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1. The reading aloud of a script or performative text, as for television, theater, or film, with little or no rehearsal, practice, or study in advance. It's always a little awkward doing a cold reading for the first time, because you know things will be much different once everyone has had a chance to get familiar with the script.
2. A technique or series of techniques used by paranormal performers (such as mentalists, psychics, spiritual mediums, fortune tellers, etc.) in which the appearance of clairvoyance is achieved by gleaning personal details about a subject through the use of intuition, broad questions, and educated guesses and assumptions. It's amazing how convincing psychics can seem when all they're doing is giving a cold reading of people in the audience. I can't believe you fell for that fortune teller nonsense—it was just a cold reading!
read the small print
To make oneself aware of the specific terms, conditions, restrictions, limitations, etc., of an agreement, contract, or other document (often printed in very small type and thus easy to go unnoticed). The terms of the loan look pretty good at face value, but be sure to read the small print, or you could find yourself in a heap of trouble down the line. I know reading the small print can be tedious, but it's always important to know what you're getting yourself into!
read the fine print
To make oneself aware of the specific terms, conditions, restrictions, limitations, etc., of an agreement, contract, or other document, which are often printed in very small type and thus easy to miss. The terms of the loan look pretty good at face value, but be sure to read the fine print or you could find yourself in a heap of trouble down the line. I know reading the fine print can be tedious, but it's always important to know what you're getting yourself into.
read (something) cover to cover
To read something in its entirety, from beginning to end. Most commonly refers to reading materials that literally have a front cover and back cover, such as books or magazines. Primarily heard in UK. That book was so good that I read it cover to cover in one sitting. Every month I wait for the magazine to come in the mail and then I spend a Saturday afternoon reading it from cover to cover.
read the runes
To analyze current trends to predict what will happen in the future, likened to fortune telling. In this phrase, "runes" are esoteric, letter-like symbols associated with magic. All the social media companies are trying to read the runes to see what the next big thing will be, but most trends are impossible to predict.
See also: read
read up on (something)
To increase one's knowledge of a topic by reading about it. I better read up on the quadratic equation before I try to teach it tomorrow.
read the runesBRITISH, LITERARY
If you read the runes, you decide what is likely to happen in the future by considering what is happening now. Back in 1989, he was the first of the east European leaders to read the runes and make the jump from communism to nationalism. Note: Runes were an alphabet used in northern Europe until medieval times. The letters were often thought to have magical properties.
See also: read