Main definitions of see in English

: see1see2



  • 1Perceive with the eyes; discern visually.

    ‘in the distance she could see the blue sea’
    [no object] ‘Andrew couldn't see out of his left eye’
    figurative ‘I can't see into the future’
    • ‘He was last seen wearing a blue jacket, white T-shirt, black tracksuit trousers and trainers.’
    • ‘While he was inside the shop, he saw his dark blue car being driven away at speed.’
    • ‘From here you have a view over the whole mountain, and far in the distance you can even see Sofia.’
    • ‘I have actually seen people walk past my house with a full wheelbarrow.’
    • ‘He opened his blue eyes and, seeing Wesley, grinned with a suddenness that was startling.’
    • ‘There were a number of other witnesses who saw the incident from fairly nearby.’
    • ‘Police are appealing for any witnesses who saw the accident to contact them.’
    • ‘When you walk among the headstones and read the names, you can see into the future.’
    • ‘Its windows were shuttered, so that no one could see into the court from outside.’
    • ‘It comes apart, allowing us to see into the interior of each of the three floors.’
    • ‘He said he was keen to speak to anybody who had seen Mr Hutchinson, possibly on Saturday night, on the path or in local pubs.’
    • ‘She met the Pope during his 1982 visit and later saw him at the Vatican.’
    • ‘He has often been seen wearing a blue and red hooded top and white trainers.’
    • ‘It worries me that people living in those flats could see into the bedrooms.’
    • ‘On a clear day the hills of the Isle of Man can be seen in the distance.’
    • ‘I laughed and pushed him away as I saw the familiar blue pick up truck coming down the road.’
    • ‘For as far as she could see in either direction the traffic on the motorway was motionless.’
    • ‘Behind the counter there was a doorway through which Mike could see into the kitchen.’
    • ‘He removed his sunglasses and I saw his dark blue eyes and the heavy bags under them.’
    • ‘Next to the table, she sees her favorite light blue dress draped over a chair.’
    discern, perceive, glimpse, catch a glimpse of, get a glimpse of, spot, notice, catch sight of, sight
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[with clause]Be or become aware of something from observation or from a written or other visual source.
      ‘I see from your appraisal report that you have asked for training’
      • ‘His sleeves are turned under to fit - and he sees that I've noticed.’
      • ‘She saw that he had written the word Love before his name, but cancelled it out messily.’
      • ‘He was a most remarkable man, and I believe you can see that in the painting.’
      • ‘He saw that his father noticed that to, but unlike Bertie he was not happy about it.’
      • ‘All these years later it is nice to see that he has not only mastered cue ball control himself but has the ability to pass it on to his pupil.’
      • ‘Take a closer look and you'll see that it's also a wonderful time-saver when it comes to typing.’
      • ‘Just from pure observation we have seen what have been till now undescribed behaviours.’
      • ‘Everybody could see that he could train a winner, good winners, but this was a different level of the game.’
      • ‘From her expression, I could see that she was not sure why we were talking so much to her.’
      • ‘When my pudding arrived I was at first disappointed to see that the custard was just a decorative swirl.’
      • ‘He sees that some were written in a different style so he has this whole list of names of people who are writing in his box and he's trying to collate them.’
      • ‘Once he sees that she has noticed, he decides that maybe he won't bother to cry after all.’
      • ‘You would have to experience the joy on their faces when they see that we really care for them.’
      • ‘She only needed to look into the black, pupilless eyes of her brother to see that.’
      • ‘You only had to look at the coach skulking up and down the touchline throughout the second half to see that.’
      • ‘But I saw that I was speaking to a man who was a shadow of his usual self.’
      • ‘And if you read your policy you will see that the final payout was not guaranteed.’
      • ‘I see that you e-mailed on Tuesday, so I assume that you have managed to hold her off until now.’
    2. 1.2Be a spectator of (a film, game, or other entertainment); watch.
      ‘I went to see King Lear at the Old Vic’
      • ‘I'd already seen the film at the cinema and I own the DVD but I wanted a fuller picture.’
      • ‘After seeing the film once, watch it again and pay close attention to Bacri's acting choices.’
      • ‘I only read the book last year but Sunday was the first time I had seen the film.’
      • ‘There's some great talent here and I'm looking forward to seeing the films.’
      • ‘I'm looking forward to catching up with the previous movie, and seeing the next films whenever they come out.’
      • ‘Sure, I jumped a little watching Scream, but I've never seen a film that has cost me a night's sleep.’
      • ‘It's not necessary to have seen the film in order to appreciate the music.’
      • ‘After watching The Sun, I'm looking forward to seeing the previous films.’
      • ‘However, if you want a real game of the people, go and see some Rugby League.’
      • ‘I watched them prepare for a game in Canberra, saw the game and then watched their recovery in Melbourne.’
      • ‘Having not seen the film, nor having any intention of doing so, I couldn't say.’
      • ‘This is the main reason why going to see short films should be just as easy as catching the latest blockbuster.’
      • ‘Censors at the British Board of Film Classification have not yet seen the film and are refusing to comment.’
      • ‘Two hours after seeing the film, which highlights spring to mind?’
      • ‘Now call me old fashioned, but I've seen the film and it's not for the faint-hearted, let alone a child.’
      • ‘I implore everyone who hasn't seen these three films to remedy that immediately.’
      • ‘Doors will open an hour before race time so spectators can see some live entertainment.’
      • ‘Almost everyone has seen this film and felt like they have been punched in the stomach at its conclusion.’
      • ‘I saw this film several times, just to watch audience reactions to a particular scene near the end of the film.’
      • ‘It was like when I saw the film Magnolia recently and cried for the last hour because I thought it was so beautiful.’
      watch, look at, view, observe, catch
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3[in imperative]Refer to (a specified source) for further information (used as a direction in a text)
      ‘elements are usually classified as metals or non-metals (see chapter 11)’
  • 2Discern or deduce after reflection or from information; understand.

