Mar 30th 2010 Fancy words
In case you didn’t see it, John from B.C. commented yesterday:
“Peruse” is an odd word–the dictionary definition is “to read through with thoroughness or care, or to survey or examine in detail,” but for some reason it has been misused for so long (not picking on you Jimmy!) that it is now taken almost exclusively to mean “glance over or skim through.”
Darned if John isn’t right. I checked, and dictionary.com, upon which I rely heavily, backs him up completely. However, 66 percent of the members on their Usage Board considered my usage of “peruse” to be incorrect in 1988, while 58 percent considered it incorrect when surveyed in 1999. If I’m stubborn long enough, I’m going to be correct. That’s my usual modus operandi, anyway.