Language: Old English
Origin: locian


1 verb
look1 S1 W1


[intransitive] to turn your eyes towards something, so that you can see it:
We sneaked out while Jessie's mom wasn't looking.
If you look carefully you can see that the painting represents a human figure.
Gina covered her eyes, afraid to look.
look at
'It's time we left,' Ian said, looking at his watch.
The men all turned to look at her as she entered the room.
look away/over/down etc
Dad looked up from his paper and smiled.
'We can't go out in this weather,' said Bob, looking out of the window.
see usage note see1


[intransitive] to try to find something:
I looked everywhere but Jimmy was nowhere to be found.
look for
Could you help me look for my contact lens?
If you're looking for a bargain, try the local market.
look in/under/between etc
Try looking under the bed.


[linking verb] to seem:
From the way things look at the moment, the Republicans are unlikely to win this election.
look good/bad etc
The future's looking good.
it looks as if/as though/like (=it seems likely that)
It looks as if it might rain later.
It looks like they won't be needing us any more.
You made me look really stupid in front of all my friends!


[linking verb] to have a particular appearance:
How do I look?
look tired/happy/sad etc
You look tired. You should go to bed.
look as if/as though/like
He looked as if he hadn't washed for a week.
What did the man look like?
My sister doesn't look anything like me.

➔ look like a million dollars

at million (4)
see usage note seem

look daggers at somebody

informal to look at someone with a very angry expression on your face

look somebody up and down

to look at someone carefully from their head to their feet, as if you were forming an opinion about them

look somebody in the eye

to look directly at someone when you are speaking to them, especially to show that you are not afraid of them or that you are telling the truth:
Owen didn't dare look his father in the eye.

look down your nose at somebody/something

to behave as if you think that someone or something is not good enough for you:
He looks down his nose at anyone foreign.

look the other way

to ignore something bad that is happening and not try to stop it:
Prison guards looked the other way as the man was attacked by fellow prisoners.

look no further

used to say that something you are offering is exactly what someone has been trying to find:
Want a quiet country retreat for your weekend break? Then look no further!

face a direction

[intransitive always + adverb/preposition] if a building looks in a particular direction, it faces that direction:
The cabin looks east, so we get the morning sun.

look before you leap

used to say that it is sensible to think about possible dangers or difficulties of something before doing it

be looking to do something

informal to be planning or expecting to do something:
We're looking to buy a new car early next year.
14 spoken


a) used to tell someone to look at something that you think is interesting, surprising etc:
Look! There's a fox!
b) used to get someone's attention so that you can suggest something or tell them something:
Look. Why don't you think about it and give me your answer tomorrow?
Look, I've had enough of this. I'm going home.
15 spoken

look out!

used to warn someone that they are in danger [= watch out]:
Look out! There's a car coming.
16 spoken

look at that!

used to tell someone to look at something that you think is interesting, bad etc:
Look at that! What a horrible mess!
17 spoken

look who's here!

used when someone arrives unexpectedly:
Well, look who's here! It's Jill and Paul!
18 spoken

don't look now

used to say that you have seen someone but do not want them to know you have noticed them:
Oh no! Don't look now but here comes Tony.
19 spoken

look what you're doing/look where you're going etc

used to tell someone to be careful:
Look where you're putting your feet! There's mud all over the carpet!
20 spoken

look what you've done!

used to angrily tell someone to look at the result of a mistake they have made or something bad they have done:
Look what you've done - my jacket's ruined!
21 spoken

look here

old-fashioned used to get someone's attention in order to tell them something, especially when you are annoyed with them:
Look here, you can't say things like that to me!
22 spoken

(I'm) just looking

used when you are in a shop, to say that you are only looking at things, but do not intend to buy anything now:
'Can I help you?' 'No, thanks. I'm just looking.'

➔ look kindly on somebody/something

at kindly1 (3)

look after somebody/something

phrasal verb
1 to take care of someone by helping them, giving them what they need, or keeping them safe [= take care of]:
Don't worry, I'll look after the kids tomorrow.
Susan looked after us very well. She's an excellent cook.
You could tell that the horse had been well looked after.
2 to be responsible for dealing with something [= take care of]:
I'm leaving you here to look after the business until I get back.

look after yourself

spoken especially British English used when you are saying goodbye to someone in a friendly way

can look after yourself

to not need anyone else to take care of you:
Don't worry about Maisie - she can look after herself.

look ahead

phrasal verb
to think about and plan for what might happen in the future:
Looking ahead, we must expect radical changes to be made in our system of government.

look around

phrasal verb
1 to try to find something
look around for
Jason's going to start looking around for a new job.

look around/round (something)

to look at what is in a place such as a building, shop, town etc, especially when you are walking:
Do we have to pay to look around the castle?
Let's look round the shops.

