read / rēd/ • v. (past read / red/ ) [tr.] 1. look 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| [intr.] I'll go to bed and read for a while. ∎ speak (the written or printed matter that one is reading) aloud, typically to another person: the charges against him were read out | his mother read him a bedtime story | [intr.] I'll read to you if you like. ∎ [intr.] 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. ∎ habitually read (a particular newspaper or journal). ∎ discover (information) by reading it in a written or printed source: he was arrested yesterday—I read it in the paper| [intr.] I read about the course in a magazine. ∎ [as adj.] (read) (of a person) knowledgeable and informed as a result of extensive reading: Ada was well read in French and German literature. ∎ discern (a fact, emotion, or quality) in someone's eyes or expression: she looked down, terrified that he would read fear on her face. ∎ understand or interpret the nature or significance of: he didn't dare look away, in case this was read as a sign of weakness. ∎ [intr.] (of a piece of writing) convey a specified impression to the reader: the brief note read like a cry for help. ∎ [intr.] (of a passage, text, or sign) contain or consist of specified words; have a certain wording: the placard read “We want justice.” ∎ used 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. ∎ proofread (written or typeset material). ∎ [intr.] (read for) (of an actor) audition for (a part in a play or film). ∎ (of a device) obtain data from (light or other input).2. inspect and record the figure indicated on (a measuring instrument): I've come to read the gas meter. ∎ [intr.] (of such an instrument) indicate a specified measurement or figure: the thermometer read 0° C.3. chiefly Brit. study (an academic subject) at a university: I'm reading English at Cambridge | [intr.] he went to Manchester to read for a BA in Economics. 4. (of a computer) copy or transfer (data). ∎ [tr.] enter or extract (data) in an electronic storage device: the commonest way of reading a file into the system.5. hear and understand the words of (someone speaking on a radio transmitter): “Do you read me? Over.” ∎ interpret the words formed by (a speaking person's lips) by watching rather than listening.• n. [usu. in sing.] a person's interpretation of something: their read on the national situation may be correct. ∎ inf. a book considered in terms of its readability: the book is a thoroughly entertaining read.PHRASES: read between the lines look for or discover a meaning that is hidden or implied rather than explicitly stated.read someone like a book understand someone's thoughts and motives clearly or easily.read someone's mind (or thoughts) discern what someone is thinking.read my lips inf. listen carefully (used to emphasize the importance of the speaker's words or the earnestness of their intent).PHRASAL VERBS: read something back read a message or piece of writing aloud so that its accuracy can be checked.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?read someone out of formally expel someone from (an organization or body).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.ORIGIN: 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).
The orig. senses of the Gmc. vb. are those of taking or giving counsel, taking charge, controlling; the sense of considering or explaining something secret or mysterious is common to several langs., but that of interpreting written symbols is peculiar to OE., and ON. (perh. through OE. infl.).
Hence reader (-ER1) one who reads OE.; reading-book XVIII. reading (-ING1) OE.
read my lips in US politics, a catch-phrase promoted during the Republican presidential campaign of George Bush (1924– ) to emphasize commitment to lower taxes; accepting the Republican nomination in August 1988, Bush said, ‘Read my lips: no new taxes’.