    ‘I can't see any other way to treat it’
    [with clause] ‘I saw that perhaps he was right’
    ‘she could see what Rhoda meant’
    • ‘With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that the disruption was permanent.’
    • ‘When we have this tool, you will see that Americans will care more about the world.’
    • ‘She knew nothing about the outdoor life but once he talked about it, he could see she understood his passion for it.’
    • ‘The flowers are getting tatty and I've driven by there often enough to see that.’
    • ‘If we look more closely at the figures we see that ethnic minorities are mainly concentrated in the lower ranks.’
    • ‘In considering citizenship, we saw that it entailed more than simply a formal badge of membership in a national community.’
    • ‘It sure was great to see that this was the problem and to now know exactly how it feels when this is the problem.’
    • ‘Yet somehow the worthies who distribute our lottery money could not see that.’
    • ‘The audience can see that he is acting the part of a gay man and can also see what it costs him.’
    • ‘If we rid ourself of hindsight and our own contemporary mindset, we can see that they had no choice but to opt for the latter.’
    • ‘When you stop to consider, you see that it has a lot of the elements that make up a good line.’
    • ‘It may be understandable to see how a young man, fresh from a life of crime could paint such violent pictures.’
    • ‘You just have to look at how busy the practice range and the fitness trailer are each week on tour to see that.’
    • ‘They have no concept of what America is made of and even now they won't see that.’
    • ‘I can see that, confronted with two intruders in the middle of the night, you might lift a weapon in panic.’
    • ‘If we look closely at our mind we can see that it is made up of individual thoughts.’
    • ‘But the morose teenager could not see that he was doing anything wrong or illegal.’
    • ‘On my recollections I cannot see how we can consider voting for such a man.’
    understand, grasp, comprehend, follow, take in, realize, appreciate, recognize, work out, get the drift of, make out, conceive, perceive, become cognizant of
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1[with clause]Ascertain after inquiring, considering, or discovering an outcome.
      ‘I'll go along to the club and see if I can get a game’
      • ‘It'll be interesting to see whether you still find them similar as the story continues.’
      • ‘It will be interesting to see whether, over the next decade or so, this has the hoped for effect on trial size.’
      • ‘It will be interesting to see whether the Ministers will have the courage to embrace this emotive issue.’
      • ‘So, with all due respect, let's see what the outcome is before passing judgement.’
      • ‘It will be interesting to see whether this starts a spate of controversial videos in the next few months.’
      • ‘It will be interesting to see whether the tradition of handing down family photos survives.’
      • ‘At the time, police launched an investigation to see whether Miss Reid was breaking the law.’
      • ‘It will be interesting to see whether this will encourage them to back this most radical option.’
      • ‘This was reason enough for me to investigate and see whether I would agree with him.’
      • ‘Come to think of it, it would be interesting to see whether such theses are remotely true or not.’
      • ‘We are undertaking a review to see if we can consider making any savings.’
      • ‘It will be interesting to see whether the BBC will consider them for an audio medium.’
      • ‘He looked so set on some course of destruction that I decided to follow him to see what the outcome would be.’
      • ‘It will be interesting to see how the club get on if they are given a new location and a new identity.’
      • ‘It will be interesting to see whether an appeal by Pringle succeeds to any extent.’
      • ‘Then we might see whether or not oil and gas producers charge less to their own countries than they do to the export market.’
      • ‘‘If it's a success then we will consider seeing if it's feasible to have another one,’ she said.’
      • ‘Out came the veterinary textbook to see whether guinea pigs can harbour scabies.’
      • ‘It will be interesting for you to see whether your own approach took account of these points.’
      • ‘I then considered both points to see whether their placing in the chart was appropriate.’
      find out, discover, learn, ascertain, get to know, determine, establish
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    2. 2.2[with object and adverbial]Regard in a specified way.
      ‘he saw himself as a good teacher’
      ‘you and I see things differently’
      • ‘The issue at stake in all of this is the way in which society treats those who are seen as different.’
      • ‘This was equally popular with the people of Ancient Rome and going to a race was seen as a family event.’
      • ‘Their situation was seen as a test case in an issue which will eventually affect dozens of homes on the Marine Valley estate.’
      • ‘Speed, daring, and deep penetrations without regard to flank security came to be seen as essential.’
      • ‘Both contain harm, and both could be seen as reasonable by different people.’
      • ‘Otherwise, this public consultation will be seen as a cosmetic exercise.’
      • ‘I think the baths will be seen as very different from everything else.’
      • ‘The event was seen as a big success and it is hoped to repeat it all next year.’
      • ‘The medical profession sees itself, and is seen, as expert in understanding and managing disease.’
      • ‘It sees itself as part of Europe, but also regards itself, and its workers in Western Europe, as a victim of systematic discrimination.’
      • ‘Sweeney sees this as a reflection of the far greater career choice available to graduates.’
      • ‘Those close to him say that his ideas have become grandiose, that he sees himself in a different league, a league of front line leaders of the world.’
      • ‘Matt sees the Party as being split between four groups.’
      • ‘He saw himself as a professor of the holy scriptures and a teacher of the church.’
      • ‘He sees himself as special, but to be that he has to get results.’
      • ‘Ryan sees Frannie as socially withdrawn yet privately self-confident.’
      • ‘He sees this severest of slumps slightly differently.’
      • ‘Taking a step back for a moment, a vertically integrated business sees itself quite differently to a functional or divisionalized organization.’
      • ‘What if everyone sees everything differently?’
      • ‘Decades later, these riots generally came to be seen as understandable upsurges against suffering.’
      regard, consider, think of, deem, judge, count, see, view, take, reckon, believe to be
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3Find good or attractive qualities in (someone)
      ‘I don't know what I see in you’
      • ‘At 28 he might be in the prime of his career, but he still sees things in others he would like to add to his own game.’
      • ‘For me, the idea is to look at someone and see that they can see in me something that's in them.’
      • ‘Coleman saw the same qualities in him that had caught Whalley's eye in the first place and offered him a two-year deal after a handful of friendlies.’
    4. 2.4View or predict as a possibility; envisage.
      ‘I can't see him earning any more anywhere else’
      • ‘He sees this as a possibility for minivan and SUV owners as well.’
      • ‘The hybrid power station is being seen as a possible alternative to the increasingly unpopular wind farms.’
      • ‘Chirac perhaps sees a coming Muslim future or, at least, a coming Muslim resurgence.’
      • ‘The only way it will matter is if they stop Real from scoring - and I can't really see that.’
      foresee, predict, forecast, prophesy, prognosticate, anticipate, envisage, envision, picture, visualize
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    5. 2.5Used to ascertain or express comprehension, agreement, or continued attention, or to emphasize that an earlier prediction was correct.
      ‘it has to be the answer, don't you see?’
      ‘see, I told you I'd come’
  • 3Experience or witness (an event or situation)