look at somebody/something

phrasal verb
1 to turn your eyes towards something, so that you can see it:
The twins looked at each other and smiled.
2 to read something quickly in order to form an opinion of it:
I really can't comment on the report - I haven't had time to look at it yet.
3 to examine something and try to find out what is wrong with it:
You should get the doctor to look at that cut.
Can you look at my car? There's a strange noise coming from the front wheel.
4 to study and think about something, especially in order to decide what to do:
We need to look very carefully at ways of improving our efficiency.

look at somebody/something!

spoken used to mention someone or something as an example:
You don't have to be smart to be good at music - look at Gary.
6 to think about something in a particular way [= see]:
I'd like to be friends again, but Richard doesn't look at it that way.

not much to look at

informal if someone or something is not much to look at, they are not attractive

look back

phrasal verb
1 to think about something that happened in the past
look back on/to
When I look back on those days I realize I was desperately unhappy.
Looking back on it, I still can't figure out what went wrong.

never look back

to become more and more successful, especially after a particular success:
After winning the scholarship he never looked back.

look down on somebody/something

phrasal verb
to think that you are better than someone else, for example because you are more successful, or of a higher social class than they are:
Mr Garcia looks down on anyone who hasn't had a college education.

look for somebody/something

phrasal verb
1 to try to find something that you have lost, or someone who is not where they should be [= search for]:
I'm looking for Steve - have you seen him?
Detectives are still looking for the escaped prisoner.
search2 (1)

be looking for somebody/something

to be trying to find a particular kind of thing or person:
I'm sorry, we're really looking for someone with no family commitments.
be (just) what/who you are looking for
'Salubrious'! That's just the word I was looking for.

be looking for trouble

informal to be behaving in a way that makes it likely that problems or violence will happen:
They walked into a bar looking for trouble.

look forward to something

phrasal verb
to be excited and pleased about something that is going to happen:
I'm really looking forward to our vacation.
look forward to doing something
My mother says she's looking forward to meeting you.
see usage note wait1

look in

phrasal verb
to make a short visit to someone, while you are going somewhere else, especially if they are ill or need help [= drop in, call in]
look in on
I promised to look in on Dad and see if he's feeling any better.

look into something

phrasal verb
to try to find out the truth about a problem, crime etc in order to solve it [= investigate]:
Police are looking into the disappearance of two children.

look on

phrasal verb
1 to watch something happening, without being involved in it or trying to stop it [↪ onlooker]:
Only one man tried to help us, the rest just looked on in silence.
2 look on somebody/something also look upon somebody/something to consider someone or something in a particular way, or as a particular thing
look on as
I look on him as a good friend.
look on with
Strangers to the village are looked upon with a mixture of fear and suspicion.

look something ↔ out

phrasal verb
to search for and find a particular thing among your possessions:
I'll look out some of my old books for you.

look out for somebody/something

phrasal verb
1 to pay attention to what is happening around you, so that you will notice a particular person or thing if you see them [↪ lookout]:
Look out for your Aunt while you're at the station.
He's looking out for a nice apartment downtown.
2 to try to make sure that someone is treated well:
My older brother always looked out for me when we were kids.
look out for yourself/number one (=think only of the advantages you can get for yourself)

look something/somebody ↔ over

phrasal verb
to examine something quickly, without paying much attention to detail:
Do you have a few minutes to look these samples over?

look round

phrasal verb
to look around

look through somebody/something

phrasal verb
1 to look for something among a pile of papers, in a drawer, in someone's pockets etc [= go through]:
I've looked through all my papers but I still can't find the contract.
2 to not notice or pretend not to notice someone you know, even though you see them
look straight/right through somebody
I saw Fiona in the street yesterday and she looked straight through me.

look to somebody/something

phrasal verb
1 to depend on someone to provide help, advice etc
look to somebody/something for
We look to you for support.
look to somebody to do something
They're looking to the new manager to make the company profitable.
2 to pay attention to something, especially in order to improve it:
We must look to our defences.

look up

phrasal verb
1 if a situation is looking up, it is improving [= improve, get better]:
Now the summer's here things are looking up!

look something ↔up

if you look up information in a book, on a computer etc, you try to find it there:
Look the word up in your dictionary.
I'll just look up the train times.

look somebody ↔up

to visit someone you know, especially when you are in the place where they live for a different reason:
Don't forget to look me up when you come to Atlanta.

look up to somebody

phrasal verb
to admire or respect someone:
I've always looked up to Bill for his courage and determination.

seem, appear, look, sound
Seem and appear have the same meaning but appear is more formal They seem upset. This appears to be a good solution.You use look to say how someone or something seems to you when you look at them Maureen looked tired. That book looks good. You use sound to say how someone or something seems to you when you hear or read about them, or hear them She sounds a lovely person. The party sounded great. He sounded tired.GRAMMARSeem can be followed by an adjective or an adjective and noun She seemed happy. He seems a nice man.Seem can also be followed by a verb in the infinitive His story seems to be true. You seem to think it's my fault.!! Seem can be followed by as if or as though but not just by as It seems a small thing (NOT it seems as a small thing), but it's very important. It seemed as if he wanted us to leave (NOT it seemed as he wanted ...).See also seem

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