Main definitions of see in English

: see1see2



[with object]
  • 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’
    • ‘Police are appealing for any witnesses who saw the accident to contact them.’
    • ‘She met the Pope during his 1982 visit and later saw him at the Vatican.’
    • ‘For as far as she could see in either direction the traffic on the motorway was motionless.’
    • ‘It worries me that people living in those flats could see into the bedrooms.’
    • ‘He opened his blue eyes and, seeing Wesley, grinned with a suddenness that was startling.’
    • ‘I laughed and pushed him away as I saw the familiar blue pick up truck coming down the road.’
    • ‘From here you have a view over the whole mountain, and far in the distance you can even see Sofia.’
    • ‘While he was inside the shop, he saw his dark blue car being driven away at speed.’
    • ‘He removed his sunglasses and I saw his dark blue eyes and the heavy bags under them.’
    • ‘There were a number of other witnesses who saw the incident from fairly nearby.’
    • ‘Next to the table, she sees her favorite light blue dress draped over a chair.’
    • ‘Behind the counter there was a doorway through which Mike could see into the kitchen.’
    • ‘On a clear day the hills of the Isle of Man can be seen in the distance.’
    • ‘He was last seen wearing a blue jacket, white T-shirt, black tracksuit trousers and trainers.’
    • ‘He has often been seen wearing a blue and red hooded top and white trainers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It comes apart, allowing us to see into the interior of each of the three floors.’
    • ‘I have actually seen people walk past my house with a full wheelbarrow.’
    • ‘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.’
    discern, perceive, glimpse, catch a glimpse of, get a glimpse of, spot, notice, catch sight of, sight
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But I saw that I was speaking to a man who was a shadow of his usual self.’
      • ‘Take a closer look and you'll see that it's also a wonderful time-saver when it comes to typing.’
      • ‘From her expression, I could see that she was not sure why we were talking so much to her.’
      • ‘Everybody could see that he could train a winner, good winners, but this was a different level of the game.’
      • ‘You only had to look at the coach skulking up and down the touchline throughout the second half to see that.’
      • ‘She saw that he had written the word Love before his name, but cancelled it out messily.’
      • ‘He saw that his father noticed that to, but unlike Bertie he was not happy about it.’
      • ‘Once he sees that she has noticed, he decides that maybe he won't bother to cry after all.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I see that you e-mailed on Tuesday, so I assume that you have managed to hold her off until now.’
      • ‘And if you read your policy you will see that the final payout was not guaranteed.’
      • ‘She only needed to look into the black, pupilless eyes of her brother to see that.’
      • ‘He was a most remarkable man, and I believe you can see that in the painting.’
      • ‘Just from pure observation we have seen what have been till now undescribed behaviours.’
      • ‘When my pudding arrived I was at first disappointed to see that the custard was just a decorative swirl.’
      • ‘His sleeves are turned under to fit - and he sees that I've noticed.’
      • ‘You would have to experience the joy on their faces when they see that we really care for them.’
    2. 1.2 Be a spectator of (a film, game, or other entertainment); watch.
      ‘I went to see King Lear at the Old Vic’
      • ‘After seeing the film once, watch it again and pay close attention to Bacri's acting choices.’
      • ‘However, if you want a real game of the people, go and see some Rugby League.’
      • ‘Having not seen the film, nor having any intention of doing so, I couldn't say.’
      • ‘Doors will open an hour before race time so spectators can see some live entertainment.’
      • ‘This is the main reason why going to see short films should be just as easy as catching the latest blockbuster.’
      • ‘Two hours after seeing the film, which highlights spring to mind?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After watching The Sun, I'm looking forward to seeing the previous films.’
      • ‘It was like when I saw the film Magnolia recently and cried for the last hour because I thought it was so beautiful.’
      • ‘I implore everyone who hasn't seen these three films to remedy that immediately.’
      • ‘I only read the book last year but Sunday was the first time I had seen the film.’
      • ‘Now call me old fashioned, but I've seen the film and it's not for the faint-hearted, let alone a child.’
      • ‘Sure, I jumped a little watching Scream, but I've never seen a film that has cost me a night's sleep.’
      • ‘Censors at the British Board of Film Classification have not yet seen the film and are refusing to comment.’
      • ‘I watched them prepare for a game in Canberra, saw the game and then watched their recovery in Melbourne.’
      • ‘I saw this film several times, just to watch audience reactions to a particular scene near the end of the film.’
      • ‘I'd already seen the film at the cinema and I own the DVD but I wanted a fuller picture.’
      • ‘It's not necessary to have seen the film in order to appreciate the music.’
      • ‘Almost everyone has seen this film and felt like they have been punched in the stomach at its conclusion.’
      watch, look at, view, observe, catch