    ‘I shall not live to see it’
    [with object and complement] ‘I can't bear to see you so unhappy’
    • ‘I am going to be seeing a totally different way of life.’
    • ‘The event may have seen changes in its history, but the prestigious trophy is still as sought after as ever.’
    • ‘I was in many ways sad to leave, I had seen something of a different life, not all of it good but all of it an experience.’
    • ‘As an Irishman living abroad I've seen the changes in Ireland happening stage by stage.’
    • ‘Only if McConnell is bold enough to do this will we start to see real change in schools.’
    • ‘I am therefore pleased to see that serious consideration is being given to the provision of a skate park.’
    • ‘Never before have I seen such a poor understanding of the highway code.’
    • ‘He would love nothing more than to see Stanley earn a place in the Conference.’
    • ‘I would like to see a more balanced view among church people for John's crime.’
    • ‘One is also seeing some quite sharp differences there.’
    • ‘It was an important political experience because we saw first-hand what life under Communism was like.’
    • ‘That's so cool, and I can understand why after seeing this for the first time earlier on.’
    • ‘The real measure of the GSC's impact will perhaps not be seen for another 10 years.’
    • ‘The chief constable has made pledges in this regard and we want to see those kept.’
    • ‘It's not something you ever want to see but you can understand why they took the foot off the gas.’
    • ‘We haven't seen the latest figures for working families tax credit take-up.’
    • ‘I do love my husband but I am now seeing a very different side of him.’
    • ‘We support change and want to see a situation that is fast, efficient and safe.’
    • ‘Experts on such matters say they have rarely seen such a comprehensive and damning judgement.’
    • ‘But when we finish and stand back, it's impossible to understand what we're seeing.’
    1. 3.1Be the time or setting of (something)
      ‘the 1970s saw the beginning of a technological revolution’
      • ‘The dramatic reconstruction sees Cornwall's tropical gardens impersonating the sweltering heat of Darien.’
      • ‘Last year's General Election saw the SSP standing in all of Scotland's Westminster seats.’
      • ‘Next May sees full council elections across England and Wales, and the BNP is aiming to pick up seats in target areas such as West Yorkshire and Barking, east London.’
      • ‘We are now right in the middle of the sheep sales and Saturday sees the annual Blakey event, where there are over 2,600 breeding sheep and store lambs.’
      • ‘Wednesday also sees the Community Association meeting.’
      • ‘This week also sees a special free Christmas raffle with fabulous prizes on offer.’
      • ‘The series of television debates in the American presidential elections has seen ratings soar.’
      • ‘This is yet another event to have seen an increase in number as last year were just four teams entered.’
      • ‘This Monday sees publication of a draft bill for reform of the House of Lords, with support from senior figures in all three parties.’
      • ‘This month sees the first professional pantomime at Leatherhead Theatre in seven years.’
      • ‘Every day that passes sees the obituary columns of broadsheet newspapers bring us more examples.’
      • ‘Next Saturday afternoon sees the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster, the last Group 1 race of the British season.’
      • ‘That year saw the first Festival with Lord Harewood as director, and the featured composer was Schoenberg.’
      • ‘The last few days of this election campaign will now see a bitter fight over the most hated man in America.’
      • ‘This year sees the club celebrating both the Centenary of Rotary International and the 40th Anniversary of the North Cotswolds Club.’
      • ‘Saturday night sees Keane play at Southampton Guildhall.’
      • ‘Tomorrow sees the first Emergency 999 event, which will see York cycling paramedic Mark Inman put to the test.’
      • ‘The 15 months since that night have seen the Libertines break up, make up and almost fall apart.’
      • ‘Mr Frost said the school had chosen an integrated approach to IT, which sees computers incorporated into every lesson, rather than segregated off into a separate suite.’
      • ‘The final move sees operations manager King take up the post of Brentford's general manager.’
  • 4Meet (someone one knows) socially or by chance.

