The verbs are listed in order of least amount of ability to most. The exact meaning of a each verb depends on which resource-type it's paired with. Tables provided in each service-specific policy reference show the API operations covered by each combination of verb and resource-type.

Verb Types of Access Covered Target User
inspect Ability to list resources, without access to any confidential information or user-specified metadata that may be part of that resource. Important: The operation to list policies includes the contents of the policies themselves, and the list operations for the Networking resource-types return all the information (e.g., the contents of security lists and route tables). Third-party auditors
read Includes inspect plus the ability to get user-specified metadata and the actual resource itself. Internal auditors
use Includes read plus the ability to work with existing resources (the actions vary by resource type). Includes the ability to update the resource, except for resource-types where the "update" operation has the same effective impact as the "create" operation (e.g., UpdatePolicy, UpdateSecurityList, etc.), in which case the "update" ability is available only with the manage verb. In general, this verb does not include the ability to create or delete that type of resource. Day-to-day end users of resources
manage Includes all permissions for the resource. Administrators