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3in 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She knew nothing about the outdoor life but once he talked about it, he could see she understood his passion for it.’
    • ‘When you stop to consider, you see that it has a lot of the elements that make up a good line.’
    • ‘I can see that, confronted with two intruders in the middle of the night, you might lift a weapon in panic.’
    • ‘When we have this tool, you will see that Americans will care more about the world.’
    • ‘On my recollections I cannot see how we can consider voting for such a man.’
    • ‘It sure was great to see that this was the problem and to now know exactly how it feels when this is the problem.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If we look more closely at the figures we see that ethnic minorities are mainly concentrated in the lower ranks.’
    • ‘With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that the disruption was permanent.’
    • ‘They have no concept of what America is made of and even now they won't see that.’
    • ‘In considering citizenship, we saw that it entailed more than simply a formal badge of membership in a national community.’
    • ‘If we look closely at our mind we can see that it is made up of individual thoughts.’
    • ‘The audience can see that he is acting the part of a gay man and can also see what it costs him.’
    • ‘The flowers are getting tatty and I've driven by there often enough to see that.’
    • ‘Yet somehow the worthies who distribute our lottery money could not see that.’
    • ‘But the morose teenager could not see that he was doing anything wrong or illegal.’
    understand, grasp, comprehend, follow, take in, realize, appreciate, recognize, work out, get the drift of, make out, conceive, perceive, fathom, fathom out, become cognizant of
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1with 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 will be interesting to see whether the Ministers will have the courage to embrace this emotive issue.’
      • ‘We are undertaking a review to see if we can consider making any savings.’
      • ‘Out came the veterinary textbook to see whether guinea pigs can harbour scabies.’
      • ‘It will be interesting to see whether an appeal by Pringle succeeds to any extent.’
      • ‘It will be interesting to see whether this starts a spate of controversial videos in the next few months.’
      • ‘It'll be interesting to see whether you still find them similar as the story continues.’
      • ‘Then we might see whether or not oil and gas producers charge less to their own countries than they do to the export market.’
      • ‘He looked so set on some course of destruction that I decided to follow him to see what the outcome would be.’
      • ‘‘If it's a success then we will consider seeing if it's feasible to have another one,’ she said.’
      • ‘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 this will encourage them to back this most radical option.’
      • ‘I then considered both points to see whether their placing in the chart was appropriate.’
      • ‘It will be interesting to see whether the tradition of handing down family photos survives.’
      • ‘Come to think of it, it would be interesting to see whether such theses are remotely true or not.’
      • ‘It will be interesting to see whether the BBC will consider them for an audio medium.’
      • ‘It will be interesting for you to see whether your own approach took account of these points.’
      • ‘This was reason enough for me to investigate and see whether I would agree with him.’
      • ‘It will be interesting to see how the club get on if they are given a new location and a new identity.’
      • ‘At the time, police launched an investigation to see whether Miss Reid was breaking the law.’
      • ‘So, with all due respect, let's see what the outcome is before passing judgement.’
      find out, discover, learn, ascertain, get to know, determine, establish
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2with object and adverbial Regard in a specified way.
      ‘he saw himself as a good teacher’
      ‘you and I see things differently’
      • ‘Matt sees the Party as being split between four groups.’
      • ‘Ryan sees Frannie as socially withdrawn yet privately self-confident.’
      • ‘Taking a step back for a moment, a vertically integrated business sees itself quite differently to a functional or divisionalized organization.’
      • ‘I think the baths will be seen as very different from everything else.’
      • ‘Sweeney sees this as a reflection of the far greater career choice available to graduates.’
      • ‘It sees itself as part of Europe, but also regards itself, and its workers in Western Europe, as a victim of systematic discrimination.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He sees himself as special, but to be that he has to get results.’
      • ‘Otherwise, this public consultation will be seen as a cosmetic exercise.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The event was seen as a big success and it is hoped to repeat it all next year.’
      • ‘The issue at stake in all of this is the way in which society treats those who are seen as different.’
      • ‘The medical profession sees itself, and is seen, as expert in understanding and managing disease.’
      • ‘Decades later, these riots generally came to be seen as understandable upsurges against suffering.’
      • ‘He sees this severest of slumps slightly differently.’
      • ‘What if everyone sees everything differently?’
      • ‘Their situation was seen as a test case in an issue which will eventually affect dozens of homes on the Marine Valley estate.’