    ‘I saw Colin last night’
    • ‘It may be their last chance to see each other, as Mr Spence feels he will be unable to undertake such a long journey again.’
    • ‘I looking forward to seeing Mark as we've been apart for a few days.’
    • ‘But after months of inner turmoil during which she continued seeing Main only as a friend, she decided to bring matters to a head.’
    • ‘Working together is a happy experience, she says, and is often the only chance they get to see each other.’
    • ‘Never mind playing together, they've hardly had the chance to see each other.’
    encounter, run into, run across, stumble across, stumble on, happen on, chance on, come across
    meet up with, get together with, have a meeting, have meetings, meet socially, make a date with
    View synonyms
    1. 4.1Visit (a person or place)
      ‘I went to see Caroline’
      ‘see Alaska in style’
      • ‘I was nervous before seeing her, but the visit was wonderful, and very reassuring.’
      • ‘It was hardly a time for garden visiting on the day I drove down to Dixter to see him.’
      • ‘It was nice to get out of the city and have a chance to see some of the landscape that we had not yet seen.’
      • ‘Susan has now returned to England with him for a holiday and is travelling round the country seeing old friends.’
      • ‘But the experience of seeing the real Spain is well worth the little extra effort.’
      • ‘Instead, Bullock plans to head across the US on a tour bus, visiting places she's never seen.’
      • ‘He said he went round to see her the following day but could get no reply.’
      • ‘Annie wondered why he had bothered coming to see her at all, if he was just going to rush off after a minute or two like that.’
      • ‘There is so much to see that we went back the next day for another look.’
      • ‘He was raised by his sisters though his parents visited France regularly to see their children.’
      • ‘I went round to see him and he asked if I could play, and I said of course I would.’
      • ‘Her ties with Scotland have remained strong with yearly visits to see family and friends up North.’
      • ‘Battling for her country's interests was combined with a visit to Eton to see her son Nicky.’
      • ‘He had been intending to call round to see her, but it had been a vague intent, a low priority in his busy life.’
    2. 4.2Meet regularly as a boyfriend or girlfriend.
      ‘some guy she was seeing was messing her around’
      • ‘The only guy I was seeing regularly was Raul, the cashier at the local Mexican takeout joint.’
      • ‘We continued seeing each other and he did it again, so I ended the relationship with him and asked him to support his child and leave me alone.’
      • ‘She's still not seeing Lonny, the boyfriend she broke up with two novels back, but aches for him anyway.’
      • ‘She accepts, and before long they are seeing each other regularly and falling in love.’
      • ‘While we saw each other regularly, our lives changed and we grew apart.’
      • ‘For Jones, that summer would have meant spending long days with Mitchell, the boyfriend she had been seeing for three months.’
      • ‘It was purely circumstantial that I should meet them so soon after we started seeing each other, so I tried not to become too overwhelmed by the experience.’
      • ‘I began seeing one of them regularly and she said she wanted to stay with me.’
      • ‘I get told by some of our other mates she has been seeing other guys while her husband is offshore.’
      • ‘The couple have been on a string of dates in Australia and have continued seeing each other since they returned to Europe’
      • ‘She couldn't continue seeing both Cartwright men, it wasn't fair to any of them, including her.’
      • ‘Henry decides to continue seeing Lucy, in an attempt to find a way for her to remember him.’
      • ‘My boyfriend and I have been seeing each other exclusively for a year now, and we always use condoms when we have sex.’
      • ‘They had a summer of champagne, discreet suppers and walks by the Seine, but after that they saw each other less regularly.’
      go out with, be dating, take out, be someone's boyfriend, be someone's girlfriend, keep company with, go with, be with, court, have a fling with, have an affair with, dally with
      View synonyms
    3. 4.3Consult (a specialist or professional)
      ‘you may need to see a solicitor’
      • ‘I then had to wait in the queue with all the other patients to see the same consultant as them.’
      • ‘Kiwi keeper Mark Paston is seeing a specialist this week about a recurring stomach injury.’
      • ‘He thought that the bite was superficial and did not bother to see a doctor.’
      • ‘Lauren currently sees a physiotherapist who works on improving mobility in her weak limbs and also attends Chippenham's Springboard playgroup for children with special needs.’
      • ‘He only realised that he had dyscalculia when he went to see Professor Butterworth.’
      • ‘Most people's symptoms are so mild that they don't bother to see a doctor about them.’
      • ‘At school Shawn sees a physiotherapist and occupational therapist every day and has a speech and language therapist who work with and alongside the classroom staff.’
      • ‘He sees a specialist this week but it is thought the crack is already healing and it is hoped he will be fit for the start of the season next month.’
      • ‘Days before his death, Mrs West had gone to see a solicitor about beginning divorce proceedings.’
      • ‘Another injury victim, Andy Heald, sees a specialist this week over his sciatica, but former skipper Davey Luker is unlikely to feature again this season due to work commitments.’
      • ‘A pupil at Knowleswood School, Holme Wood, Courtney is seeing a specialist next Tuesday to see how her foot can be re-built.’
      consult, confer with, talk to, speak to, seek advice from, seek information from, take counsel from, have recourse to, call on, call in, turn to, ask
      View synonyms
    4. 4.4Give an interview or consultation to.
      ‘the doctor will see you now’
      • ‘But the GTC report says that not all teachers with voice problems will be seen by a specialist.’
      • ‘Ninety-nine per cent of patients are being seen inside the government target of four hours.’
      • ‘If your doctor or dentist refers you urgently with suspected cancer, you will be seen by a specialist within two weeks.’
      • ‘The average waiting time to be seen for a consultation is three years and that time is also getting longer.’
      • ‘He says it would reduce pressure on other practices in the town and give people more chance of being seen by a dentist.’
      • ‘He did not need hospital treatment but was seen by the police doctor.’
      • ‘Her mother wanted her to send for her father; he was sick and needed to be seen by a specialist soon.’
      • ‘Children registered at the practice will also continue to be seen under the NHS.’
      • ‘Such patients also need to be seen by specialists quickly and as often as needed.’
      • ‘It allows more patients to be seen sooner and this rapid assessment can lead to the earlier detection of serious illness.’
      • ‘We were unhappy about my wife not being seen by any professional during the first trimester.’
      • ‘It is understood the child will be undergoing surgery later today after being seen by a specialist.’
      • ‘Light suggests that consultants be made to see NHS patients for a minimum of three days a week.’
      • ‘With a sense of defeat, I included him on the list of patients to be seen by the consultant on his next ward round.’
      interview, give an interview to, give a consultation to, give an audience to, give a hearing to, receive, talk to
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  • 5 Escort or conduct (someone) to a specified place.

    ‘don't bother seeing me out’
    escort, accompany, show, walk, conduct, lead, take, usher, guide, shepherd, attend
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  • 6[no object] Ensure.

