Imagine yourself walking into a room, and you see a pocketwatch on the table, you pick it up, look closely at it, perhaps open it up. Maybe it's one of those see through kind, so you can see some of the gears in it. You look very closely at it.

What's the word for this?

  • Inspect gives the implication that I'm looking for flaws. I don't want that implication.
  • Examine seems good, but doesn't give the hands-on feel I'm looking for.

Is there a word for something like this?

  • I think I'd say, 'He walked into the room and, moving immediately to the watch, picked it up and began to examine it closely.' I think examine does carry some connotation of hands-on whereas something like scrutinize doesn't.
    – Jim
    Sep 25, 2014 at 3:45
  • 1
    I don't think there's anything that really clearly specifies "hands-on".
    – Fattie
    Sep 25, 2014 at 6:59
  • 2
    Unfortunately, it's hard to even think about this topic without the mind drifting to other meanings of the term.
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 31, 2015 at 1:51
  • Maybe sth. from the handle entry from the AMHDotEL?
    – user98955
    Jan 30, 2016 at 17:16

2 Answers 2


In medical circles, the verb "to palpate" describes a close, manual inspection of a body part.


I think appraise may suggest the meaning you are referring to:

  • To estimate the quality, amount, size, and other features of; judge.

Source: www.thefreedictionary.com

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