Could someone please help me with the meaning of the bold part in the text below?

He had been in the office when the accident happened, consulting with a veneer salesman. Some change in noise registered with him, but it was more of an increase than a hush. It was nothing that alerted him—just an irritation. Because it happened in the sawmill, nobody would know about the accident immediately in the shops or in the kilns or in the yard, and work in some places continued for several minutes. In fact Arthur, bending over the veneer samples on his desk, might have been one of the last people to understand that there had been an intervention. He asked the salesman a question, and the salesman did not answer. Arthur looked up and saw the man's mouth open, his face frightened, his salesman's assurance wiped away.

Carried Away by Alice Munro

The way that register is used in the text is not what I am used to. Would you please tell me if it's a common usage?

  • 1
    You could reformulate the sentence saying: " He realised there was a change in the noise but ....". Macmillan Dictionary definition 3. – None Aug 29 '14 at 8:27

Register in this case means that he became aware of the noise. It is reasonably common and can be found in most definitions of the word.


  1. express or convey (an opinion or emotion). "I wish to register an objection"

synonyms: display, show, express, exhibit, evince, betray, disclose, evidence, reveal, manifest, demonstrate, reflect, bespeak, testify to; literary, betoken

"her face registered gathering anger" (of an emotion) show in a person's face or gestures.

"nothing registered on their faces"

notice or become aware of.

"he hadn't even registered her presence"

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