Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “scan”

scan

verb [I/T]    /skæn/ (-nn-)
to examine something carefully: [I] This technique is used to scan for defective genes. If an image or text on paper is scanned into a computer, it is changed into electronic information by a special device: [T] A little hand-held device beeps as soon as it has scanned a bar code. If you scan a text you read it quickly: [T] I scanned a few pages of the book and thought it looked interesting.
(Definition of scan verb from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of scan

Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Reading, but you might be interested in these topics from the Reading & writing topic area:

More American English definitions for “scan”

Definitions of “scan” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

neighbourly

friendly or helpful

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More