myself out of bed to answer it, I discovered it was the gas man, wanting to read the meter.’
    • ‘That approach eats up staff time because they must read meters at fields, Fagan said.’
    • ‘A few weeks ago the fellow who reads the gas meter told me: ‘I love your work’.’
    • ‘The flat ruler keeps the fish stable even in a rocking boat, and the measurement is easy to read.’
    • ‘She says that the guy had come to read the gas meter earlier and the woman was not home.’
    • ‘On that date we were not at home and did not know of anyone coming to read the meter.’
    • ‘The man is believed to have been operating in the area for some time and the victim of the assault had allowed him into her home in August to read her gas meter.’
    • ‘He said that he understood that people get nervous but he was only here to read the gas meter.’
    • ‘Crescenzio works as an inspector for the gas company: that is he reads meters.’
    • ‘In June, he called to read the meter at the girl's Basildon home while her mother was getting her ready for play school.’
    • ‘If you keep your PC on the floor like I do, that adds to the difficulty of reading the meter.’
    • ‘The 73 year old victim let a man into her home who claimed he needed to read the gas meter but she did not ask for identification at this stage.’
    1. 2.1[no object, with complement](of a measuring instrument) indicate a specified measurement or figure.
      ‘the thermometer read 0° C’
      • ‘When the speed gauge reads you're flying at 200 mph, it actually feels that way’
      • ‘Remove from the heat immediately and let it sit for another two minutes, until the thermometer reads 182 degrees.’
      • ‘Cook, stirring as little as possible, until the thermometer reads 300 F degrees.’
      • ‘The little green digits on the clock read one in the morning, and I am deathly tired.’
      • ‘Travis looked down at his indicator which read thirty two enemies in the immediate area.’
      • ‘The thermometer in my garden reads 39° C - is this a new record?’
      • ‘The thermometer outside the pharmacy reads 28 and as I squeeze off the first 100 shots of the day I quickly wet my t-shirt with sweat.’
      • ‘Every day we wake up without James, every time the clock reads a certain time, we know that's the time the building came down, you know.’
      • ‘For example, if the compass reads south as you face the office's front door, then the back part of the room is the north section, the left is east, and the right is west.’
      • ‘Linda said we were only stopped and out of the car for a few minutes at the most, and the time of the car's clock reads an extra 25 minutes of time.’
      • ‘Finding a station that pumps CNG can be a chore, especially when the gauge reads zero pressure!’
      • ‘The viral load measure can read as high as a million, depending on the limits of the lab test.’
      • ‘But when the clock at the front does light up, it reads the same time as the clock at the back did!’
      • ‘My vehicle was acting strangely with the gauges not reading the correct data.’
      • ‘The digital clock reads just shy of ten when his ice cream truck emerges from its underground parking, and at about 10: 30 he pulls up to the restaurant.’
      • ‘If the thermometer reads 98.6°F, then you don't have a fever and you can learn more about how heat makes other things expand.’
      • ‘In other words, it's more like petrol in a car: the engine will keep running just the same whether the petrol gauge reads a quarter, half, or full.’
      • ‘So if we ask what the quantum state is when the clock reads a certain time, there will be additional statistical uncertainties which grow with time.’
      • ‘And as if all this wasn't enough, the meter on the auto read the same as everyday.’
      • ‘It's Friday morning, and the clock reads nine fifteen.’
      indicate, register, record, display, show, have as a reading, measure
      View synonyms
  • 3British Study (an academic subject) at a university.

    ‘I'm reading English at Cambridge’
    [no object] ‘he went to Manchester to read for a BA in Economics’
    • ‘He then entered the University of Cambridge to read general studies before taking up physics.’
    • ‘He was reading for an MSc in Security Management at Leicester University.’
    • ‘As for me, I am entering my fourth year of university reading chemistry.’
    • ‘The former Leeds Girls High School pupil from Roundhay, is now reading Oriental Studies at Cambridge University.’
    • ‘Roberts went to university to read English and theatre studies, where her problem continued.’
    • ‘Mr Dyke was taken on by the university to read politics as a mature student in 1971 with one grade E A level.’
    • ‘Academically brilliant, she was due to go to Leeds University in September to read English and drama.’
    • ‘She became head prefect and had a place lined up at Bristol University to read English and drama.’
    • ‘By the time I got to university I was reading Marx and learning about how religion was the opium of the people.’
    • ‘Mr Hackett read history at Oxford University and had planned a career in teaching or lecturing.’
    • ‘She read microbiology at Leeds University and trained for the ministry on the Northern Ordination Course.’
    • ‘Initially he arrived at Newcastle on a gap year before proceeding to Durham University to read sports science.’
    • ‘Johnson's passion for wine began when he was at Cambridge University, where he read English.’
    • ‘She was educated at Island School in Hong Kong before coming to England to read law at University College London.’
    • ‘I did, however, read history at university, so I know what the historians say.’
    • ‘So the group has devised several strategies to try to increase the number of students reading physics at universities.’
    • ‘After attending Edinburgh Academy he went to Sussex University to read English.’
    • ‘The oldest, a rocket scientist, is now a father himself, the youngest is off to university to read medicine.’
    • ‘She grew up in Dublin and went to University College Dublin to read English and history.’
    • ‘She had decided to go into the museums sector while reading English Literature at university in Sheffield, her home city.’
    study, do, take
    View synonyms
  • 4(of a computer) copy, transfer, or interpret (data)

