Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Peruse

The word peruse makes me angry.

Sometimes--on rare occasions, of course--I will discover that I have been using a word incorrectly. I might think to use it in a sentence, but then feel compelled to check the dictionary--just in case. And voila, indeed it is not the word I had intended. And a sense of relief and satisfaction comes over me as I am now in a position to find a word better suited for my intentions. And usually it is not long before said word is in hand.

And then there is peruse.

I enjoy using the word peruse. I find it a pleasant, playful sort of word. And yet it does not mean what my mind insists that it means. When I think of perusing, I think of a casual meandering. Well, browsing, really. Only I like the word perusing so much more than browsing that I cannot bring myself to use this "b" word in its stead.

Definition of peruse:
read thoroughly or carefully; examine carefully at length

I read this, and still my mind just will not accept it. For some reason, it is firmly established in my heart of hearts that peruse is a care-free, light-hearted activity. And I become torn between beauty and truth. It is a pleasant word, but it is not the correct word!--even if my mind says otherwise. What is a girl to do! Surely there must be another word that carries this meaning; something at least a bit more palatable than browsing. Sheesh.

So what do I do? I check the Thesaurus. Perhaps an antonym for peruse will work. But what do I find there but a horrible mish-mashing of so-called "synonyms." Both scrutinize and glance through are listed as synonyms for this word peruse. It almost makes me feel like abandoning the whole dictionary/thesaurus system altogether.

3 Comments:

At 7/21/2007 7:15 AM , Anonymous Jenn B said...

oh no! how have i gone my whole life not knowing this real definition! I so very much did not believe you that I just checked for myself...man. I definitely thought peruse meant to aimlessly skim reading material. Or at least just read slowly but not taking any deep interest in the material. this is very sad. I basically have just lost a vocabulary word.

 
At 7/24/2007 1:02 AM , Blogger A Living Epistle said...

i love peruuusing through your blog ;)

 
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