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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, “The First Book”, in Paradise Regain’d. A Poem. In IV Books. To which is Added, Samson Agonistes, London: [] J. M[acock] for John Starkey [], OCLC 228732398, page 4:
      Thenceforth I thought thee worth my nearer view / And narrower scrutiny.
    • 1834, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Francesca Carrara, volume 2, page 189:
      So much for the occupant of the britscha, who waits, as all the horses are out at a ball or a 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.
    • 1960 January, “Talking of Trains: N.& W.-Virginian merger”, in Trains Illustrated, page 9:
      A number of other mergers of U.S. railroads are mooted, but the I.C.C. [Interstate Commerce Commission] has made it clear that its assent to the N.& W.-Virginian proposal, which was unopposed by competitors or stockholders, should not be taken as an indication that others will swiftly pass its scrutiny.
  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.
    • 1872, William Dougal Christie, The Ballot, and Corruption and Expenditure at Elections:
      The Returning Officer on the day appointed to make a scrutiny of the poll


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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.

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