    ‘Lucy saw to it that everyone got enough to eat’
    [with clause] ‘see that no harm comes to him’
    • ‘Without more ado, he saw to it that our request was granted, personally organising delivery of the said jerseys.’
    • ‘I have had them checked to see that they are sound, and they are no danger to any structure.’
    • ‘He saw to it that the club's property and income was maintained at a time when other clubs were closing down.’
    • ‘In following up these, one would have to be careful to see that they were loops that led back to the main road and not dead ends.’
    • ‘He saw to it that all his children received a good education, and most of his daughters were to hold significant court positions.’
    • ‘But yesterday she saw to it that the rights of pensioners were kept in the public eye.’
    • ‘As I was getting off the train, I checked to see that my wallet was stuck in the top of my bag.’
    • ‘Trust and verify is drill jargon for reminding yourself to check the gun and see that it is not loaded.’
  • 7(in poker or brag) equal the bet of (an opponent) and require them to reveal their cards in order to determine who has won the hand.

    • ‘If the discarded cards were also equal in rank then the player who was seen wins the tie.’


  • as far as i can see

    • To the best of my understanding or belief.

      • ‘And yet, as far as I can see, none of them fits easily into the government's master plan for how we should live in the 21st century.’
      • ‘There is no evidence of disease as far as I can see.’
      • ‘But he has not actually physically killed or hit anybody as far as I can see.’
      • ‘The dark continent, as far as I can see, remains dark.’
      • ‘They do a good job as far as I can see and cost the hospital very little.’
  • as i see it

    • In my opinion.

      • ‘The challenge, as I see it, is to re-engineer education to support lifelong learning for all.’
      • ‘But, as I see it, that is not a reason for less interpretation, but more.’
      • ‘The main problem as I see it at the moment is technology.’
      • ‘Thank you for that, but there are two steps here, as I see it.’
      • ‘The real problem here, as I see it, is that some illegality may be involved.’
  • be seeing things

  • (i'll) be seeing you

  • have seen better days

    • Have declined from former prosperity or good condition.

      ‘this part of South London has seen better days’
      • ‘Few people would argue that, excellent as the quality of care may be, some of the wards have seen better days.’
      • ‘Now she is a housekeeper in the Nautilus, a south London building that has seen better days.’
      • ‘Scarborough, like many seaside towns, has seen better days - much better days.’
      • ‘It was part of a depleted dinner service that I've had since university, and which has seen better days.’
      • ‘Several thousand people descend on a small coastal resort that has seen better days.’
      • ‘The stone podium, having seen better days, crumbled into a pile of rocks.’
      • ‘The bus station here has seen better days, just eight featureless bus bays beneath an ancient roof, and thankfully due to be rebuilt before the end of the decade.’
      • ‘Although structurally sound the main hall has seen better days.’
      • ‘Sadly, our mowing machine has seen better days, and needs to be replaced.’
      • ‘It was just a basement flat that had seen better days.’
  • have seen it all before

    • Be very worldly or very familiar with a particular situation.

      ‘she had the cool, calm, and collected manner of someone who had seen it all before’
      • ‘After 12 Wimbledons, seven of which he's won, the 29-year-old has seen it all before.’
      • ‘He portrays the wise Detective Sean Harrison, who has seen it all before.’
      • ‘Don't be embarrassed if this happens to you; maternity staff have seen it all before!’
      • ‘They had seen it all before and were having no part of it.’
      • ‘I thought it was ironic because we had seen it all before.’
      • ‘Black, who has seen it all before, is much more cynical.’
      • ‘Their manager is one of the most experienced around and has seen it all before.’
      • ‘Washingtonians have seen it all before and they're not impressed.’
      • ‘I have seen it all before, and, based on the current form of both teams, I know when not to make glib forecasts.’
      • ‘They have that knowing look of people who have seen it all before.’
  • let me see

    • Said as an appeal for time to think before speaking.

      ‘Let me see, how old is he now?’
      think, consider, contemplate, reflect, deliberate, have a think, meditate, muse, ponder, cogitate, brood, agonize
      View synonyms
  • see a man about a dog

    • humorous Said euphemistically when leaving to go to the toilet or keep an undisclosed appointment.

      • ‘He was fond of a bit of enigma and loved to spin a bit of mystery about his pursuits; he would tell you he had been away on a bit of business, in a certain place, or going to see a man about a dog!’
      • ‘I must away now, to see a man about a dog.’
      • ‘The whole experience reminded me of my old man when he used to take us in the local boozer's beer garden and I'd have a cheeky slurp of this type of beer when he'd nipped off to ‘see a man about a dog’.’
  • see eye to eye

    • Be in full agreement.

      ‘the boss and I do not always see eye to eye’
      • ‘Gary didn't always see eye to eye with his father, and this is where the honesty shows through.’
      • ‘This is how countries stay allies even when they don't always see eye to eye.’
      • ‘We don't always quite see eye to eye on things and I've been so unutterably miserable this week that it's been making him unhappy to see me so unhappy.’
      • ‘Still, Europe does not always see eye to eye with the Americans.’
      • ‘They complement each other, even if they don't always see eye to eye.’
      • ‘He and I have had some great discussions over time even when we don't agree or see eye to eye on a subject.’
      • ‘It's an equation which means politicians and economists won't always see eye to eye.’
      • ‘Developers and the government may not always see eye to eye but they agree on the need to provide affordable housing for key workers.’
      • ‘We're going through the motions right now of just getting agreements to try to see eye to eye on these very essential practical arrangements.’
      • ‘Even though Nick and John did not always see eye to eye, I know that they respected one other as politicians who were aware of their own weaknesses and strengths.’
      agree, concur, be in agreement, be of the same mind, be of the same opinion, be in accord, be in sympathy, sympathize, be united, think as one
      be on the same wavelength, get on, get along, feel a rapport
      View synonyms
  • see here!

    • Said to emphasize a statement or command or to express a protest.

