I am looking for a word that encapsulates both listen and read.

I enjoy _______ poetry, rap, etc.

Since poetry and rap can both be read and listened to, I wasn't sure what word to use.

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    You don't actually need anything in the blank in that particular sentence; you could just say I enjoy poetry, rap, etc. and let "enjoy" be the only verb. I'd be interested in a hypernym, though, if there is one, so you could say something like I ___ a lot of books and mean both written and audio books. – 1006a Jun 6 '17 at 21:35
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    Did you look in a thesaurus for both listen and read? There might be good suggestions there. There's also the much more general 'experience' or 'consume' but those sound funny. Also it would work without any word at all "I enjoy poetry, rap, etc". – Mitch Jun 6 '17 at 21:50
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    I sure hope there is! I've often struggled with this when talking about facility with a language. Similarly with "speak" and "write". So far, I've usually gone with the wordy-sounding "listening to and reading". Please, O collective wisdom of EL&U, I beg thee, give us an answer! – Ben Kovitz Jun 6 '17 at 23:27
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    @Abstractioniseverything. Indeed! Occasionally a non-answer answer is exactly what you need—but not often. It's like asking someone to show you how to operate jumper cables and they say "You'd be happier living as a hermit in the forest. Then you wouldn't need jumper cables because you wouldn't need to start your car." – Ben Kovitz Jun 7 '17 at 0:09
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    There should be a badge for 'Ask a question that gets three or more answers with negative votes'. – dwjohnston Jun 12 '17 at 0:37

The word browse can be used for both books and music.

As pointed out in comments by 1006a, your example sentence does not even need a word - using Lauren's suggestion instead

I'm going to browse (some) poetry and rap tomorrow

Also imho the word peruse should be a good fit as well, you could use browse for less intensity while peruse is more appropriate for a dedicated session of reading or listening without letting anyone disturb you.

Some links to sites that show this usage for music:

Find and Browse Music on Last.fm - https://www.last.fm/music

Music Playlist Channel on Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/user/browsemusicvideos

Browse Music by Artist - https://www.tunefind.com/browse/artist/a

Some links to sites showing this usage for books:

Browse Books by Subject - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/h/books/browse

Browse Books & eBooks By Title - http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/browse/books/title/

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  • I'm unconvinced that a native speaker would use either verb to refer to listening to music. And I don't see anything at your links that supports your answer. – Arm the good guys in America Oct 25 '17 at 1:13
  • @Clare Added example links to show usage for both contexts. – Alok Oct 25 '17 at 17:34
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    That means to browse the titles of music so you can choose which ones to listen to. – Arm the good guys in America Oct 25 '17 at 19:29

I agree that enjoy works on its own, as does appreciate. Both of those choices express a favorable response. Another option would be to experience the rap or poetry. This choice is more objective and could be used when the outcome of the experience (approval/disapproval) could go either way.

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I agree with 1006a and Mitch -- enjoy works fine.

Merriam-Webster includes this definition of enjoy:


intransitive verb

: to have a good time

transitive verb

  1. : to have for one's use, benefit, or lot : experience
    enjoyed great success

(Emphasis mine)

Dictionary.com has these definitions:


verb (used with object)

  1. to experience with joy; take pleasure in:
    He enjoys Chinese food.

  2. to have and use with satisfaction; have the benefit of:
    He enjoys an excellent income from his trust funds.

So it seems to me that one can enjoy enjoying books and music... or, simply, enjoy them.

I enjoy poetry, rap, etc.

I enjoy a lot of books

Although for the latter, I would probably add "and audiobooks" just to be clear.

Also, I will note that I use "consume" with my kids all the time in this sense -- they are supposed to create something before they consume something, meaning that they have to draw a picture or write a story or something like that before they get to watch TV or play a computer game. (Reading books is an exception to this because I'd have more luck getting them to stop breathing.) But outside my (admittedly weird) family, it might sound weird to people.

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    What if you don't like ____ing the poetry, rap, etc.? – Ben Kovitz Jun 6 '17 at 23:23
  • I don't enjoy taking in / experiencing poetry, rap, etc.? – Roger Sinasohn Jun 6 '17 at 23:33
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    This is hardly an answer to 'Is there a word that means both “listen” and “read”?' 'Enjoy' is both far broader and far narrower, and as Ben implies, the word satisfying OP's request could fit 'I don't enjoy ...... poetry, rap' and even 'I was ...... poetry and rap all evening, but did not like any of it.' – Edwin Ashworth Jun 7 '17 at 0:09
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    I'd love to discover a word that means, more specifically, just listening and reading. Until someone comes up with that, I offered the best I could come up with as a solution to the underlying problem -- identifying the enjoyment of multiple forms of media. – Roger Sinasohn Jun 7 '17 at 0:13
  • Look at how Mitch offered such advice. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 7 '17 at 0:36

consume fits.

From Merriam Webster:

3b. to enjoy avidly

  1. to utilize as a customer

We typically think of consuming as in to eat or drink - but it can mean anything that you utilise. People's media consumption is a fairly common phrase.

For example:

I enjoy consuming poetry, rap, etc.

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I wonder


can be the answer for your question. That's what I would use. I tried to comment, but due to my low reputation, I can only post an answer.

I'd like to ask, how does the following sentence sound?

I enjoy appreciating poetry, rap, etc.

Does it changes the tone of what curiousdannii wanted to say in the first place?

Please let me know if it does not.

Thank you.

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