Definition of seek in English:



  • 1 Attempt to find (something)

    ‘they came here to seek shelter from biting winter winds’
    • ‘We darted form place to place, seeking what little cover we could find.’
    • ‘Dom raced back to Don and explained that there was a boy who sought food and shelter.’
    • ‘However it wasn't long before the church could no longer cope with the volume of people seeking a place for food, shelter and chat and so new premises were sought.’
    • ‘Their only shelter is an abandoned trench, where they rest and seek refuge, but little do they know that their nightmare has only just begun.’
    • ‘We both are seeking for an effective way to deal with this situation.’
    • ‘They are now in the capital, Monrovia, seeking refuge and shelter, of which there is none.’
    • ‘Realizing that the city was far too crowded to find shelter, they sought a hiding place in the woods.’
    • ‘After a strong swim we sought shelter close against the substrate, watching the reef inhabitants engage in their own dangerous games of hide and seek.’
    • ‘Widespread logging destroyed winter shelter, while lumber-jacks sought the lean meat.’
    • ‘Many in earshot of the blast feared the Germans had landed and sought refuge in air raid shelters.’
    • ‘The situation facing some women upon their release, however, is so desolate that they have returned to the prison seeking food and shelter.’
    • ‘Mixed-breed dogs, once the domain of US animal shelters, are being sought by an increasing number of Americans looking for special pooches.’
    • ‘Spotting a small group of shoppers seeking protection from the cold in a bus shelter, he turns his megaphone in their direction.’
    search for, try to find, look for, look about for, look around for, look round for, cast about for, cast around for, cast round for, be on the lookout for, be after, hunt for, be in quest of, be in pursuit of
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    1. 1.1Attempt or desire to obtain or achieve (something)
      ‘the new regime sought his extradition’
      [no object, with infinitive] ‘her parents had never sought to interfere with her freedom’
      • ‘Recognizing the limitations of art education in the United States, Coleman sought training in Paris.’
      • ‘I will hear argument on whether the injunction should be extended pending any appeal, if permission to appeal is sought and obtained.’
      • ‘The council said it would not pursue legal costs against parents who sought a judicial review on the closure.’
      • ‘Your willingness to seek training beyond the studio's requirements sends a very strong message.’
      • ‘Trained as a psychiatric nurse, she suggests there are social reasons why parents today are actively seeking outside advice.’
      • ‘It was the interview he had been seeking for three years.’
      • ‘They are an incredibly valuable resource to a transforming Army that has desired and sought adaptive capacity in its leaders.’
      • ‘He advised couples who suspected they may be growing apart to seek counselling early.’
      • ‘They seek to establish their own state to oppress people, legally and officially.’
      • ‘The applicant also seeks leave to challenge the sentence.’
      • ‘These were representatives of a bankrupt regime that sought salvation in a turn towards capitalism.’
      • ‘He's agreed to seek counseling, but I believe it's too late.’
      • ‘The company has been actively seeking clarification regarding the status of the company.’
      • ‘In none of the transfer cases which have been cited to us had the consent of the man been sought or obtained.’
      • ‘In addition, regardless of any possibilities for dialogue, it was never clear whether the regime actively sought a complete cessation of violence.’
      • ‘The British government then sought his extradition on charges relating to offences committed 20 years ago.’
      • ‘In addition to the claim for prerogative relief, the prosecutor also seeks an injunction against the third respondent.’
      • ‘Despite this, many people do not seek help for their problems.’
      • ‘In such situations, it is understandable that parents should seek an explanation, in a vain attempt at closure.’
      • ‘As such, only verbal consent was sought and obtained.’
      try, attempt, endeavour, strive, work, aim, aspire, do one's best, set out
      try to obtain, pursue, go after, strive for, go for, push towards, work towards, be intent on, aim at, aim for, have as a goal, have as an objective
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    2. 1.2Ask for (something) from someone.
      ‘he sought help from the police’
      • ‘A deaf person, more often than not, delays seeking medical help, partly due to the wrong notion that his condition is incurable.’
      • ‘If anything serious happens to you or a person for whom you have responsibility, or you have any medical concerns, you should seek advice from a medical professional.’
      • ‘People concerned should seek medical attention when early symptoms set in.’
      • ‘Initially, her behaviour went unnoticed and the first time she sought medical help was when she asked her mother to bring her to the doctor.’
      • ‘If your kid starts complaining about any of the obvious symptoms the last thing you want to do is encourage the behavior by seeking medical attention.’
      • ‘The mother thinks the problem may be the girl's tongue, so they went to the hospital, seeking medical intervention.’
      • ‘Today the opposite applies: the patient seeks information and advice and then decides on the treatment he or she would like.’
      • ‘However, if parents do have concerns about their child's health, they should seek medical advice as soon as possible.’
      • ‘I've tried to get him to accept my advice that he should seek medical help, but he persists.’
      • ‘A constant feeling of tiredness nagged at him and eventually he sought medical help.’
      • ‘If skin is badly torn or if bleeding persists, apply pressure to stop the bleeding, then seek medical help.’
      • ‘The police could have sought medical attention for Paul.’
      • ‘I have not yet sought medical advice, but propose to do so.’
      • ‘Many affected people do not seek help from professionals.’
      • ‘In May, he turned up in Baghdad seeking medical treatment, U.S. officials later learned.’
      • ‘After World War II, many Canadians actively sought the advice and intervention of psychologists to solve their everyday problems.’
      • ‘It is thought that fewer than 20% of sufferers with moderate to severe symptoms have sought medical advice.’
      • ‘He was spurred by discovering that he had prostate cancer, which was completely cured because he sought medical help straight away.’
      • ‘Following advice from a teacher, Smriti sought medical help but the doctor did not tell her that her son was suffering from schizophrenia.’
      • ‘They had to go from pillar to post, seeking assistance for medical attention and subsequent rehabilitation.’
      ask for, request, solicit, call on, invite, entreat, beg for, petition for, appeal for, apply for, put in for
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    3. 1.3Search for and find someone or something.
      ‘it's his job to seek out new customers’
      • ‘Mr Hughes was critical of the Government for the way in which foreign nurses have been sought out and employed at times of crisis, only to be let go again a short time later.’
      • ‘Clubs and societies all over the country are organising fundraisers and shops and pubs have buckets organised that they don't need to shake or rattle - customers seek them out to make their donation.’
      • ‘I had always known them to be a very, very consistent advocate for civil liberties, but we disagreed on so many issues that I never really sought them out in terms of an ally.’
      • ‘Rather, such evidence is not unearthed because of the lack of the will to seek it out.’
      • ‘The truth is, I sought you out because I knew you wouldn't talk to me.’
      • ‘With post-war prosperity, the baby boom, and increased college attendance, the masses started coming, whether the museums sought them out or not.’
      • ‘The very best of that international expertise was sought out and hired, a move which proved invaluable.’
      • ‘Through successful marketing programs, these companies have acquired loyal customer bases willing to seek them out and buy their brands on-line.’
      • ‘Old Chicago execs decided not to push wine by the bottle, though bottles are available if customers seek it out.’
      • ‘A customer who seeks you out through the Internet is another story.’
      • ‘People were asked to reapply and new presenters were sought out.’
      • ‘Far from being regarded as nutty they were sought out as sages or holy men.’
      • ‘Many cards were outdated as people moved to new jobs, forcing him to seek them out before starting all over again.’
      • ‘Either they sought the site out, or they followed a link that interests them.’
      • ‘Journalists from other papers can confirm that I never sought them out.’
      • ‘If the crop does not remove all these nutrients, lower rates are applied or alternative fields are sought out.’
      • ‘A suitably manual project for the day is sought out.’
      • ‘He had searched near 10 islands, seeking her out.’
      • ‘There is a pattern of not ensuring that those responsible for criminal acts have been sought out and brought before the law.’
      • ‘I wonder whether I sought them out as friends because of it.’
      discover, detect, hunt down, hunt out, unearth, uncover, disinter, turn up, dig up, seek out, ferret out, root out, nose out, bring to light, expose, recover, capture, catch, smell out, sniff out, run to earth, run to ground, run down
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    4. 1.4archaic Go to (a place)
      ‘I sought my bedroom each night to brood over it’