      • ‘He saw himself as a professor of the holy scriptures and a teacher of the church.’
      • ‘This was equally popular with the people of Ancient Rome and going to a race was seen as a family event.’
      regard, consider, think of, deem, judge, count, see, view, take, reckon, believe to be
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3see something in Find good or attractive qualities in (someone)
      ‘I don't know what I see in you’
      • ‘For me, the idea is to look at someone and see that they can see in me something that's in them.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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. 2.4 View or predict as a possibility; envisage.
      ‘I can't see him earning any more anywhere else’
      • ‘The hybrid power station is being seen as a possible alternative to the increasingly unpopular wind farms.’
      • ‘He sees this as a possibility for minivan and SUV owners as well.’
      • ‘The only way it will matter is if they stop Real from scoring - and I can't really see that.’
      • ‘Chirac perhaps sees a coming Muslim future or, at least, a coming Muslim resurgence.’
      foresee, predict, forecast, prophesy, prognosticate, anticipate, envisage, envision, picture, visualize
      View synonyms
    5. 2.5 Used 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’
    • ‘That's so cool, and I can understand why after seeing this for the first time earlier on.’
    • ‘I do love my husband but I am now seeing a very different side of him.’
    • ‘As an Irishman living abroad I've seen the changes in Ireland happening stage by stage.’
    • ‘I am going to be seeing a totally different way of life.’
    • ‘It's not something you ever want to see but you can understand why they took the foot off the gas.’
    • ‘It was an important political experience because we saw first-hand what life under Communism was like.’
    • ‘The real measure of the GSC's impact will perhaps not be seen for another 10 years.’
    • ‘Only if McConnell is bold enough to do this will we start to see real change in schools.’
    • ‘But when we finish and stand back, it's impossible to understand what we're seeing.’
    • ‘The event may have seen changes in its history, but the prestigious trophy is still as sought after as ever.’
    • ‘The chief constable has made pledges in this regard and we want to see those kept.’
    • ‘Experts on such matters say they have rarely seen such a comprehensive and damning judgement.’
    • ‘I would like to see a more balanced view among church people for John's crime.’
    • ‘Never before have I seen such a poor understanding of the highway code.’
    • ‘We haven't seen the latest figures for working families tax credit take-up.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘One is also seeing some quite sharp differences there.’
    • ‘I am therefore pleased to see that serious consideration is being given to the provision of a skate park.’
    • ‘He would love nothing more than to see Stanley earn a place in the Conference.’
    • ‘We support change and want to see a situation that is fast, efficient and safe.’
    1. 3.1 Be the time or setting of (something)
      ‘the 1970s saw the beginning of a technological revolution’
      • ‘Saturday night sees Keane play at Southampton Guildhall.’
      • ‘This week also sees a special free Christmas raffle with fabulous prizes on offer.’
      • ‘The final move sees operations manager King take up the post of Brentford's general manager.’
      • ‘This month sees the first professional pantomime at Leatherhead Theatre in seven years.’
      • ‘This is yet another event to have seen an increase in number as last year were just four teams entered.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Every day that passes sees the obituary columns of broadsheet newspapers bring us more examples.’
      • ‘This Monday sees publication of a draft bill for reform of the House of Lords, with support from senior figures in all three parties.’
      • ‘Next Saturday afternoon sees the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster, the last Group 1 race of the British season.’
      • ‘The last few days of this election campaign will now see a bitter fight over the most hated man in America.’
      • ‘The dramatic reconstruction sees Cornwall's tropical gardens impersonating the sweltering heat of Darien.’
      • ‘That year saw the first Festival with Lord Harewood as director, and the featured composer was Schoenberg.’
      • ‘Wednesday also sees the Community Association meeting.’
      • ‘The series of television debates in the American presidential elections has seen ratings soar.’
      • ‘This year sees the club celebrating both the Centenary of Rotary International and the 40th Anniversary of the North Cotswolds Club.’
      • ‘Tomorrow sees the first Emergency 999 event, which will see York cycling paramedic Mark Inman put to the test.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 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.’
    • ‘Never mind playing together, they've hardly had the chance to see each other.’
    • ‘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.’
    meet, meet by chance, encounter, run into, run across, stumble across, stumble on, happen on, chance on, come across
    meet, meet by arrangement, meet up with, get together with, have a meeting, have meetings, meet socially, make a date with
    View synonyms
    1. 4.1 Visit (a person or place)
      ‘I went to see Caroline’
      ‘see Alaska in style’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Instead, Bullock plans to head across the US on a tour bus, visiting places she's never seen.’
