There are 2 main definitions of see in English:

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see 1

Pronunciation: /siː/

verb (sees, seeing, saw /sɔː/; past participle seen /siːn/)

[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
More example sentences
  • I laughed and pushed him away as I saw the familiar blue pick up truck coming down the road.
  • He was last seen wearing a blue jacket, white T-shirt, black tracksuit trousers and trainers.
  • Its windows were shuttered, so that no one could see into the court from outside.
discern, perceive, glimpse, catch/get a glimpse of, spot, notice, catch sight of, sight;
make out, pick out, spy, distinguish, identify, recognize, detect, note, mark
informal clap/lay/set eyes on, clock
literary behold, descry, espy
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
More example sentences
  • She saw that he had written the word Love before his name, but cancelled it out messily.
  • 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.
  • His sleeves are turned under to fit - and he sees that I've noticed.
1.2Be a spectator of (a film, game, or other entertainment); watch: I went to see King Lear at the Old Vic
More example sentences
  • However, if you want a real game of the people, go and see some Rugby League.
  • Doors will open an hour before race time so spectators can see some live entertainment.
  • Sure, I jumped a little watching Scream, but I've never seen a film that has cost me a night's sleep.
watch, look at, view, observe, catch
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
More example sentences
  • It may be understandable to see how a young man, fresh from a life of crime could paint such violent pictures.
  • In considering citizenship, we saw that it entailed more than simply a formal badge of membership in a national community.
  • When you stop to consider, you see that it has a lot of the elements that make up a good line.
understand, grasp, comprehend, follow, take in, realize, appreciate, recognize, work out, get the drift of, make out, conceive, perceive, fathom (out), become cognizant of
informal get, latch on to, cotton on to, catch on to, tumble to, figure out, get the hang of, get a fix on, get one's head round/around, get the message, get the picture
British informal twig, suss
North American informal savvy
rare cognize
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
More example sentences
  • It will be interesting to see whether the BBC will consider them for an audio medium.
  • I then considered both points to see whether their placing in the chart was appropriate.
  • It will be interesting to see whether the Ministers will have the courage to embrace this emotive issue.
find out, discover, learn, ascertain, get to know, determine, establish;
ask, enquire, make enquiries as to, investigate
British informal suss out
2.2 [with object and adverbial] Regard in a specified way: he saw himself as a good teacher you and I see things differently
More example sentences
  • What if everyone sees everything differently?
  • Taking a step back for a moment, a vertically integrated business sees itself quite differently to a functional or divisionalized organization.
  • Speed, daring, and deep penetrations without regard to flank security came to be seen as essential.
2.3 (see something in) Find good or attractive qualities in (someone): I don’t know what I see in you
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
2.4View or predict as a possibility; envisage: I can’t see him earning any more anywhere else
More example sentences
  • 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.
foresee, predict, forecast, prophesy, prognosticate, anticipate, envisage, envision, picture, visualize
archaic augur, previse, presage, foreshow
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
More example sentences
  • The event may have seen changes in its history, but the prestigious trophy is still as sought after as ever.
  • As an Irishman living abroad I've seen the changes in Ireland happening stage by stage.
  • We support change and want to see a situation that is fast, efficient and safe.
3.1Be the time or setting of (something): the 1970s saw the beginning of a technological revolution
More example sentences
  • The last few days of this election campaign will now see a bitter fight over the most hated man in America.
  • 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.
  • The series of television debates in the American presidential elections has seen ratings soar.
4Meet (someone one knows) socially or by chance: I saw Colin last night
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • Never mind playing together, they've hardly had the chance to see each other.
  • Working together is a happy experience, she says, and is often the only chance they get to see each other.
informal bump into
archaic run against
meet (by arrangement), meet up with, get together with, have a meeting, have meetings, meet socially, make a date with
4.1Visit (a person or place): I went to see Caroline see Alaska in style
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • Instead, Bullock plans to head across the US on a tour bus, visiting places she's never seen.
4.2Meet regularly as a boyfriend or girlfriend: some guy she was seeing was messing her around
More example sentences
  • They had a summer of champagne, discreet suppers and walks by the Seine, but after that they saw each other less regularly.
  • 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.
go out with, be dating, take out, be someone's boyfriend/girlfriend, keep company with, go with, be with, court, have a fling with, have an affair with, dally with
informal go steady with
British informal, dated walk out with
North American informal, dated step out with
4.3Consult (a specialist or professional): you may need to see a solicitor
More example sentences
  • He only realised that he had dyscalculia when he went to see Professor Butterworth.
  • 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.
  • 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.
consult, confer with, talk to, speak to, seek advice/information from, take counsel from, have recourse to, call on, call in, turn to, ask
4.4Give an interview or consultation to: the doctor will see you now
More example sentences
  • The average waiting time to be seen for a consultation is three years and that time is also getting longer.
  • But the GTC report says that not all teachers with voice problems will be seen by a specialist.
  • It is understood the child will be undergoing surgery later today after being seen by a specialist.
interview, give an interview to, give a consultation to, give an audience to, give a hearing to, receive, talk to;
examine, treat
5 [with object and adverbial of direction] Escort or conduct (someone) to a specified place: don’t bother seeing me out
6 [no object] Ensure: Lucy saw to it that everyone got enough to eat [with clause]: see that no harm comes to him
More example sentences
  • I have had them checked to see that they are sound, and they are no danger to any structure.
  • Trust and verify is drill jargon for reminding yourself to check the gun and see that it is not loaded.
  • As I was getting off the train, I checked to see that my wallet was stuck in the top of my bag.
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.
Example sentences
  • 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.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • The dark continent, as far as I can see, remains dark.
  • There is no evidence of disease as far as I can see.

as I see it

In my opinion.
Example sentences
  • 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 challenge, as I see it, is to re-engineer education to support lifelong learning for all.

be seeing things

see thing.

