Meanings

1.
to learn something by reading
("sich+Dat etwas anlesen" - the phrasing always needs to be complete.)
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2.
to start reading something
(In the sense of giving it a first peak, not in a sense of starting the activity. Very rare use, but good to impress your friends. You can say that you have "angelesen" Goethe but you found it boring, for example. )
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Word Family

Already in Ancient Greek and Latin it was used in the context of “selecting words” and “gathering meaning” and became the origin of plenty of words that revolve around language and ideas. Like logic, lexicon, legal, dialect, ideologue, apology, select and many more.

The German lesen today means to read, but the original sense of gathering, picking is also still alive in words like auflesen or Weinlese.

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