      • ‘I went round to see him and he asked if I could play, and I said of course I would.’
      • ‘But the experience of seeing the real Spain is well worth the little extra effort.’
      • ‘He was raised by his sisters though his parents visited France regularly to see their children.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He said he went round to see her the following day but could get no reply.’
      • ‘Battling for her country's interests was combined with a visit to Eton to see her son Nicky.’
      • ‘It was hardly a time for garden visiting on the day I drove down to Dixter to see him.’
      • ‘There is so much to see that we went back the next day for another look.’
      • ‘I was nervous before seeing her, but the visit was wonderful, and very reassuring.’
      • ‘He had been intending to call round to see her, but it had been a vague intent, a low priority in his busy life.’
      • ‘Her ties with Scotland have remained strong with yearly visits to see family and friends up North.’
    2. 4.2 Meet regularly as a boyfriend or girlfriend.
      ‘some guy she was seeing was messing her around’
      • ‘She's still not seeing Lonny, the boyfriend she broke up with two novels back, but aches for him anyway.’
      • ‘I began seeing one of them regularly and she said she wanted to stay with me.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The couple have been on a string of dates in Australia and have continued seeing each other since they returned to Europe’
      • ‘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 couldn't continue seeing both Cartwright men, it wasn't fair to any of them, including her.’
      • ‘The only guy I was seeing regularly was Raul, the cashier at the local Mexican takeout joint.’
      • ‘I get told by some of our other mates she has been seeing other guys while her husband is offshore.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘For Jones, that summer would have meant spending long days with Mitchell, the boyfriend she had been seeing for three months.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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. 4.3 Consult (a specialist or professional)
      ‘you may need to see a solicitor’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘He only realised that he had dyscalculia when he went to see Professor Butterworth.’
      • ‘He thought that the bite was superficial and did not bother to see a doctor.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Most people's symptoms are so mild that they don't bother to see a doctor about them.’
      • ‘Kiwi keeper Mark Paston is seeing a specialist this week about a recurring stomach injury.’
      • ‘A pupil at Knowleswood School, Holme Wood, Courtney is seeing a specialist next Tuesday to see how her foot can be re-built.’
      • ‘Days before his death, Mrs West had gone to see a solicitor about beginning divorce proceedings.’
      • ‘I then had to wait in the queue with all the other patients to see the same consultant as them.’
      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. 4.4 Give an interview or consultation to.
      ‘the doctor will see you now’
      • ‘Her mother wanted her to send for her father; he was sick and needed to be seen by a specialist soon.’
      • ‘The average waiting time to be seen for a consultation is three years and that time is also getting longer.’
      • ‘Children registered at the practice will also continue to be seen under the NHS.’
      • ‘We were unhappy about my wife not being seen by any professional during the first trimester.’
      • ‘Such patients also need to be seen by specialists quickly and as often as needed.’
      • ‘Ninety-nine per cent of patients are being seen inside the government target of four hours.’
      • ‘Light suggests that consultants be made to see NHS patients for a minimum of three days a week.’
      • ‘He says it would reduce pressure on other practices in the town and give people more chance of being seen by a dentist.’
      • ‘But the GTC report says that not all teachers with voice problems will be seen by a specialist.’
      • ‘He did not need hospital treatment but was seen by the police doctor.’
      • ‘It is understood the child will be undergoing surgery later today after being seen by a specialist.’
      • ‘If your doctor or dentist refers you urgently with suspected cancer, you will be seen by a specialist within two weeks.’
      • ‘With a sense of defeat, I included him on the list of patients to be seen by the consultant on his next ward round.’
      • ‘It allows more patients to be seen sooner and this rapid assessment can lead to the earlier detection of serious illness.’
      interview, give an interview to, give a consultation to, give an audience to, give a hearing to, receive, talk to
      View synonyms
  • 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
    View synonyms
  • 6no 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.’
    • ‘As I was getting off the train, I checked to see that my wallet was stuck in the top of my bag.’
    • ‘But yesterday she saw to it that the rights of pensioners were kept in the public eye.’
    • ‘I have had them checked to see that they are sound, and they are no danger to any structure.’
    • ‘He saw to it that all his children received a good education, and most of his daughters were to hold significant court positions.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
      • ‘They do a good job as far as I can see and cost the hospital very little.’
      • ‘The dark continent, as far as I can see, remains dark.’
  • as I see it

