Language does change, usually over time and usually because of common usage. Many people think “peruse” means to glance at, skim, or read quickly. In fact, it means to study carefully, to read intently. Perusing isn’t limited to reading material; you can also peruse a work of art.
I wonder how long it will be before the primary dictionary meaning of “peruse” will say “to skim or read quickly.” Maybe next week—but not yet.
These three everyday words are frequently used incorrectly. Their true meanings may surprise you.
1. ENORMITY: Does not imply gigantic size. It means extreme evil, as in “the enormity of the murder of Abraham Lincoln.”
2. NAUSEOUS: Doesn’t mean to feel as if you are going to vomit; it means to cause that feeling in others. If you are about to toss your cookies, you are NAUSEATED.
3. PERUSE: Does not mean to read quickly, to skim. It means to look over something very carefully.