Definition of seek in English:



  • 1 Attempt to find (something)

    ‘they came here to seek shelter from biting winter winds’
    • ‘Widespread logging destroyed winter shelter, while lumber-jacks sought the lean meat.’
    • ‘Dom raced back to Don and explained that there was a boy who sought food and shelter.’
    • ‘The situation facing some women upon their release, however, is so desolate that they have returned to the prison seeking food and shelter.’
    • ‘We darted form place to place, seeking what little cover we could find.’
    • ‘We both are seeking for an effective way to deal with this situation.’
    • ‘Many in earshot of the blast feared the Germans had landed and sought refuge in air raid shelters.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Realizing that the city was far too crowded to find shelter, they sought a hiding place in the woods.’
    • ‘Spotting a small group of shoppers seeking protection from the cold in a bus shelter, he turns his megaphone in their direction.’
    • ‘Mixed-breed dogs, once the domain of US animal shelters, are being sought by an increasing number of Americans looking for special pooches.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They are now in the capital, Monrovia, seeking refuge and shelter, of which there is none.’
    • ‘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.’
    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
    View synonyms
    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’
      • ‘In addition to the claim for prerogative relief, the prosecutor also seeks an injunction against the third respondent.’
      • ‘The British government then sought his extradition on charges relating to offences committed 20 years ago.’
      • ‘They are an incredibly valuable resource to a transforming Army that has desired and sought adaptive capacity in its leaders.’
      • ‘Despite this, many people do not seek help for their problems.’
      • ‘Recognizing the limitations of art education in the United States, Coleman sought training in Paris.’
      • ‘Trained as a psychiatric nurse, she suggests there are social reasons why parents today are actively seeking outside advice.’
      • ‘He's agreed to seek counseling, but I believe it's too late.’
      • ‘The council said it would not pursue legal costs against parents who sought a judicial review on the closure.’
      • ‘As such, only verbal consent was sought and obtained.’
      • ‘It was the interview he had been seeking for three years.’
      • ‘These were representatives of a bankrupt regime that sought salvation in a turn towards capitalism.’
      • ‘The applicant also seeks leave to challenge the sentence.’
      • ‘They seek to establish their own state to oppress people, legally and officially.’
      • ‘In such situations, it is understandable that parents should seek an explanation, in a vain attempt at closure.’
      • ‘I will hear argument on whether the injunction should be extended pending any appeal, if permission to appeal is sought and obtained.’
      • ‘The company has been actively seeking clarification regarding the status of the company.’
      • ‘He advised couples who suspected they may be growing apart to seek counselling early.’
      • ‘In none of the transfer cases which have been cited to us had the consent of the man been sought or obtained.’
      • ‘Your willingness to seek training beyond the studio's requirements sends a very strong message.’
      • ‘In addition, regardless of any possibilities for dialogue, it was never clear whether the regime actively sought a complete cessation of violence.’
      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
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Ask for (something) from someone.
      ‘he sought help from the police’
      • ‘It is thought that fewer than 20% of sufferers with moderate to severe symptoms have sought medical advice.’
      • ‘I've tried to get him to accept my advice that he should seek medical help, but he persists.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After World War II, many Canadians actively sought the advice and intervention of psychologists to solve their everyday problems.’
      • ‘The police could have sought medical attention for Paul.’
      • ‘If skin is badly torn or if bleeding persists, apply pressure to stop the bleeding, then seek medical help.’
      • ‘I have not yet sought medical advice, but propose to do so.’
      • ‘Following advice from a teacher, Smriti sought medical help but the doctor did not tell her that her son was suffering from schizophrenia.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He was spurred by discovering that he had prostate cancer, which was completely cured because he sought medical help straight away.’
      • ‘Today the opposite applies: the patient seeks information and advice and then decides on the treatment he or she would like.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In May, he turned up in Baghdad seeking medical treatment, U.S. officials later learned.’
      • ‘People concerned should seek medical attention when early symptoms set in.’
      • ‘A constant feeling of tiredness nagged at him and eventually he sought medical help.’
      • ‘Many affected people do not seek help from professionals.’
      • ‘They had to go from pillar to post, seeking assistance for medical attention and subsequent rehabilitation.’
      • ‘The mother thinks the problem may be the girl's tongue, so they went to the hospital, seeking medical intervention.’
      • ‘However, if parents do have concerns about their child's health, they should seek medical advice as soon as possible.’
      • ‘A deaf person, more often than not, delays seeking medical help, partly due to the wrong notion that his condition is incurable.’
      ask for, request, solicit, call on, invite, entreat, beg for, petition for, appeal for, apply for, put in for
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3Search for and find someone or something.
      ‘it's his job to seek out new customers’
      • ‘Rather, such evidence is not unearthed because of the lack of the will to seek it out.’
      • ‘Through successful marketing programs, these companies have acquired loyal customer bases willing to seek them out and buy their brands on-line.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A suitably manual project for the day is sought out.’
      • ‘The truth is, I sought you out because I knew you wouldn't talk to me.’
      • ‘People were asked to reapply and new presenters were sought out.’
      • ‘If the crop does not remove all these nutrients, lower rates are applied or alternative fields are sought out.’
      • ‘With post-war prosperity, the baby boom, and increased college attendance, the masses started coming, whether the museums sought them out or not.’
      • ‘I wonder whether I sought them out as friends because of it.’
      • ‘The very best of that international expertise was sought out and hired, a move which proved invaluable.’
      • ‘A customer who seeks you out through the Internet is another story.’
      • ‘Either they sought the site out, or they followed a link that interests them.’
      • ‘There is a pattern of not ensuring that those responsible for criminal acts have been sought out and brought before the law.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Many cards were outdated as people moved to new jobs, forcing him to seek them out before starting all over again.’
      • ‘Old Chicago execs decided not to push wine by the bottle, though bottles are available if customers seek it out.’
      • ‘He had searched near 10 islands, seeking her out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Far from being regarded as nutty they were sought out as sages or holy men.’
      • ‘Journalists from other papers can confirm that I never sought them out.’
      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
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4archaic Go to (a place)
      ‘I sought my bedroom each night to brood over it’


  • seek one's fortune

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

      • ‘His paternal grandfather sought his fortune as a fur trapper in Canada, joined the Mounties, then emigrated to South Africa.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If they had set out to seek their fortune and fame then they would be severely tested in the years to follow.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In walks Bud, a small-town boy come to the big city to seek his fortune.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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’.’
      • ‘John continued his naval career until 1881 when he decided to seek his fortune in America without success.’
  • 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.
        • ‘The reasons for this sorry state of affairs are not far to seek.’
        • ‘The reasons behind sparse usage, however, are 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.’
        • ‘Optimism is not much in evidence among commentators on Middle Eastern politics and the reasons are not far to seek.’
        • ‘The reason behind the empiricist outlook is not far to seek.’
        • ‘The proximate causes of this revulsion against liberalism in Italy, Germany, and elsewhere are not far to seek.’
        • ‘The reason is not far to seek and is apparent from the opening bars.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘With such an ideology before us, the prognosis of the post-disengagement scenario 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.