    • In my opinion.

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

    • informal Said when parting from someone.

      ‘‘I'll be seeing you’, he said, and left in a hurry’
  • have seen better days

    • Have declined from former prosperity or good condition.

      ‘this part of South London has seen 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.’
      • ‘It was just a basement flat that had seen better days.’
      • ‘Few people would argue that, excellent as the quality of care may be, some of the wards have seen better days.’
      • ‘Scarborough, like many seaside towns, has seen better days - much better days.’
      • ‘Now she is a housekeeper in the Nautilus, a south London building that has seen better days.’
      • ‘Although structurally sound the main hall has seen better days.’
      • ‘Sadly, our mowing machine has seen better days, and needs to be replaced.’
  • 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’
      • ‘Washingtonians have seen it all before and they're not impressed.’
      • ‘I thought it was ironic because we had seen it all before.’
      • ‘He portrays the wise Detective Sean Harrison, who has seen it all before.’
      • ‘They had seen it all before and were having no part of it.’
      • ‘Black, who has seen it all before, is much more cynical.’
      • ‘After 12 Wimbledons, seven of which he's won, the 29-year-old has seen it all before.’
      • ‘Don't be embarrassed if this happens to you; maternity staff have seen it all before!’
      • ‘They have that knowing look of people who have seen it all before.’
      • ‘Their manager is one of the most experienced around and has seen it all before.’
      • ‘I have seen it all before, and, based on the current form of both teams, I know when not to make glib forecasts.’
  • 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.

      • ‘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’.’
      • ‘I must away now, to see a man about a dog.’
      • ‘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!’
  • 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?’
      • ‘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 wish the industry well, but unfortunately I really cannot see my way clear to supporting the bill on this occasion.’
      • ‘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 would, however, be grateful if in view of everything I have written you would now see your way clear to modifying your present logo.’
      • ‘And if you can see your way clear to granting us all a double portion of your spirit, we could sure use it!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘Perhaps we could see our way clear to make you a loan of, say, $500,000,’ he said carefully.’
      • ‘I do hope you'll see your way clear to paying us another visit at Chez Marcel.’
      • ‘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.’
  • see someone coming

    • Recognize a person who can be fooled or deceived.