    • ‘If your computer is constantly reading from your hard disk, it's time to upgrade.’
    • ‘All it really means is that there is a script running that loads a web page, reads the HTML looking for certain attributes, and then reacts based on those attributes.’
    • ‘The time it takes to read a single byte at random is MUCH higher on a rambus system than on a DDR system.’
    • ‘Computers read data tracks first, but the data track has to be located at the end of the CD.’
    • ‘There is no hassle of manually decrypting a file before reading it or encrypting it again after modifying it.’
    • ‘The smartctl t command starts a self test that reads every byte on the disk.’
    • ‘Now, when I try to open attachments, I get an error message stating that the file cannot be read.’
    • ‘It also reads floppy disk, Zip, Jaz, MO, IDE, and SCSI drives.’
    • ‘It is often surprising how one drive might not read a DVD, but another has no problem with it.’
    • ‘A computer program reads the same scans the radiologist views, and the combined judgment of the computer and radiologist helps detect more cancers, the researchers found.’
    • ‘When Google reads a webpage, it views the text from the top left hand side of the page to the bottom right hand side of the page.’
    • ‘Depending on what the charge inside is, the computer reads the memory cell as a ‘1’ or ‘0’.’
    • ‘Once the connection is negotiated, it reads the client's HTTP request.’
    • ‘The fact that it makes no attempt to read the disks does give it some flexibility, though.’
    • ‘Then the system reads that information and casts objects at run time.’
    • ‘Once there was an additional message that the floppy disk could not be read either.’
    • ‘The program reads the information from your CD and imports it to your collection.’
    • ‘The software itself does not read information beyond its load location on the hard drive.’
    • ‘The video relay module reads a separate gigabit Ethernet network connection devoted to video.’
    • ‘It reads a GLADE user interface description and instantiates its corresponding objects.’
    1. 4.1Enter or extract (data) in an electronic storage device.
      ‘the most common way of reading a file into the system’
      • ‘If such a file exists, then the program reads it from disk and returns its content in an HTTP response.’
      • ‘Once a node reads data from storage, that data may remain in cache for some period of time, to accelerate future calls to that information.’
      • ‘The first copy is performed by the DMA engine, which reads file contents from the disk and stores them into a kernel address space buffer.’
      • ‘This reads GPS from your serial port and makes it available on a network port.’
      • ‘In order to fit more data on a disc, the limiting factor is the laser that reads the information off the disc.’
      • ‘The display reads information from the module and shows it using a total of ten LED digits.’
      • ‘By the same token, every value retrieval reads the information from disk.’
      • ‘The dæmon reads from a configuration file or can take command-line arguments.’
      • ‘It only works if you're already infected with an extractor that reads the code out of the images.’
      • ‘The network loader reads the network boot kernel sent from the server into local memory and transfers control to it.’
      • ‘The DOM interface reads the entire XML file into memory and provides functions for traversing the XML hierarchy and retrieving the information.’
      • ‘I have written a basic Perl program that reads a list of URLs from a file, goes to the URL, looks for some information and then writes that information to another file.’
      • ‘The DVD Player software reads it from the disk, which uses less power than the DVD drive.’
  • 5Hear and understand the words of (someone speaking on a radio transmitter)

    ‘“Do you read me? Over.”’
    • ‘Hello, Earth, Do You Read Me? How might the first intelligence from an extraterrestrial civilization be transmitted to earth?’
    • ‘Science fiction is not obsolete - do you read me?’


  • 1[usually in singular] A person's interpretation of something.

