American English

Definition of read verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they read
    he / she / it reads
    past simple read
    -ing form reading
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  1. 1[intransitive, transitive] (not used in the progressive tenses) to understand the meaning of written or printed words or symbols by looking at them She's still learning to read. Some children can read and write before they go to kindergarten. read something I can't read your writing. Can you read music? I'm trying to read the map.
  2. 2[intransitive, transitive] to go through written or printed words, etc. in silence or speaking them to other people I'm going to go to bed and read. read to somebody/yourself He liked reading to his grandchildren. read something to read a book/a magazine/the newspaper Have you read any Steinbeck (= novels by him)? He read the poem aloud. read something to somebody/yourself Go on—read it to us. read somebody something She read us a story. see also proofread
  3. 3[transitive] read something (not used in the progressive tenses) to understand the meaning of Braille symbols by touching them Soon she may need to read Braille.
  4. discover by reading
  5. 4[intransitive, transitive] (not used in the progressive tenses) to discover or find out about someone or something by reading read about/of something I read about the accident in the local paper. read that… I read that he had resigned. read something Don't believe everything you read on the Internet.
  6. someone's mind/thoughts
  7. 5[transitive] read someone's mind/thoughts to guess what someone else is thinking
  8. someone's lips
  9. 6[transitive] read someone's lips to look at the movements of someone's lips to learn what they are saying see also lip-read
  10. understand
  11. 7[transitive] to understand something in a particular way synonym interpret read something How do you read the present situation? read something as something Silence must not always be read as consent.
  12. of a piece of writing
  13. 8[transitive] + speech to have something written on it; to be written in a particular way The sign read “No admittance.” I changed the last paragraph. It now reads as follows…
  14. 9[intransitive] + adv./prep. to give a particular impression when read Generally, the article reads very well. The poem reads like (= sounds as if it is) a translation.
  15. measuring instrument
  16. 10[transitive] read something (of measuring instruments) to show a particular weight, pressure, etc. The thermometer reads 75 degrees.
  17. 11[transitive] read something to get information from a measuring instrument A man came to read the gas meter.
  18. hear
  19. 12[transitive] read somebody to hear and understand someone speaking on a radio set “Do you read me?” “I'm reading you loud and clear.”
  20. replace word
  21. 13[transitive] read A for B read B as A to replace one word, etc. with another when correcting a text For “madam” in line 3 read “madman.”
  22. computing
  23. 14[transitive] (of a computer or the person using it) to take information from a disk etc. read something My computer can't read the attachment you sent. read something into something to read a file into a computer
  24. Idioms
    read between the lines
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    to look for or discover a meaning in something that is not openly stated Reading between the lines, I think Christy needs money.
    read somebody like a book
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    to understand easily what someone is thinking or feeling
    read my lips (informal)
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    used to tell someone to listen carefully to what you are saying Read my lips: no new taxes (= I promise there will be no new taxes).
    read (somebody) the riot act
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    to tell someone with force that they must not do something
    Phrasal Verbsread somethingbackread something into somethingread onread somethingoutread somethingover/throughread up on somebody/something
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: read