Language: Old English
Origin: seon


1 verb
see1 S1 W1 past tense saw, past participle seen


[transitive not in progressive] to notice or examine someone or something, using your eyes:
The moment we saw the house, we knew we wanted to buy it.
He crouched down so he couldn't be seen.
Can I see your ticket, please?
I saw the offer advertised in the newspaper.
can/can't see
You can see the Houses of Parliament from here.
see where/what/who etc
Can you see where the marks are on the wall?
see (that)
He saw that she was crying.
see somebody/something do something
I saw him leave a few minutes ago.
see somebody/something doing something
The suspect was seen entering the building.
As you can see, the house needs some work doing on it.
Have you seen Chris (=do you know where he is)?
The accommodation was so awful, it had to be seen to be believed (=you would not believe it if you did not see it yourself).

notice something is true

[transitive not in progressive] to notice that something is happening or that something is true:
More money must be invested if we are to see an improvement in services.
After a month's practice, you should see a difference in your playing.
Seeing his distress, Louise put her arm around him.
I would like to see changes in the way the course is run.
'You're not denying it, I see,' he said coldly.
see (that)
I can see you're not very happy with the situation.

ability to see

[intransitive,transitive not in progressive] to be able to use your eyes to look at things and know what they are
can/can't see
From the tower, you can see for miles.
I can't see a thing without my glasses.
not see to do something
His eyes are so bad that he can't see to read any more.

find out information

[transitive] to find out information or a fact
see what/how/when etc
I'll call him and see how the job interview went.
She went outside to see what was happening.
see if/whether
I've just come to see if you want to go out for a drink.
These chocolates are gorgeous. Try some and see for yourself (=find out if it is true).
By looking at this leaflet, you can see at a glance (=find out very easily) how much a loan will cost.
it can be seen that/we can see that
From this graph, it can be seen that some people are more susceptible to the disease.
As we have seen in chapter 4, women's pay is generally less than men's.

in the future

[intransitive and transitive] to find out about something in the future
see if/whether
It will be interesting to see if he makes it into the team.
see how/what/when etc
I might come - I'll see how I feel tomorrow.
Let's try it and see what happens.
'Can we go to the zoo, Dad?' ' We'll see.' (=used when you do not want to make a decision immediately)
'How long can you stay?' ' I'll have to see. It depends (=used when you cannot make a decision immediately).'
We'll just have to wait and see.
see how it goes/see how things go (=used when you are going to do something and will deal with problems if they happen)
I don't know. We'll just have to see how it goes on Sunday.
Things will work out, you'll see (=you will find out that I am right).

where information is

[transitive only in imperative] especially written used to tell you where you can find information:
See p.58.
See press for details.
see above/below
The results are shown in Table 7a (see below).


[intransitive and transitive] to understand or realize something
see why/what/how etc
I can't see why he's so upset.
I see what you mean (=I understand what you are saying).
'He lives here but works in London during the week.' 'Oh, I see (=I understand).'
You see, the thing is, I'm really busy right now (=used when you are explaining something).
You mix the flour and eggs like this, see (=used to check that someone is listening and understands).
I can't see the point of (=I do not understand the reason for) spending so much money on a car.
Do you see the point I'm making (=do you understand what I'm trying to say)?
The other officers laughed but Nichols couldn't see the joke.
see reason/sense (=realize that you are wrong or doing something stupid)
I just can't get her to see reason!


[transitive]A to watch a television programme, play, film etc:
Did you see that programme on monkeys last night?
We're going to see 'Romeo and Juliet' tonight.

consider something

[transitive] to think about or consider someone or something in a particular way, or as having particular qualities:
Having a child makes you see things differently.
Violence is seen in different ways by different people.
as somebody sees it/the way somebody sees it (=used to give someone's opinion)
As I see it, you don't have any choice.
The way I see it, we have two options.
see somebody/something as something
I see the job as a challenge.
see yourself as something
He saw himself as a failure.
be seen as (being) something
The peace talks are seen as a sign of hope.
This type of work is often seen as boring.
be seen to be something
Teachers need to be seen to be in control.

see what somebody/something can do

a) to find out if someone can deal with a situation or problem
see what somebody/something can do about
I'll call them again and see what they can do about it.
b) to find out how good someone or something is at what they are supposed to be able to do:
Let's take the Porsche out to the racetrack and see what it can do!

