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From Middle English scrutiny, from Medieval Latin scrūtinium (a search, an inquiry), from Vulgar Latin scrūtor (to search or examine thoroughly), of uncertain origin. Possibly from Late Latin scrūta (rubbish, broken trash); or of Germanic origin, related to Old English scrūtnung (examination, investigation, inquiry, search), from scrūtnian, scrūdnian (to examine carefully, scrutinize, consider, investigate), from Proto-Germanic *skrudōną, *skruþōną (to search, examine), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)krewt- (to cut). Compare Old High German skrodōn, scrutōn, scrutilōn (to research, explore), Old High German scrod (a search, scrutiny), Old English scrēadian (to shred, cut up, cut off, peel, pare, prune). More at shred.


  • IPA(key): /ˈskɹuː.tɪ.ni/
  • Hyphenation: scru‧ti‧ny
  • (file)


scrutiny (usually uncountable, plural scrutinies)

  1. Intense study of someone or something.
    • 1671, John Milton, “Book the Fourth”, in Paradise Regain’d. A Poem. In IV Books. To which is Added, Samson Agonistes, London: Printed by J. M[acock] for John Starkey [], OCLC 228732398:
      Thenceforth I thought thee worth my nearer view / And narrower scrutiny.
    • 2011, Patrick Spedding; James Lambert, “Fanny Hill, Lord Fanny, and the Myth of Metonymy”, in Studies in Philology, volume 108, number 1, page 109:
      Certainly, upon closer scrutiny, it becomes apparent that current usage rather than eighteenth-century usage is the basis of the interpretation of fanny as a sexual term.
  2. Thorough inspection of a situation or a case.
  3. An examination of catechumens, in the last week of Lent, who were to receive baptism on Easter Day.
  4. A ticket, or little paper billet, on which a vote is written.
  5. An examination by a committee of the votes given at an election, for the purpose of correcting the poll.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Brande & C to this entry?)


Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


scrutiny (third-person singular simple present scrutinies, present participle scrutinying, simple past and past participle scrutinied)

  1. (obsolete, rare) To scrutinize.

Further reading[edit]