(I'll) be seeing you

another way of saying see you .

have seen better days

Have declined from former prosperity or good condition: this part of South London has seen better days
More example sentences
  • Few people would argue that, excellent as the quality of care may be, some of the wards have seen better days.
  • 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.

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
More example sentences
  • Washingtonians have seen it all before and they're not impressed.
  • After 12 Wimbledons, seven of which he's won, the 29-year-old has seen it all before.
  • 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;
give it some thought, mull it over, chew it over, puzzle over it, turn it over in one's mind, revolve it in one's mind
rare cerebrate

see a man about a dog

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

see eye to eye

see eye.

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!
More example sentences
  • ‘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?
More example sentences
  • 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.

see someone coming

Recognize a person who can be fooled or deceived.
Example sentences
  • 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.
Example sentences
  • Louise with her big mouth told him on Sunday so hopefully he saw it coming and prepared himself.
  • Meyerson and his team saw the problem coming quite a few years ago and prepared for it in advance.
  • In this film, that trust is broken and only one man, alone against the system, sees it coming.

see someone damned first

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

see someone right

British informal Make sure that a person is appropriately rewarded or looked after: tell the landlord I sent you—he’ll see you right
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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
More example sentences
  • I have to hope that everybody sees sense and it doesn't come to court.
  • He added: ‘I hope the Government sees sense and rejects graphic warnings on the packet.’
  • One can only hope that Leeds sees sense and changes its plans.

see the back of

informal Be rid of (an unwanted person or thing): we were always glad to see the back of her
More example sentences
  • This New Year's Eve I was alone, glad to see the back of 2004 and preparing to move forward in the coming year.
  • I won't be sorry to see the back of all these roadworks so we can all go about our daily business.
  • They will be glad to see the back of him in Edinburgh.

seeing that

Considering the fact that: seeing that I caught one of the last trains of the night, it was quite crowded
More example sentences
  • Seeing that all my students are here, you'll have to take the last empty seat in the back.
  • 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 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.
Example sentences
  • When it comes to it, it will be cheerio, see you later and off we go.
  • David went out and said, ‘I will see you later, mam’, and he never came back.
  • ‘I'll see you later, Mr Cowan,’ he said meaningfully to Ralph.

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!
More example sentences
  • 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.

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
More example sentences
  • He would look up army friends, see about a job, then return.
  • In the meantime I'll see about sorting out a couple of guest writers to keep you entertained.
  • I'll have to see about arranging for those selected to attend class down at the school.
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

see after

chiefly North American or archaic Take care of; look after.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • He was seeing after some of his animals when the lightning struck.

see something of

Spend a specified amount of time with (someone) socially: we saw a lot of the Bakers
More example sentences
  • But after their first ‘alone’ date, they saw ever-increasing amounts of each other.
  • 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.

see someone off

1Accompany a person who is leaving to their point of departure: they came to the station to see him off
More example sentences
  • The Professor sees her off at the station early the next morning.
  • 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.
2British Repel an invader or intruder: the dogs saw them off in no time
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
2.1 informal Deal with the threat posed by: they saw off Cambridge in the FA Cup
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • Footballers aren't known as tennis players, and I was pretty certain I'd be good enough to see them off.
  • It proved enough to eventually see Scotland off without undue complications.

see someone out

British (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
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
2Continue to work on or be involved with a task or project until it is completed.
Example sentences
  • They gave me the option of finishing up today; or seeing it out until Wednesday of next week.
  • 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.

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/round, look through, have a look around/round, have a tour of, go on a tour of, tour, survey, scrutinize
informal give something a/the once-over

see through

Not be deceived by; detect the true nature of: he can see through her lies and deceptions
More example sentences
  • Of course, the electorate are increasingly seeing through the lies and deceit of Labour.
  • 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.
not be deceived by, not be taken in by, be wise to, get/have the measure of, read like a book, fathom, penetrate, realize, understand
informal not fall for, have someone's number, know someone's (little) game

see someone through

Support a person for the duration of a difficult time.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • Let us hope that going beyond empty rhetoric, nations are becoming indeed united in the effort to see Iraq through its difficult transition.
  • 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.
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, help (out), assist

see something through

Persist with an undertaking until it is completed.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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, continue (with), carry on with, go on with, keep at, keep on with, keep going with, keep up, not give up with, follow through, press on/ahead with, plod on through, plough on through, stay with;
informal plug away at, peg away at, stick at, soldier on with, stick something out, stick to one's guns, hang in there



Example sentences
  • How does one visually compare the inconceivable with the sensible, seeable, quotidian world?
  • Most of my friends use it, I constantly use it and there is a seeable difference in me - so my friends say!
  • What they aim for is that virtual objects or processes will be not just seeable and hearable, but experienced through touch as well.