I'll see what I can do

spoken used to say that you will try to help someone:
Leave the papers with me and I'll see what I can do.

see you

spoken used to say goodbye when you know you will see someone again
see you tomorrow/at 3/Sunday etc
See you Friday - your place at 8:30.
see you later (=see you soon, or later in the same day)
see you in a bit British English (=see you soon)
see you in a while (=see you soon)
(I'll) be seeing you! (=see you soon)


[transitive] to visit or meet someone:
I'll be seeing her tomorrow night.
I haven't seen her since we left school.
She's too sick to see anyone right now.

meet by chance

[transitive not in progressive] to meet someone by chance:
I saw Jane while I was out.

have a meeting

[transitive] to have an arranged meeting with someone:
Mr Thomas is seeing a client at 2:30.
She was seen by a doctor but didn't need hospital treatment.
see somebody about something (=see someone to discuss something)
I have to see my teacher about my grades.

spend time with somebody

[transitive] to spend time with someone:
They've been seeing a lot of each other.
see more/less of somebody (=see someone more or less often)
They've seen more of each other since Dan moved to London.

be seeing somebody

to be having a romantic relationship with someone:
Is she seeing anyone at the moment?


[transitive not in progressive] to imagine that something may happen in the future:
He could see a great future for her in music.
can't see somebody/something doing something
I can't see him winning, can you?
She's got a new book coming out but I can't see it doing very well.
see somebody as something (=be able to imagine someone being something)
I just can't see her as a ballet dancer.

seeing as (how)

informal also seeing that used before giving a reason for what you are saying:
'I might as well do something useful, seeing as I'm back,' she said.

be seen to be doing something

to make sure that other people notice you working hard or doing something good:
The government must be seen to be doing something about the rise in violent crime.

see something for what it is

also see somebody for what they are to realize that someone or something is not as good or nice as they seem:
They are unimpressed with the scheme and rightly see it for what it is.

make sure

[transitive not in progressive] to make sure or check that something is done
see (that)
It's up to you to see that the job's done properly.
Please see that the lights are switched off before you leave.
Don't worry - I'll see to it.
The hotel's owners see to it that their guests are given every luxury.

experience something

[transitive not in progressive] to experience something:
She was so sick that doctors didn't think she'd live to see her first birthday.
I never thought I'd live to see the day when women became priests.
She's seen it all before (=have experienced so much that nothing surprises you) in her long career.

➔ been there, seen that, done that

at been (3)


[transitive] if a time or place has seen a particular event or situation, it happened or existed in that time or place:
This year has seen a big increase in road accidents.
The city has seen plenty of violence over the years.

let me see

also let's see spoken used when you are trying to remember something:
Let me see ... where did I put that letter?

I don't see why not

spoken used to say 'yes' in answer to a request:
'Can we go to the park?' 'I don't see why not.'

go with somebody

[transitive always + adverb/preposition] to go somewhere with someone to make sure they are safe:
My mother used to see me across the road.
I'll get Nick to see you home.
Let me see you to the door (=go with you to the door, to say goodbye).

be seeing things

to imagine that you see someone or something which is not really there:
There's no one there - you must be seeing things.

see double

if you see double, something is wrong with your eyes, so that you see two things when there is only one

have seen better days

informal to be in a bad condition:
Her hat had seen better days.

be glad/pleased etc to see the back of somebody/something

British English spoken to be pleased when someone leaves or when you get rid of something, because you do not like them:
I'll be glad to see the back of him.

see the last of somebody/something

a) to not see someone or something again, especially someone or something you do not like:
I thought we'd seen the last of him.
It was a relief to see the last of them.
b) to not have to deal with something any more:
Police had hoped they'd seen the last of the joyriding.
We may not have seen the last of this controversy.

see the light

a) to realize that something is true:
She finally saw the light and ended the relationship.
b) RR to have a special experience that makes you believe in a religion

see the light of day

a) if something sees the light of day, it is brought out so that people can see it:
This decision will ensure that the Pentagon Papers never see the light of day.
b) to start to exist:
This type of PC first saw the light of day in 1981.

see red

to become very angry:
The thought of Pierre with Nicole had made her see red.

not see somebody for dust

British English informal if you do not see someone for dust, they leave a place very quickly in order to avoid something

see eye to eye

[usually in negatives] if two people see eye to eye, they agree with each other:
We didn't exactly see eye to eye.
see eye to eye with
I don't always see eye to eye with my father.
see eye to eye on/about
We don't see eye to eye on business issues.

seen one ... seen them all

informal used to say that something is boring because it is very similar to other things:
When you've seen one of these programmes, you've seen them all.

see your way (clear) to doing something

formal to be able and willing to do something:
Small companies cannot see their way to taking on many trainees.