      ‘now see here, you're going to get it back for me!’
      • ‘‘Now see here!’ exclaimed Mick, offended.’
  • see one's way clear to do (or doing) something

    • Find that it is possible or convenient to do something (often used in polite requests)

      ‘I wonder if sometime you could see your way clear to signing this?’
      • ‘And if you can see your way clear to granting us all a double portion of your spirit, we could sure use it!’
      • ‘I do hope you'll see your way clear to paying us another visit at Chez Marcel.’
      • ‘We trust that non-aligned veterans will see their way clear to show support and strength and march this year with us.’
      • ‘It was very useful when I had to call the council recently and ask that, seeing as I was paying them council tax to collect my rubbish and all, could they see their way clear to actually doing so?’
      • ‘I'm sure it is possible for the Minister to see her way clear to bring this hundred or so people into Australia and give them a chance in Australia of building a new life.’
      • ‘I would, however, be grateful if in view of everything I have written you would now see your way clear to modifying your present logo.’
      • ‘I should state from the outset that I do not support the bill, and cannot see my way clear to do so, even with the proposed amendments.’
      • ‘I wish the industry well, but unfortunately I really cannot see my way clear to supporting the bill on this occasion.’
      • ‘‘Perhaps we could see our way clear to make you a loan of, say, $500,000,’ he said carefully.’
      • ‘It is interesting that you say you could see your way clear to helping this couple, were they in a jam, but you no longer wish to socialize.’
  • see someone coming

    • Recognize a person who can be fooled or deceived.

      • ‘They must have had very big windows in the shop you bought them from, Councillor Orrell, because they really saw you coming.’
      • ‘They will tell you if the price you intend to pay for the house is reasonable - or if the owner saw you coming.’
  • see something coming

    • Foresee or be prepared for an event, typically an unpleasant one.

      • ‘Louise with her big mouth told him on Sunday so hopefully he saw it coming and prepared himself.’
      • ‘The dinosaurs could not see their nemesis coming, but we can.’
      • ‘In this film, that trust is broken and only one man, alone against the system, sees it coming.’
      • ‘Meyerson and his team saw the problem coming quite a few years ago and prepared for it in advance.’
  • see someone damned first

    • informal Said when angrily refusing to do what a person wants.

  • see someone right

    • informal Make sure that a person is appropriately rewarded or looked after.

      ‘tell the landlord I sent you—he'll see you right’
      • ‘She will watch them, nurture them and see them right.’
      • ‘But Peter has amazing powers of recovery and another month could see him right.’
      • ‘Can I give you two hundred and see you right for the rest on Monday?’
      • ‘A course of physiotherapy and rest should see him right, but he is ruled out of the remaining league matches.’
      • ‘It seems that he did that out of compassion for her, and also because she assured him that she would see him right.’
      • ‘Here's my selection to see you right over the holiday.’
      • ‘History has clearly established that equities provide the best long-term returns, and well managed pension funds will see you right.’
      • ‘Say what you like, but that's real country humour and, knowing him, I'm sure he would see them right after having his joke.’
      • ‘I got a couple of the Prayer Ministry team to pray with me about my foot and just had to trust that God would see me right!’
      • ‘If you're looking for good food minus a stuffy atmosphere, Cafe 1 will see you right.’
  • see sense (or reason)

    • Realize that one is wrong and start acting sensibly.

      ‘our aim is to make them see sense and leave us alone’
      • ‘I just hope they see sense before it's too late and throw these plans out.’
      • ‘I have to hope that everybody sees sense and it doesn't come to court.’
      • ‘We will be keeping in regular touch with their shareholders, and hope they will see sense and relent.’
      • ‘One can only hope that Leeds sees sense and changes its plans.’
      • ‘He said: ‘It is thanks to everyone who has worked extremely hard and thank you to the councillor for seeing reason.’’
      • ‘The justice minister must now see sense and stop this local problem becoming a national disaster.’
      • ‘He added: ‘I hope the Government sees sense and rejects graphic warnings on the packet.’’
      • ‘We're hoping that the employers see sense and will behave like honourable people and give us our long-overdue pay rise.’
      • ‘We just hope they sort it out quickly, someone has got to see sense.’
      • ‘If anyone has any information about these fires, or knows anyone involved please try to make them see sense.’
  • see the back of

    • informal Be rid of (an unwanted person or thing)

      ‘we were always glad to see the back of her’
      • ‘They will be glad to see the back of him in Edinburgh.’
      • ‘Although villagers are desperate for a new hall, they will be sad to see the back of the old one.’
      • ‘This New Year's Eve I was alone, glad to see the back of 2004 and preparing to move forward in the coming year.’
      • ‘By the sounds of it, they're glad to see the back of him.’
      • ‘But when they leave most are relieved to see the back of them.’
      • ‘When are we going to see the back of that thoroughly misleading statistic?’
      • ‘I won't be sorry to see the back of all these roadworks so we can all go about our daily business.’
      • ‘As I said, you'd think I'd be happy to see the back of it.’
      • ‘Everyone seemed glad to see the back of the teal jerseys.’
      • ‘He's a fool and we can't wait to see the back of him.’
  • seeing that

    • Considering the fact that.

      ‘seeing that I caught one of the last trains of the night, it was quite crowded’
      • ‘Seeing that it was a holiday celebration, I was expecting a crowd.’
      • ‘Seeing that he only started 10 games, it is hardly surprising that the popular forward is growing increasingly frustrated by his lack of first-team action.’
      • ‘Seeing that their admission plans are putting weight on the essay, it seems that essays are important to these universities.’
      • ‘Seeing that all my students are here, you'll have to take the last empty seat in the back.’
      • ‘Seeing that I am merely 20 years of age, I don't think I can be a diva.’
  • see you (later)

    • informal Said when parting from someone.

      • ‘‘Oh, right,’ Nora nodded, ‘Well, I'll see you later then, I suppose.’’
      • ‘David went out and said, ‘I will see you later, mam’, and he never came back.’
      • ‘‘Well, I guess I'll see you later then,’ he said as way of goodbye and stepped back.’
      • ‘I've got another class, so I'll see you later.’
      • ‘John's reply on the phone sounded normal: ‘Fine, see you later.’’
      • ‘When it comes to it, it will be cheerio, see you later and off we go.’
      • ‘‘I'll see you later, Mr Cowan,’ he said meaningfully to Ralph.’
      • ‘The cynical attitude now is, ‘you've done your bit now off you go, see you later, stick them in a home.’’
      • ‘‘I'll see you later,’ he said as he stormed towards the door, ‘when you're in a better humour.’’
      • ‘I'll see you later, I'm off back to the station.’
  • we'll see about that

    • Said when angrily contradicting or challenging an assertion.

