From late Middle English scanne (“to mark off verse to show metrical structure”), from earlier scanden, from Late Latin scandere (“to scan verse”), from Classical Latin scandō (“I climb, rise, mount”), from Proto-Indo-European *skend- (“to jump, dart, climb, scale, scan”).
scan (third-person singular simple present scans, present participle scanning, simple past and past participle scanned)
- (transitive) To examine sequentially, carefully, or critically; to scrutinize; to behold closely. [from 16th C.]
She scanned the passage carefully but could not find what she was looking for.
- 1927-29, M.K. Gandhi, The Story of My Experiments with Truth, translated 1940 by Mahadev Desai, Part I, Chapter ii:
- Yet the incident did not in the least diminish my respect for my teacher. I was by nature blind to the faults of elders. Later I came to know of many other failings of this teacher, but my regard for him remained the same. For I had learnt to carry out the orders of elders, not to scan their actions.
2020 December 2, Paul Bigland, “My weirdest and wackiest Rover yet”, in Rail, page 68: As the 1857 to Manchester Piccadilly rolls in, I scan the windows and realise there are plenty of spare seats, so I hop aboard. The train is a '221'+'220' combo to allow for social distancing - a luxury on an XC train as normally you're playing sardines, so I make the most of it.
- (transitive) To look about for; to look over quickly. [from 19th C.]
He scanned the horizon.
- (computing, transitive) To inspect, analyse or go over, often to find something.
to scan the hard drive for errors
- (computing, transitive) To perform lexical analysis; to tokenize.
- (computing, medicine, transitive) To create an image of something with the use of a scanner.
to scan a photograph
Pencil drawings don't scan very well.
- (computing, transitive) To read with an electronic device.
to scan a barcode
to scan a QR code
- (obsolete, transitive, originally) To mount by steps; to go through with step by step.
1816, Lord Byron, “Canto III”, in Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. Canto the Third, London: Printed for John Murray, […], →OCLC, stanza LXIII, page 36:
But ere these matchless heights I dare to scan, / There is a spot should not be pass'd in vain,— / Morat ! the proud, the patriot field ! where man / May gaze on ghastly trophies of the slain, […]
- (poetry, transitive) To read or mark so as to show a specific metre. [from 14th C.]
to scan verse
- (intransitive) To conform to a metrical structure.
1998, Milton Acorn, Cedric Smith, edited by James Deahl, The Road to Charlottetown: A Play, UnMon Northland:
You're right, sir, it doesn't scan very well in the English, but in the Gaelic it's sheer poetry. Have you the Gaelic?
to examine sequentially, carefully, or critically; to scrutinize; to behold closely
- Arabic: مَحَص (maḥaṣ), تَمَعَن (tamaʕan)
- Egyptian Arabic: درس (daras)
- Bulgarian: изучавам (bg) (izučavam)
- Estonian: otsima (et)
- Finnish: tutkia pala palalta, tutkia järjestelmällisesti, kammata (fi) (figuratively)
- French: scanner (fr), fouiller (fr)
- Greek: εξετάζω (el) (exetázo), διερευνώ (el) (dierevnó)
- Hebrew: סָרַק (he) (saráq)
- Hungarian: végigpásztáz (hu), átvizsgál (hu), végignéz (hu), szemügyre vesz (hu)
- Italian: scrutare (it)
- Latin: percurro
- Maori: karapa, tirotiro, matawai
- Norman: scanner
- Portuguese: varrer (pt)
- Romanian: a baleia imaginea, explora (ro), scana (ro), sonda (ro)
- Russian: разгля́дывать (ru) (razgljádyvatʹ)
- Spanish: escrutar (es)
- Swedish: avsöka, genomsöka (sv)
to look about for; to look over quickly
computing: to inspect, analyse or go over, often to find something
create an image of something with the use of a scanner
- Arabic: مَسَح ضَوْئِيًا (masaḥ ḍawʔiyan)
- Egyptian Arabic: سكن (saken), اسكان (eskaan)
- Armenian: սկանավորել (skanavorel)
- Bulgarian: сканирам (skaniram)
- Catalan: escanejar (ca)
- Mandarin: 掃描／扫描 (zh) (sǎomiáo)
- Czech: skenovat (cs)
- Dutch: scannen (nl)
- Esperanto: skani
- Estonian: skännima
- Finnish: skannata (fi), lukea
- French: scanner (fr), numériser (fr) (digital scanning), scannériser (fr)
- German: scannen (de), abtasten (de), einscannen (de)
- Greek: σαρώνω (el) (saróno)
- Hebrew: סָרַק (he) (saráq)
- Hungarian: szkennel (hu), beszkennel (hu), beolvas (hu)
- Icelandic: skanna (is)
- Ido: skanar (io)
- Indonesian: memindai (id)
- Italian: scannerizzare (it)
- Japanese: スキャンする (sukyan-surú)
- Korean: 스캔하다 (seukaenhada)
- Malay: mengimbas
- Maltese: skannja, skennja
- Maori: matawai, karapa
- Norman: scanner
- Polish: skanować (pl) impf, zeskanować (pl) pf
- Portuguese: escanear (pt) (Brazil), digitalizar (pt)
- Romanian: scana (ro), explora (ro), numeriza, scaneriza
- Russian: скани́ровать (ru) (skanírovatʹ)
- Serbo-Croatian: skenirati (sh)
- Slovak: skenovať
- Spanish: escanear (es)
- Swedish: läsa in (en bild), skanna (sv)
- Tagalog: iscan
- Thai: สแกน (sà-gɛɛn), กราดภาพ (th) (gràat-pâap)
- Turkish: taramak (tr), taratmak (tr)
- Ukrainian: сканува́ти impf (skanuváty), відсканува́ти pf (vidskanuváty)
to read with an electronic device
to read or mark so as to show a specific metre
to conform to a metrical structure
scan (plural scans)
- Close investigation. [from 1700s]
- (computing) An instance of scanning.
The operators vacated the room during the scan.
- (computing) The result or output of a scanning process.
The doctors looked at the scans and made a diagnosis.
result or output of a scanning process
- Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “scan”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.
- “scan”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.
- “scan”, in The Century Dictionary […], New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911, →OCLC.
- “scan”, in OneLook Dictionary Search.