    ‘their read on the national situation may be correct’
    • ‘He hasn't had enough appearances this season to get a good read on his bat speed.’
    • ‘It seems that maybe they did have a good read on the will of the people after all.’
    • ‘Tomorrow night, our Paula Zahn will try to get a read on the undecided voters in that state.’
    • ‘I just need some help parsing out the signals, trying to get a clear read on this situation.’
    • ‘If we had inspectors in the country we could keep at least a limited read on what sort of progress he was making.’
    • ‘Tone and direction oscillate several times, making it hard to get a read on the series.’
    • ‘My read of the story tells me that this man is easily offended and a persistent complainer.’
    • ‘When he tried to get a read on my head I invited him to take his shopping elsewhere.’
    • ‘We watched for about twenty minutes trying to get a read on what the skies were doing.’
    • ‘You never quite get a read on who's being fake and who's being real.’
    1. 1.1informal [with adjective]A book considered in terms of its readability.
      ‘the book is a thoroughly entertaining read’
      • ‘Yet this subculture is engrossing enough to make this scholarly book a pretty good read.’
      • ‘It's an intoxicating read, and one which eventually develops a rhythm all its own.’
      • ‘And not only were these books wonderful reads, but the author's heart was always in the right place, with a special sympathy for the misfits and the emotionally wounded.’
      • ‘The man is a catalyst for what happens in the story: I suspect that his own backstory would make for a gripping read.’
      • ‘It's a great read, only suffering from a severe lack of relevant illustrations.’
      • ‘It is about a Scot in London by a Scot and it was a great read.’
      • ‘Let's just say this funny, thoughtful, intelligent and crazy book is one of the best all-purpose reads of 2003.’
      • ‘The cards feature local Ilkley characters and their favourite reads, the book they are currently reading and the first book they read through choice.’
      • ‘Apart from being a splendid read, Finola O'Kane's study may prove a useful corrective to that.’
      • ‘For a book of the life of a man for who not a lot happened, it is a compelling read.’
      • ‘Nevertheless, the wide variety within this collection makes it an enjoyable read.’
      • ‘When one of the narrators in a novel is the ghost of a girl who fell to her death in a dumb waiter, you know it's not going to be an ordinary read.’
      • ‘If that is the case, then he was wrong, for as an exploration of that war in its widest sense, it is a gripping read.’
      • ‘Her spiky style and confident handling of the source material creates a book which is more of a literary event than a quiet read.’
      • ‘Hard men making hard decisions is never going to make for an easy read.’
      • ‘I have recommended it to numerous people who have purchased it and agree that it is a staggering read!’
      • ‘Fitzgerald is one of hurling's most likeable characters and the book is an entertaining read.’
      • ‘Some books are okay reads after you have read everything else.’
      • ‘If the truth be told, many have not read it, claiming that they hardly see it as a beach read.’
      • ‘I pretty much had an extensive list going already, but I always like to hear what other people are reading and I was able to add some fun books to the suggested reads.’
    2. 1.2British A period or act of reading something.
      ‘I was having a quiet read of the newspaper’
      perusal, study, scan, scrutiny
      View synonyms


  • read between the lines

    • Look for or discover a meaning that is hidden or implied rather than explicitly stated.

      • ‘Her entry into undergraduate life hasn't been entirely easy; my reading between the lines of her anecdotes suggests one or two of her lecturers haven't responded well to the polite but complex questions she asks in class.’
      • ‘The interpreter reads between the lines of total and, partial knowledge, ever open to deeper understanding as it unfurls between them.’
      • ‘But increasingly we prisoners of war sensed, from our captors' demeanor and reading between the lines of propaganda broadcasts, a sinister force surfacing.’
      • ‘Under Stalin, and after, Soviet newspapers tended to exhort rather than inform, but perceptive readers could read between the lines.’
      • ‘One rather gathers, reading between the lines, that he dismissed Piggy as a fool.’
      • ‘Even so, one must read between the lines to discover the full impact on her of the long joyless union with Thomas.’
      • ‘I just assumed readers would read between the lines.’
      • ‘Instead, managers must learn to read between the lines or interpret subtle hints that a problem has developed.’
      • ‘He does not have to say what he means literally - he reads between the lines and so should you!’
      • ‘However, reading between the lines, one can discover criticism of army doctors and the army authorities in general, who above all wanted to maintain discipline and return soldiers to the battlefield.’
      infer from, interpolate from, assume from, attribute to
      View synonyms
  • read someone like a book

    • Understand someone's thoughts and motives clearly or easily.

      • ‘His mother - and she could read him like a book - had driven him to the barracks gates just seven hours earlier.’
      • ‘I never conferred with Alison about Faye so she left alone, however Amy could read me like a book and whenever I was feeling down she'd guess it.’
      • ‘I had to answer no, whilst wildly panicking that I could be read like a book -.’
      • ‘Then again, he had known me my whole life and he could read me like a book, what I was feeling, and what I was thinking.’
      • ‘He is the only person who understands me and can read me like a book without having to turn to page one.’
      • ‘Some of those have crowed before that they can read me like a book, that they're great with people and can get to the root of any problem.’
      • ‘How great it is to have a best friend who reads you like a book.’
      • ‘He stared at her, his piercing, penetrating gaze shooting right through her, reading her like a book.’
      • ‘You keep forgetting, we can read you like a book.’
      • ‘I know you higher-ups like to hide that sort of thing from us, but I can read you like a book, sir.’
      not be deceived by, not be taken in by, be wise to, get the measure of, have the measure of, read like a book, fathom, penetrate, realize, understand
      View synonyms
  • read someone's mind (or thoughts)

    • Discern what someone is thinking.