      • ‘They will tell you if the price you intend to pay for the house is reasonable - or if the owner saw you coming.’
      • ‘They must have had very big windows in the shop you bought them from, Councillor Orrell, because they really 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The dinosaurs could not see their nemesis coming, but we can.’
  • 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’
      • ‘History has clearly established that equities provide the best long-term returns, and well managed pension funds will see you right.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Here's my selection to see you right over the holiday.’
      • ‘She will watch them, nurture them and see them right.’
      • ‘Can I give you two hundred and see you right for the rest on Monday?’
      • ‘It seems that he did that out of compassion for her, and also because she assured him that she would see him right.’
      • ‘A course of physiotherapy and rest should see him right, but he is ruled out of the remaining league matches.’
      • ‘But Peter has amazing powers of recovery and another month could see him 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’
      • ‘If anyone has any information about these fires, or knows anyone involved please try to make them see sense.’
      • ‘I just hope they see sense before it's too late and throw these plans out.’
      • ‘He added: ‘I hope the Government sees sense and rejects graphic warnings on the packet.’’
      • ‘He said: ‘It is thanks to everyone who has worked extremely hard and thank you to the councillor for seeing reason.’’
      • ‘I have to hope that everybody sees sense and it doesn't come to court.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The justice minister must now see sense and stop this local problem becoming a national disaster.’
      • ‘One can only hope that Leeds sees sense and changes its plans.’
      • ‘We will be keeping in regular touch with their shareholders, and hope they will see sense and relent.’
  • see the back of

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

      ‘we were always glad to see the back of her’
      • ‘Everyone seemed glad to see the back of the teal jerseys.’
      • ‘This New Year's Eve I was alone, glad to see the back of 2004 and preparing to move forward in the coming year.’
      • ‘Although villagers are desperate for a new hall, they will be sad to see the back of the old one.’
      • ‘As I said, you'd think I'd be happy to see the back of it.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘They will be glad to see the back of him in Edinburgh.’
      • ‘I won't be sorry to see the back of all these roadworks so we can all go about our daily business.’
      • ‘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 their admission plans are putting weight on the essay, it seems that essays are important to these universities.’
      • ‘Seeing that I am merely 20 years of age, I don't think I can be a diva.’
      • ‘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 all my students are here, you'll have to take the last empty seat in the back.’
  • see you (later)

    • informal Said when parting from someone.

      • ‘When it comes to it, it will be cheerio, see you later and off we go.’
      • ‘‘Well, I guess I'll see you later then,’ he said as way of goodbye and stepped back.’
      • ‘‘I'll see you later,’ he said as he stormed towards the door, ‘when you're in a better humour.’’
      • ‘I've got another class, so I'll see you later.’
      • ‘‘I'll see you later, Mr Cowan,’ he said meaningfully to Ralph.’
      • ‘‘Oh, right,’ Nora nodded, ‘Well, I'll see you later then, I suppose.’’
      • ‘The cynical attitude now is, ‘you've done your bit now off you go, see you later, stick them in a home.’’
      • ‘David went out and said, ‘I will see you later, mam’, and he never came back.’
      • ‘John's reply on the phone sounded normal: ‘Fine, see you later.’’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘Then I suppose I have to see about going back to work too.’
      • ‘I'll have to see about arranging for those selected to attend class down at the school.’
      • ‘If the Executive is serious about delivering on its projects it should see about copying the example for riverside regeneration set in England.’
      • ‘I shall have to see about reducing their number before we move, donating the surplus to a charity shop.’
      • ‘Think about quality over quantity, and see about improving our parks.’
      • ‘In the meantime I'll see about sorting out a couple of guest writers to keep you entertained.’
      • ‘I also want to get over to the museum and see about doing some research on him.’
      • ‘He would look up army friends, see about a job, then return.’
      • ‘Would-be student Melissa had come from Newcastle to see about a place at Leeds University.’
      • ‘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.’
      arrange, make arrangements for, see to, deal with, take care of, look after, attend to, sort out
      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.

