Pore over vs. pour over

The phrase meaning to study carefully is pore over. It comes from a little-used sense of the verb pore—namely, to meditate deeply. In modern writing, this sense of pore rarely appears outside this phrase.

Pour over is of course a meaningful phrase in its own right, but it has nothing to do with studying. It’s what you do, for example, with milk to a bowl of cereal.

Examples

Major employers are using specialist anti-union lawyers to pore over the legislation. [Libcom.org]

Young men pore over texts crammed with cursive script at the Zia ul Uloom madrassa in search of the values that define the Barelvi school of Islam. [Financial Times]

Yet I eagerly pore over them with the colossal seriousness that someone more educated than I might devote to a Kierkegaard treatise. [SI.com]

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