I’m confused (read: ?)

I’ve been trying to figure out what exatly it means when someone writes “(read:_____)”. Does anyone know? I can’t find an explanation anywhere online. Also, WHY is it used? Is it “proper”, or just slang? Here’s an example: “…the purpose of this kind of wild character analysis was to establish a psychogenic or functional cause (read: explanation) for Parkinson’s disease…” To me it seems like the writer is trying to better define ‘functional cause’. Why didn’t they just write ‘explanation’ in the first place (if that indeed was the purpse)?

About shenpa warrior

"Patience is not learned in safety." View all posts by shenpa warrior

3 responses to “I’m confused (read: ?)

  • Anonymous

    “Read: something” is similar to “i.e., something”, which for both cases means “that is” (not to be confused with “e.g.”, which means “for example”) .

    I posit that “read:something” came to be by way of dumbing down “i.e.”; who knows Latin any more? Or, perhaps it is supposed to be utilized in defining terms and phrases, as you observed.

    Why use it? Per your example, by using the vernancular that is probably common within that field, the author has defined it for the reader so that when it is mentioned later in the text, the reader knows the intended meaning. Or, in the case of study materials, the student will learn the terminology used within the subject of study.


  • adam

    Thanks. That makes more sense now. Aside from the example I gave, I have seen people use it in blogs in a kind of slang manner, like “that guy wasn’t too smart (read: idiot).”

  • ashergrey

    I think the online usage you mention is typically meant in a more ironic or sarcastic sense, in that the writer is explaining something that’s already plainly obvious.

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