(see and) be seen

to look at or be noticed by important or fashionable people:
Royal Ascot is the place to see and be seen.

not see the wood for the trees

also not see the forest for the trees American English to be unable to understand what is important in a situation because you are thinking too much about small details rather than the whole situation

see something coming

to realize that there is going to be a problem before it actually happens:
John's going to have a lot of trouble with him. You can see it coming.

see somebody coming (a mile off)

British English spoken to recognize that someone will be easy to trick or deceive:
You paid £500 for that! They must have seen you coming!

see somebody right

British English spoken to make sure that someone gets what they need or want, especially money:
Just do this for me and I'll see you right.
Tell the landlord I sent you and he'll see you right.

not see that it matters

spoken to think that something is not important:
I can't see that it matters what I think.

game of cards

[transitive] to risk the same amount of money as your opponent in a card game

➔ it remains to be seen

at remain (5)

; ➔ see fit (to do something)

at fit2 (3)

; ➔ wouldn't be seen dead

at dead1 (12)

see about something

phrasal verb
1 to make arrangements or deal with something:
I'd better see about dinner.
see about doing something
Claire's gone to see about getting tickets for the concert.

we'll see about that

a) also we'll have to see about that used to say that you do not know if something will be possible:
'I want to go to Joshua's tonight.' 'Well, we'll have to see about that.'
b) also we'll soon see about that used to say that you intend to stop someone from doing what they were planning to do

see something against something

phrasal verb
to consider something together with something else:
The unemployment data must be seen against the background of world recession.

see around

phrasal verb

see somebody around

to notice someone regularly in places you go to, but not talk to them:
I don't know who he is but I've seen him around.

see you around

spoken used to say goodbye to someone when you have not made a definite arrangement to meet again

see around/round something

British English to visit a place and walk around looking at it:
Would you like to see round the house?

see in

phrasal verb

not know what somebody sees in somebody

also what does somebody see in somebody? used to say that you do not know why someone likes someone else:
I don't know what she sees in him.

see something in somebody/something

to notice a particular quality in someone or something that makes you like them:
He saw a gentleness in Susan.

see somebody in

to go with someone to make sure they arrive at a building or room:
He took her home and after seeing her in, drove off without a word.

see in the New Year

to celebrate the beginning of a new year

see somebody/something ↔ off

phrasal verb
1 to defeat someone or stop them from competing against you:
To see off the threat, the company will have to cut its prices still further.
The team saw off their old rivals in last night's championship game.
2 to go to an airport, train station etc to say goodbye to someone:
They've gone to the airport to see their son off.
3 also see somebody off something to force someone to leave a place:
Security guards saw him off the premises.

see somebody/something out

phrasal verb
1 to go to the door with someone to say goodbye to them when they leave:
I'll see you out.
Don't worry, I can see myself out (=leave the building without anyone coming with me).

see something ↔ out

to continue doing something or being somewhere until a particular period of time or an unpleasant event is finished:
Connolly has promised to see out the remaining 18 months of his contract.
She saw out her last years at Sudeley Castle.

see over something

phrasal verb
to look at something large such as a house, especially in order to decide if you want to buy it

see through

phrasal verb

see through somebody/something

to realize that someone is trying to deceive you:
I saw through his excuses.
I could never lie to her because I know she'd see through me straight away.
I can't bluff - she'd see right through me.

see something through

to continue doing something until it is finished, especially something difficult or unpleasant:
It'll take a lot of effort to see the project through.

see somebody through (something)

to give help and support to someone during a difficult time:
Setting goals should help see you through.
I've got enough money to see me through six months of unemployment.

see something through somebody's eyes

to see something or think about it in the way that someone else does:
The world is very different when seen through the eyes of a child.

see to somebody/something

phrasal verb
to deal with something or do something for someone:
Go on, you go out. I'll see to the washing up.
have/get something seen to
You should get that tooth seen to by a dentist.

see, watch, look at
See means to notice something with your eyes, either deliberately or accidentally I saw a great film last week. A few people saw him take the bag.Watch means to deliberately pay attention to something for quite a long time They were all watching the game on TV. He watched her leave. When you look at something, you deliberately turn your eyes towards it in order to see it There was a loud noise and everyone looked at the screen.!! You can see something on television or watch television, but do not say 'see television' After I finish my homework I usually watch television.

Dictionary results for "see"
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