      • ‘Anyone claiming to be a mind reader has definitely not read my mind correctly on this one.’
      • ‘As if reading my mind, Rafael rises from the conference table and says, ‘I swear I don't have a mistress in Beijing.’’
      • ‘But I hate him because he always seems to be reading my mind and telling me what I think of myself.’
      • ‘When I ask him what sparked his needle-picking mission, he reads my mind.’
      • ‘It was like he was reading my mind and playing it back so I have to think it was a dream.’
      • ‘You think of a number, the computer reads your mind and guesses the number.’
      • ‘For perhaps, even as you may be watching a feat performed by a magician, he can be reading your mind.’
      • ‘A paralysed man in the US has become the first person to benefit from a brain chip that reads his mind.’
      • ‘Ms Lauren reads my mind and posts questions on a topic I've been thinking about recently, snobbery.’
      • ‘No, she doesn't have eyes in the back of her head, but she could be reading your mind.’
  • read my lips

    • informal Listen carefully (used to emphasize the importance of the speaker's words or the earnestness of their intent)

      • ‘David's taking off for Australia this Saturday, and we - read my lips - have NO MORE PHILOSOPHY CLASSES.’
      • ‘It imposes no more cost - read my lips, no more cost - on employers.’
      • ‘Hey read my lips,’ I said pointing to myself, ‘Friends.’’
      • ‘And anyway you say ‘the guys’ as though you are all great friends, stop, look at me and read my lips!’
      • ‘Where are the headlines that says, you know, read my lips, no more surplus?’
      • ‘Mr. President, in all due respect, Mr. President, read my lips: Our vote is not for sale.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • read something into

    • Attribute a meaning or significance to (something) that it may not in fact possess.

      ‘was I reading too much into his behavior?’
      • ‘I'm not claiming that; they're simply reading things into my argument that are not there.’
      • ‘Please, that is really reading a lot into something that is not that significant.’
      • ‘Plenty of people seem to be reading a lot into the Swedish rejection of the single currency.’
      • ‘I think that too much fact can be read into fiction.’
      • ‘It might be argued that it is far-fetched to read such significance into a political speech and a generalised endorsement of that by a linked organisation.’
      • ‘The plot behind the film is very thought provoking if you start reading the religious implications into it.’
      • ‘That's not going to stop me reading morals into it though.’
      • ‘I can remember becoming so paranoid that I was reading signs into everything.’
      • ‘Others were less gloomy, reading a cheering message into the fact that cricket was played at all.’
      • ‘She told officers that was why he went on TV and that he told her: ‘The press are just reading things into it.’’
      infer from, interpolate from, assume from, attribute to
      read between the lines, get hold of the wrong end of the stick
      View synonyms
  • read someone out of

    • Formally expel someone from (an organization or body)

      • ‘I am saying that younger Catholics continue to pack their faith on journeys to uncharted cultural and spiritual territories, and that we might wait before reading them out of the congregation.’
      • ‘You and everybody else were reading me out of this.’
      • ‘We cannot read them out of the definition, can we?’
      • ‘Some African Americans treated him as badly as Islamic fundamentalists treated Salman Rushdie, pretty much calling him a traitor and a heretic and reading him out of the race.’
      • ‘Insurgents Denounce Attempt to Read Them Out of Party as Unfair and Malicious.’
      • ‘Young man, who are you, and by what right do you think you can read me out of the church.’
  • read up on something

    • Acquire information about a particular subject by studying it intensively or systematically.

      ‘she spent the time reading up on antenatal care’
      • ‘You can get all of the information here, so go read up on it and sign up!’
      • ‘He wants parents to discuss drug issues with their children and read up on the subject before a swab sample is suggested.’
      • ‘Before taking it, I insist on reading up on the subject.’
      • ‘Minutes earlier he had made reference to ‘some journalists ‘who take the time to read up on their subjects.’’
      • ‘Well, I see you've been reading up on the subject.’
      • ‘What you need to do is to get in the right frame of mind by reading up on the subject.’
      • ‘With the grand opening of Hong Kong Disneyland, people must want to read up on the subject.’
      • ‘At the pre-natal stage both parents should read up on the subject and have a fair idea of what to expect once the child arrives.’
      • ‘I suggest that you read up on this subject, Joan.’
      • ‘That's right, I was reading up on a study done there.’
      study, get up
      bone up on
      mug up on, swot
      View synonyms


Old English rǣdan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch raden and German raten advise, guess Early senses included advise and interpret (a riddle or dream) (see rede).