  • seek dead

    • Used to instruct a retriever to go and look for game that has been shot.

  • seek one's fortune

    • Travel somewhere in the hope of achieving wealth and success.

      ‘he emigrated to Britain to seek his fortune’
      • ‘It's the perfect anthem for anyone who ever left a small town to go out and seek their fortune with no support from back home.’
      • ‘Established as a pearling port in the 1880s, it has long attracted people from around the world seeking their fortune, giving the modern town a truly multicultural atmosphere.’
      • ‘The more they seek their fortune in another land, the more it behoves their manager to justify it.’
      • ‘The idea of a barge cruise may be reminiscent of an old black and white movie where the hero leaves home at a young age on a cheap tramp steamer to seek his fortune in the great world beyond.’
      • ‘John continued his naval career until 1881 when he decided to seek his fortune in America without success.’
      • ‘If they had set out to seek their fortune and fame then they would be severely tested in the years to follow.’
      • ‘His paternal grandfather sought his fortune as a fur trapper in Canada, joined the Mounties, then emigrated to South Africa.’
      • ‘In walks Bud, a small-town boy come to the big city to seek his fortune.’
      • ‘For the last two centuries Irish people have left for America to seek their fortune.’
      • ‘Australia's flourishing wool industry prompted him to seek his fortune in this ‘most distant accessible part of the globe’.’
  • to seek

    • 1archaic Lacking; not yet found.

      ‘the end she knew, the means were to seek’
      1. 1.1Out of reach; a long way off.
        literary ‘the reason is not far to seek’
        • ‘The political Zeitgeist which gave rise to the manic drive to dress down is not far to seek.’
        • ‘One of the principle reasons for this resistance and controversy is not far to seek: design-theoretic research has been hijacked as part of a larger cultural and political movement.’
        • ‘The reason behind the empiricist outlook is not far to seek.’
        • ‘The reasons behind sparse usage, however, are not far to seek.’
        • ‘The reasons for this sorry state of affairs are not far to seek.’
        • ‘Optimism is not much in evidence among commentators on Middle Eastern politics and the reasons are not far to seek.’
        • ‘The reason is not far to seek and is apparent from the opening bars.’
        • ‘The proximate causes of this revulsion against liberalism in Italy, Germany, and elsewhere are not far to seek.’
        • ‘With such an ideology before us, the prognosis of the post-disengagement scenario is not far to seek.’
        • ‘I have never encountered a plea of fair comment in this conditional form previously and the reason is not far to seek.’


Old English sēcan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zieken and German suchen, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin sagire perceive by scent.