browse | browze, v.
Etymology: < browse n.1, or perhaps directly from 16th cent. French brouster , now brouter ...
a. intr. or absol. To feed on the leaves and shoots of trees and bushes; to crop the shoots or tender parts of rough plants for food: said of goats, deer, cattle. (Sometimes carelessly used for graze, but properly implying the cropping of scanty vegetation.)
1542 A. Borde Compend. Regyment Helth (1870) xvi. 275 At the x byt on the grasse, or brosynge on the tree.
1580 C. Hollyband Treasurie French Tong, Brouter & manger, to brouze, to feede like an Oxe or Goate.
1593 T. Nashe Christs Teares 32 b, All the bushes and boughes‥were hewd downe and feld for men (like brute beastes) to brouze on.
1612 T. Taylor Αρχὴν Ἁπάντων: Comm. Epist. Paul to Titus (ii. 1) 336 Cattell forsaking the‥pastures to broose vpon leaues and boughes.
a1616 Shakespeare Winter's Tale (1623) iii. iii. 66.
1789 H. L. Thrale Observ. Journey France I. 38 Goats‥browze upon the steeps of Snowdon.
1844 W. B. Carpenter Animal Physiol. iv. 141 The Giraffe uses its long tongue to lay hold of the young shoots on which it browzes.
1870 W. C. Bryant tr. Homer Iliad I. ii. 74 The horses browsed on lotus-leaves.
b. fig. or transf.
a1616 Shakespeare Cymbeline (1623) iii. vi. 38 There is cold meat i' th' Caue, we'l brouz on that.
1823 C. Lamb Mackery End in Elia 175 She was tumbled‥into a spacious closet of good old English reading,‥and browsed at will upon that fair and wholesome pasturage.
1870 J. R. Lowell Among my Bks. (1873) 1st Ser. 9 We thus get a glimpse of him browsing—for‥he was always a random reader—in his father's library.
1927 J. S. Huxley Relig. without Revelation iv. 127 Browsing in the public library at Colorado Springs,‥I came across some essays of Lord Morley.
1965 Crescendo Sept. 1/1 While browsing through a local bookshop recently I came across your excellent publication.