- 1[transitive] to look at every part of something carefully, especially because you are looking for a particular thing or person synonym scrutinize scan something for something He scanned the horizon for any sign of land. scan something She scanned his face anxiously.
- 2[transitive, intransitive] to look quickly but not very carefully at a document, etc. scan something (for something) I scanned the list quickly for my name. scan through something (for something) She scanned through the newspaper over breakfast.
- 3[transitive] scan something to get an image of an object, a part of somebody’s body, etc. on a computer by passing X-rays, ultrasound waves or electromagnetic waves over it in a special machine Their brains are scanned so that researchers can monitor the progress of the disease. See related entries: Operations, Medical examinations
- 4[transitive] scan something (of a light, radar, etc.) to pass across an area Concealed video cameras scan every part of the compound.
- 5[intransitive, transitive] scan (something) (computing) (of a program) to examine a computer program or document in order to look for a virus This software is designed to scan all new files for viruses.
- 6[transitive] scan something (computing) to pass light over a picture or document using a scanner in order to copy it and put it in the memory of a computer How do I scan a photo and attach it to an email?
- 7 [intransitive] (of poetry) to have a regular rhythm according to fixed rules This line doesn't scan. Word Origin late Middle English (as a verb in sense (5)): from Latin scandere
BrE BrE//skæn//; NAmE NAmE//skæn//Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they scan
BrE BrE//skæn//; NAmE NAmE//skæn//he / she / it scans
BrE BrE//skænz//; NAmE NAmE//skænz//past simple scanned
BrE BrE//skænd//; NAmE NAmE//skænd//past participle scanned
BrE BrE//skænd//; NAmE NAmE//skænd//-ing form scanning
BrE BrE//ˈskænɪŋ//; NAmE NAmE//ˈskænɪŋ//Operations, Medical examinations