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

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

      ‘we saw a lot of the Bakers’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But after their first ‘alone’ date, they saw ever-increasing amounts of each other.’
      • ‘With him taking Easter off, the keeper and the club captain are going to be seeing a lot of each other next weekend.’
      • ‘Jesper, the Swede who sees a lot of Langer on the Tour, is another who is in awe of his achievements.’
      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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I saw him off from a Tokyo station; he was very quiet and rather sad.’
      • ‘He went to the airport to personally receive me on arrival and also see me off on my departure.’
      • ‘Karina and I both thought of seeing Gillis off at the station since he was going home to Sydney that night.’
      • ‘The morning of her departure arrived, and the entire town was there to see her off.’
      • ‘The Professor sees her off at the station early the next morning.’
      • ‘They gathered in the street outside, but it was too early for a flag-waving crowd to see them off.’
      • ‘Her parents were too busy to see her off at the train station, although she was likely to be gone for years.’
      • ‘Judith's mother, Fran, had accompanied them to the airport to see them off.’
      • ‘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.’
    • 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’
        • ‘It proved enough to eventually see Scotland off without undue complications.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘The number eight seed was also stunned as she was seen off in straight sets.’
  • 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’
      • ‘He has two years left on his deal, and intends to see them out at the very least.’
      • ‘I don't think that Kevin is doing anything other than he should do at the moment and that's seeing his contract out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Pollock was caught at backward point, but they saw the remaining balls out without losing their wickets.’
      • ‘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.’
    • 2Continue to work on or be involved with a task or project until it is completed.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We work on possession drills every day in training and have got to find the composure to see games out and kill teams off.’
      • ‘Whether she has the patience to see it out remains to be seen.’
      • ‘They gave me the option of finishing up today; or seeing it out until Wednesday of next week.’
  • 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’
      • ‘Hooray to our city council for seeing through the duplicity, but what about all the others who haven't?’
      • ‘It's perfectly safe to have freedom of speech in Oxford, because we're smart enough to see through them.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Although the others see through him, and his lies, Kirk persists in keeping the pretence going.’
      • ‘Only by knowing his true nature was it possible to see through his gentlemanly veil.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘At least the majority of people saw through their lies and believe the truth I was telling.’
      • ‘If you're not comfortable doing something, people can always see through it.’
      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
      View synonyms
  • see someone through

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

      • ‘Last week, she agreed to share her grief with Guardian readers, and is appealing for professional help to see her through this difficult time.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Initially, it was the support of my parents which saw me through.’
      • ‘I'm glad that you have hope and an optimistic outlook because that's so important and will see you through.’
      • ‘Let us hope that going beyond empty rhetoric, nations are becoming indeed united in the effort to see Iraq through its difficult transition.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Terri showed a determination and drive from childhood that was to see her through difficult periods of her life.’
      • ‘Fortunately, my team was strong enough to see 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.’
      sustain, encourage, buoy up, cheer along, keep going, keep someone's head above water, tide over
      View synonyms
  • see something through

    • Persist with an undertaking until it is completed.

      • ‘She has stayed on longer than planned to see the club through its move to the new facilities.’
      • ‘But the Dumbarton MSP will probably have to stay in place to see the campaign through.’
      • ‘Bush, he said, deserves the admiration of Americans for being willing to undertake the mission and see it through to the end.’
      • ‘The rest would stay on to see the factory through to its closure in the second half of 2005.’
      • ‘We're going to accept the risks, and we're going to see it through until the job is done.’
      • ‘Dutiful as ever, he will remain at Carlton until January to see the deal through.’
      • ‘Investors should also stay patient and see their scheme through to maturity to avoid heavy withdrawal penalties.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They know that we must see this thing through, until we have a reliable guarantee up to 2010 and beyond.’
      • ‘It's a time to be staying there and seeing it through.’
      bring to completion, continue to the end, bring to a finish
      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.

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


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