• Read


    Noun, and verb's present tense
    • UK enPR: rēd, IPA: /ɹiːd/
    • Rhymes: -iːd
    • US enPR: rēd, IPA: /ɹid/
    • Homophones: reed
    Verb's past tense and past participle
    • enPR: rĕd, IPA: /ɹɛd/
    • Rhymes: -ɛd
    • Homophones: red, redd


    From Middle English reden, from Old English rǣdan ("to counsel, advise, consult; interpret, read"), from Proto-Germanic *rēdaną ("advise, counsel"). Cognate with Scots rede, red ("to advise, counsel, decipher, read"), Saterland Frisian räide ("to advise, counsel"), West Frisian riede ("to advise, counsel"), Dutch raden ("to advise, counsel, rede"), German raten ("to advise; guess"), Danish råde ("to advise"), Swedish råda ("to advise, counsel"). The development from ‘advise, interpret’ to ‘interpret letters, read’ is unique to English. Compare rede.

    Full definition of read


    1. (obsolete) To think, believe; to consider (that).
    2. (transitive or intransitive) To look at and interpret letters or other information that is written.
      have you read this book?;  he doesn’t like to read
    3. (transitive or intransitive) To speak aloud words or other information that is written. Often construed with a to phrase or an indirect object.
      He read us a passage from his new book.
      All right, class, who wants to read next?
      • 1898, Winston Churchill, The Celebrity Chapter 1, In the old days, to my commonplace and unobserving mind, he gave no evidences of genius whatsoever. He never read me any of his manuscripts, , and therefore my lack of detection of his promise may in some degree be pardoned.
      • 1922, Ben Travers, A Cuckoo in the Nest Chapter 1, He read the letter aloud. Sophia listened with the studied air of one for whom, even in these days, a title possessed some surreptitious allurement.
    4. (transitive) To interpret or infer a meaning, significance, thought, intention, etc.
      She read my mind and promptly rose to get me a glass of water.
      I can read his feelings in his face.
    5. To consist of certain text.
      On the door hung a sign that read "No admittance".
      The passage reads differently in the earlier manuscripts.
    6. (intransitive) Of text, etc., to be interpreted or read in a particular way.
      Arabic reads right to left.
      That sentence reads strangely.
    7. (transitive) To substitute (a corrected piece of text in place of an erroneous one); used to introduce an emendation of a text.
      • 1832, John Lemprière et al., Bibliotheca classica, Seventh Edition, W. E. Dean, page 263:In Ab Urbe Condita (book), it is nearly certain that for Pylleon we should read Pteleon, as this place is mentioned in connection with Antron.
    8. (informal, usually ironic) Used after a euphemism to introduce the intended, more blunt meaning of a term.
      • 2009, Suzee Vlk et al., The GRE Test for Dummies, Sixth Edition, Wiley Publishing, ISBN 978-0-470-00919-2, page 191:Eliminate illogical (read: stupid) answer choices.
    9. (transitive, telecommunications) To be able to hear what another person is saying over a radio connection.
      Do you read me?
    10. (transitive, British) To make a special study of, as by perusing textbooks.
      I am reading theology at university.
    11. (computing, transitive) To fetch data from (a storage medium, etc.).to read a hard disk; to read a port; to read the keyboard
    12. (obsolete) To advise; to counsel. See rede.
      • William TyndaleTherefore, I read thee, get to God's word, and thereby try all doctrine.
    13. (obsolete) To tell; to declare; to recite.
    14. (transitive, transgenderism) To recognise (someone) as being transgender.
      Every time I go outside, I worry that someone will read me.
    15. read

      (past of read)

    Usage notes

    When "read" is used transitively with an author's name as the object, it generally means "to look at writing(s) by (the specified person)" (rather than "to recognise (the specified person) as transgender"). Example: "I am going to read Milton before I read His Dark Materials, so I know what His Dark Materials is responding to."



    • (to be recognised as transgender) pass



    (plural reads)
    1. A reading or an act of reading, especially an actor's part of a play.
      • FurnivallOne newswoman here lets magazines for a penny a read.
      • Philip Larkin, Self's the ManAnd when he finishes supper
        Planning to have a read at the evening paper
        It's Put a screw in this wall
        He has no time at all...
      • 2006, MySQL administrator's guide and language reference (page 393)In other words, the system can do 1200 reads per second with no writes, the average write is twice as slow as the average read, and the relationship is linear.

    Derived terms

    Terms derived from the noun "read"


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