Language: Old English
Origin: rædan


1 verb
read1 S1 W1 past tense and past participle read


[intransitive and transitive] to look at written words and understand what they mean:
I can't read your writing.
She picked up the letter and read it.
Read the instructions carefully before you start.
children who are just learning to read and write
Her books are quite widely read (=read by a lot of people).
When I was young, I read every one of his books from cover to cover. (=read all of something because you are very interested )

find information

[intransitive,transitive not in progressive] to find out information from books, newspapers etc:
You can't believe everything you read in the papers.
read about
Did you read about what happened to that guy in Florida?
read of
I was shocked when I read of his death.
read (that)
I read last week that the disease is on the increase.

read and speak

[intransitive and transitive] to say the words in a book, newspaper etc so that people can hear them
read somebody something
Daddy, will you read me a story?
read (something) to somebody
Our mother reads to us every evening.
Teachers should read more poetry to children.
He glanced at the letter and began to read it aloud.

music/maps etc

[transitive] to look at signs or pictures and understand what they mean:
He plays the violin very well but can't actually read music.
Are you any good at map reading?


[transitive] technicalTD if a computer can read a disk, it can take the information that is on the disk and put it into its memory

understand something in a particular way

[transitive always + adverb/preposition] to understand a situation, remark etc in one of several possible ways [= interpret]:
I wasn't sure how to read his silence.
read something as something
She shook her head, and I read this as a refusal.
The poem can be read as a protest against war.
read something well/accurately (=understand something correctly)
He had accurately read the mood of the nation.

have words on

[transitive not in progressive] used to say what words are on a sign, in a letter etc [= say]:
A sign on the outer door read: 'No Entry'.

style of writing

[intransitive] if something reads well, badly etc, it has been written well, badly etc:
I think in general the report reads well.

read something as/for something

to replace one word or number with another one, usually with the correct one:
Please read £50 as £15.
For 'November' (=instead of November) on line 6, read 'September'.


a) TM to look at the number or amount shown on a measuring instrument:
Someone should be coming to read the gas meter.
b) TM if a measuring instrument reads a particular number, it shows that number:
The thermometer read 46 degrees.

at university

[intransitive and transitive] British EnglishSEC to study a subject at a university:
I read history at Cambridge.
read for
He wants to read for a law degree.

take it as read (that)

especially British English to feel certain that something is true although no one has told you it is true [= assume]:
You can take it as read that we will support the project.

take something as read

to accept that a report or statement is correct without reading it or discussing it:
We'll take the secretary's report as read.

read between the lines

to guess someone's real feelings from something they say or write, when they do not tell you directly:
Reading between the lines, I'd say Robert's not very happy.

read somebody's mind/thoughts

to guess what someone else is thinking:
'Want some coffee?' 'You read my mind.'

can read somebody like a book

if you can read someone like a book, you know them so well that you immediately know what they are thinking or feeling

read somebody's palm

RO to look carefully at someone's hand, in order to find out about their future

read somebody's lips

to understand what someone is saying by watching the way their lips move. People who cannot hear do this. lip-read

read my lips

spoken used to tell someone that you really mean what you are saying:
Read my lips: I will not let you down.

do you read me?

spoken used to ask someone whether they can hear you when you are speaking to them by radio


someone who is well-read has read a lot of books and knows a lot about many subjects:
She is intelligent and extremely well-read.

➔ read (somebody) the riot act

at riot1 (4)
to read parts of something: dip into, flick/leaf through, browse through

to read something quickly: skim, scan

to read something carefully: pore over, scrutinize

to read something long and boring: plough through British English/plow through American English, wade through

clear enough to read: legible

not clear enough to read: illegible

someone who is unable to read: illiterate

someone who likes reading very much: bookworm

read something ↔ back

phrasal verb
to read out loud something that you have just written down
read something ↔ back to
Can you read that last bit back to me?

read for something

phrasal verb
APT to say some of the words that are said by a particular character in a play, as a test of your ability to act

read something into something

phrasal verb
to think that a situation, action etc has a meaning or importance that it does not really have:
It was only a casual remark. I think you're reading too much into it.

read something ↔ out

phrasal verb
to read and say words that are written down, so that people can hear:
Why don't you read out the name of the winner?
read something ↔ out to
He read the last few sentences out to me.

read something ↔ through/over

phrasal verb
to read something carefully from beginning to end in order to check details or find mistakes [= check over/through]:
Read the contract over carefully before you sign it.
Spend a couple of minutes just reading through your essay.

read up on something

phrasal verb
to read a lot about something because you will need to know about it:
You'll enjoy traveling more if you read up on the history of the countries you'll be visiting.

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