• Carmen Milligan

Wednesday Word: Peruse



VERB formal

  1. read (something), typically in a thorough or careful way.

  2. examine carefully or at length.

I have found that some people use this word as a synonym for "scan", but this is actually not completely correct. To scan a document indicates a quick look or cursory glance at the material. However, to peruse the document is to spend time with the text.

Some love how the English language is so fluid and dynamic. However, I find that I feel more comfort in a set of fairly solid definitions, usages, and preferences. That's why last week's word, "nonplussed", vexes me, with it's two diametrically opposing definitions. That's why I want people to use "I" and "me" correctly, and have even created a PowerPoint presentation to assist those in need of a refresher. That's why I consider myself a bit pedantic, even though that term has an overall negative connotation.

The next time you are going to "peruse" something, please remember that you are not merely asking for a number. You are doing the equivalent of a dinner and a movie.

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