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

  • The see meaning ‘to perceive with the eyes’ perhaps comes from the same ancient root as Latin sequi ‘to follow’, seen in second and sequel. Referring to the district of a bishop or archbishop, see goes back to Latin sedere ‘to sit’ ( see seat). In the 1927 film The Jazz Singer Al Jolson uttered the aside ‘You ain't heard nothing yet’. This became the model for similar phrases, notably you ain't seen nothing yet. The computer slogan what you see is what you get—abbreviated as WYSIWYG—began life in the USA; the first recorded example is from the New York Times in 1971. It refers to the representation of text on screen in a form exactly corresponding to its appearance on a printout. ‘Why don't you come up and see me sometime?’ will be forever associated with the vampish actress Mae West. What she actually said in the film She Done Him Wrong (1933) was ‘Why don't you come up sometime, and see me?’. Mae West is remembered for a number of saucy quips, among them ‘Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?’ and ‘It's not the men in my life that counts—it's the life in my men’, while her buxom figure led to the inflatable life jacket issued to RAF personnel during the Second World War being called a Mae West. See also evil

Words that rhyme with see

absentee, açai, addressee, adoptee, agree, allottee, amputee, appellee, appointee, appraisee, après-ski, assignee, asylee, attendee, bailee, bain-marie, Bangui, bargee, bawbee, be, Bea, bee, bootee, bouquet garni, bourgeoisie, Brie, BSc, buckshee, Capri, cc, chimpanzee, cohabitee, conferee, consignee, consultee, Cree, debauchee, decree, dedicatee, Dee, degree, deportee, dernier cri, detainee, devisee, devotee, divorcee, draftee, dree, Dundee, dungaree, eau-de-vie, emcee, employee, endorsee, en famille, ennui, enrollee, escapee, esprit, evacuee, examinee, expellee, fee, fiddle-de-dee, flea, flee, fleur-de-lis, foresee, franchisee, free, fusee (US fuzee), Gardaí, garnishee, gee, ghee, glee, goatee, grandee, Grand Prix, grantee, Guarani, guarantee, he, HMRC, indictee, inductee, internee, interviewee, invitee, jamboree, Jaycee, jeu d'esprit, key, knee, Lea, lee, legatee, Leigh, lessee, Ley, licensee, loanee, lychee, manatee, Manichee, maquis, Marie, marquee, me, Midi, mortgagee, MSc, nominee, obligee, Otomi, parolee, Parsee, parti pris, patentee, Pawnee, payee, pea, pee, permittee, plc, plea, pledgee, pollee, presentee, promisee, quay, ratatouille, referee, refugee, releasee, repartee, retiree, returnee, rupee, scot-free, scree, sea, secondee, settee, Shanxi, Shawnee, shchi, she, shea, si, sirree, ski, spree, standee, suttee, tant pis, tea, tee, tee-hee, Tennessee, testee, the, thee, three, thuggee, Tiree, Torquay, trainee, Tralee, transferee, tree, Trincomalee, trustee, tutee, twee, Twi, undersea, vestee, vis-à-vis, wagon-lit, Waikiki, warrantee, we, wee, whee, whoopee, ye, yippee, Zuider Zee

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There are 2 main definitions of see in English:

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see 2

Pronunciation: /siː/


The place in which a cathedral church stands, identified as the seat of authority of a bishop or archbishop.
Example sentences
  • The title of archbishop ceased to be used for these two sees of the episcopal church in Scotland after the revolution of 1688.
  • The sees of Edinburgh and Saint Andrews in the east, and of Glasgow in the west have been co-equals since the Middle Ages.
  • In ecclesiastical affairs, the see of Canterbury claimed a comparable hegemony.


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

  • The see meaning ‘to perceive with the eyes’ perhaps comes from the same ancient root as Latin sequi ‘to follow’, seen in second and sequel. Referring to the district of a bishop or archbishop, see goes back to Latin sedere ‘to sit’ ( see seat). In the 1927 film The Jazz Singer Al Jolson uttered the aside ‘You ain't heard nothing yet’. This became the model for similar phrases, notably you ain't seen nothing yet. The computer slogan what you see is what you get—abbreviated as WYSIWYG—began life in the USA; the first recorded example is from the New York Times in 1971. It refers to the representation of text on screen in a form exactly corresponding to its appearance on a printout. ‘Why don't you come up and see me sometime?’ will be forever associated with the vampish actress Mae West. What she actually said in the film She Done Him Wrong (1933) was ‘Why don't you come up sometime, and see me?’. Mae West is remembered for a number of saucy quips, among them ‘Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?’ and ‘It's not the men in my life that counts—it's the life in my men’, while her buxom figure led to the inflatable life jacket issued to RAF personnel during the Second World War being called a Mae West. See also evil

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