      ‘Oh, you think it's funny, do you? We'll see about that!’
      • ‘As for ‘it's interactive in ways legal stations can't match ’, well, we'll see about that.’
      • ‘They seem determined to slash the salary cap but we'll see about that.’
      • ‘‘Yes, well, we'll see about that,’ she said, fumbling for the door handle.’
      • ‘I laughed to myself, almost hysterically, we'll see about that.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • see about (or see to)

    • Attend to or deal with.

      ‘he had gone to see about a job he had heard of’
      ‘I'll see to Dad's tea’
      • ‘If the Executive is serious about delivering on its projects it should see about copying the example for riverside regeneration set in England.’
      • ‘Would-be student Melissa had come from Newcastle to see about a place at Leeds University.’
      • ‘Think about quality over quantity, and see about improving our parks.’
      • ‘I shall have to see about reducing their number before we move, donating the surplus to a charity shop.’
      • ‘I'll have to see about arranging for those selected to attend class down at the school.’
      • ‘In the meantime I'll see about sorting out a couple of guest writers to keep you entertained.’
      • ‘He would look up army friends, see about a job, then return.’
      • ‘When I have some time I'm going to see about stripping out absolutely as much text as I can, to see how far it can be pushed.’
      • ‘Then I suppose I have to see about going back to work too.’
      • ‘I also want to get over to the museum and see about doing some research on him.’
      arrange, make arrangements for, see to, deal with, take care of, look after, attend to, sort out
      organize, be responsible for, take responsibility for, be in charge of, direct
      attend to, deal with, see about, take care of, look after, sort out, fix up, get together, organize, arrange, be responsible for, be in charge of, direct, run, manage, conduct, administer, administrate
      View synonyms
  • see after

    • Take care of; look after.

      • ‘He was seeing after some of his animals when the lightning struck.’
      • ‘Watson noticed his condition and told him to see after it.’
      • ‘The men do have a benefit in having a wife, having someone who sees after the home and the children and so forth.’
      • ‘He is right in his comments that there is nothing wrong in him being leader, seeing after matters outside of the Parliament.’
  • see something of

    • 1Spend a specified amount of time with (someone) socially.

      ‘we saw a lot of the Bakers’
      • ‘Jesper, the Swede who sees a lot of Langer on the Tour, is another who is in awe of his achievements.’
      • ‘With him taking Easter off, the keeper and the club captain are going to be seeing a lot of each other next weekend.’
      • ‘But after their first ‘alone’ date, they saw ever-increasing amounts of each other.’
      • ‘She's 18 and not working at the moment so I'll be seeing a fair bit of her, though she spends most of her time with her boyfriend.’
      1. 1.1Spend some time in (a place)
        ‘I want to see something of those countries’
  • see someone off

    • 1Accompany a person who is leaving to their point of departure.

      ‘they came to the station to see him off’
      • ‘Judith's mother, Fran, had accompanied them to the airport to see them off.’
      • ‘I saw him off from a Tokyo station; he was very quiet and rather sad.’
      • ‘Her parents were too busy to see her off at the train station, although she was likely to be gone for years.’
      • ‘Upon returning from a voyage, travelers are greeted with a garland of flowers placed around their necks; they are seen off the same way before departures.’
      • ‘The Professor sees her off at the station early the next morning.’
      • ‘Karina and I both thought of seeing Gillis off at the station since he was going home to Sydney that night.’
      • ‘I remember the last time I saw her, she was not too well but she insisted upon coming along to the bus station to see us off.’
      • ‘He went to the airport to personally receive me on arrival and also see me off on my departure.’
      • ‘They gathered in the street outside, but it was too early for a flag-waving crowd to see them off.’
      • ‘The morning of her departure arrived, and the entire town was there to see her off.’
    • 2Repel an invader or intruder.

      ‘the dogs saw them off in no time’
      • ‘She was frustrated because a large ginger cat was parading itself on the patio in the full knowledge that she could not get out to see him off.’
      • ‘They knew we were watching them, waiting for the raid; we knew we were there, and it was just a matter of not backing down, and seeing them off.’
      1. 2.1informal Deal with the threat posed by.
        ‘they saw off Cambridge in the FA Cup’
        • ‘Ideally we need to see them off early and get the win that would rubber-stamp our position in the League once and for all.’
        • ‘Footballers aren't known as tennis players, and I was pretty certain I'd be good enough to see them off.’
        • ‘Although this must rank as one of the most feeble Welsh sides ever to cross the Severn, Scotland had enough to see them off in the end.’
        • ‘The number eight seed was also stunned as she was seen off in straight sets.’
        • ‘It proved enough to eventually see Scotland off without undue complications.’
  • see someone out

    • (of an article) last longer than the remainder of someone's life.

      ‘no point in fixing the gate, it'll see me out’
  • see something out

    • 1Come to the end of a period of time or undertaking.

      ‘I could well see out my career in Italy’
      • ‘Pollock was caught at backward point, but they saw the remaining balls out without losing their wickets.’
      • ‘They have been an integral part of the squad for the last two years and, although their careers are coming to an end, it's great that they're seeing them out with their home-town club.’
      • ‘I don't think that Kevin is doing anything other than he should do at the moment and that's seeing his contract out.’
      • ‘He has two years left on his deal, and intends to see them out at the very least.’
      • ‘We'll be seeing the week out with these betting odds, starting today with the chances that they have of getting a number one record in 2006.’
      • ‘I have three and a half years left on my contract here and I am expecting to see them out.’
      • ‘Sam has done a fantastic job and we hope he stays to see his contract out at Bolton.’
      • ‘If the supporters are being honest they can see that I give 100 per cent and I'm not just here to see my contract out and then leave.’
      • ‘The speculation will now flare again over O'Neill being headhunted as the replacement to Fergie, whether he goes in the summer, or in the unlikely event that he sees his contract out.’
    • 2Continue to work on or be involved with a task or project until it is completed.

      • ‘They gave me the option of finishing up today; or seeing it out until Wednesday of next week.’
      • ‘We work on possession drills every day in training and have got to find the composure to see games out and kill teams off.’
      • ‘If he sees his current deal out, the hugely popular figure with the Aberdeen legions would be in line to be the club's first testimonial recipient since the 1990s.’
      • ‘Whether she has the patience to see it out remains to be seen.’
  • see over

    • Tour and examine (a building or site)

      ‘Bridget asked if he'd like to see over the house’
      inspect, view, see round, look around, look round, look through, have a look around, have a look round, have a tour of, go on a tour of, tour, survey, scrutinize
      View synonyms
  • see through

    • Not be deceived by; detect the true nature of.

      ‘he can see through her lies and deceptions’
      • ‘If you're not comfortable doing something, people can always see through it.’
      • ‘They used every trick in the book to justify the unjustifiable and the people saw through their lies, half truths and dissimulations.’
      • ‘Of course, the electorate are increasingly seeing through the lies and deceit of Labour.’
      • ‘Although the others see through him, and his lies, Kirk persists in keeping the pretence going.’
      • ‘It's perfectly safe to have freedom of speech in Oxford, because we're smart enough to see through them.’
      • ‘At least the majority of people saw through their lies and believe the truth I was telling.’
      • ‘Hooray to our city council for seeing through the duplicity, but what about all the others who haven't?’
      • ‘Only by knowing his true nature was it possible to see through his gentlemanly veil.’
      • ‘It amazes me how they can obfuscate or even lie and believe people won't see through them.’
      • ‘He is not in the least impressed by him; and when you stop being afraid of Gordon you very quickly see through him.’
      not be deceived by, not be taken in by, be wise to, get the measure of, have the measure of, read like a book, fathom, penetrate, realize, understand
      not fall for, have someone's number, know someone's game, know someone's little game
      View synonyms
  • see someone through

    • Support a person for the duration of a difficult time.

      • ‘I'm glad that you have hope and an optimistic outlook because that's so important and will see you through.’
      • ‘Initially, it was the support of my parents which saw me through.’
      • ‘Terri showed a determination and drive from childhood that was to see her through difficult periods of her life.’
      • ‘There were many times that the collective will-to-win of the supporters would see you through because they don't accept second best down there, and they're not slow to tell you if you are second best.’
      • ‘I'd like to thank all of my supporters and my family who ran a great campaign; I was written off but there was great local support there and that saw me through.’
      • ‘Spielberg obviously conceived this story as a fantasy in which a decent man's goodness sees him through; but even fantasies need their own internal logic.’
      • ‘Last week, she agreed to share her grief with Guardian readers, and is appealing for professional help to see her through this difficult time.’
      • ‘Let us hope that going beyond empty rhetoric, nations are becoming indeed united in the effort to see Iraq through its difficult transition.’
      • ‘There's a lot of therapy-group talk about how love can see you through, about how things can only get better, about the fact that, if you do your best, nobody can take that away from you.’
      • ‘Fortunately, my team was strong enough to see me through.’
      sustain, encourage, buoy up, cheer along, keep going, keep someone's head above water, tide over
      support, give strength to, be a source of strength to, be a tower of strength to, comfort, assist
      View synonyms
  • see something through

    • Persist with an undertaking until it is completed.

      • ‘The rest would stay on to see the factory through to its closure in the second half of 2005.’
      • ‘They know that we must see this thing through, until we have a reliable guarantee up to 2010 and beyond.’
      • ‘In the coming months, he will have to retain the support of the main sporting organisations if he is to follow orders and see the task through.’
      • ‘Dutiful as ever, he will remain at Carlton until January to see the deal through.’
      • ‘We're going to accept the risks, and we're going to see it through until the job is done.’
      • ‘It's a time to be staying there and seeing it through.’
      • ‘She has stayed on longer than planned to see the club through its move to the new facilities.’
      • ‘Bush, he said, deserves the admiration of Americans for being willing to undertake the mission and see it through to the end.’
      • ‘Investors should also stay patient and see their scheme through to maturity to avoid heavy withdrawal penalties.’
      • ‘But the Dumbarton MSP will probably have to stay in place to see the campaign through.’
      bring to completion, continue to the end, bring to a finish
      persevere with, persist with, carry on with, go on with, keep at, keep on with, keep going with, keep up, not give up with, follow through, press ahead with, press on with, plod on through, plough on through, stay with
      not take no for an answer
      plug away at, peg away at, stick at, soldier on with, stick something out, stick to one's guns, hang in there
      View synonyms


Old English sēon, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zien and German sehen, perhaps from an Indo-European root shared by Latin sequi follow.




Main definitions of see in English

: see1see2



  • The place in which a cathedral church stands, identified as the seat of authority of a bishop or archbishop.

    • ‘In his last years he wanted to resign his see to become a Cistercian himself, but was refused.’
    • ‘The title of archbishop ceased to be used for these two sees of the episcopal church in Scotland after the revolution of 1688.’
    • ‘Responding to long-reiterated complaints, the Council of Trent had insisted that ordinaries reside in their sees.’
    • ‘In ecclesiastical affairs, the see of Canterbury claimed a comparable hegemony.’
    • ‘The sees of Edinburgh and Saint Andrews in the east, and of Glasgow in the west have been co-equals since the Middle Ages.’
    • ‘The sees which they founded in Meissen, Magdeburg, and Merseburg all became major vineyard owners.’
    diocese, bishopric
    View synonyms


Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French sed, from Latin sedes seat, from sedere sit.