Definition of look in English:

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Pronunciation: /lo͝ok/


[no object]
1Direct one’s gaze toward someone or something or in a specified direction: people were looking at him they looked up as he came quietly into the room
More example sentences
  • When it came to a standstill, I was holding tight onto the table and looking at another passenger, who was looking down at me.
  • I looked nervously around to see if anyone was looking at me, then back up the path toward her.
  • I looked to my left, and a man was in the corner was looking at me over his shoulder with a big grin on his face.
glance at, gaze at, stare at, gape at, peer at;
peep at, peek, take a look at;
watch, observe, view, regard, examine, inspect, eye, scan, scrutinize, survey, study, contemplate, consider, take in, ogle
informal take a gander at, rubberneck, goggle, give someone/something a/the once-over, get a load of, eyeball
literary behold
1.1(Of a building or room) have a view or outlook in a specified direction: the principal rooms look out over Nahant Bay
More example sentences
  • Double rooms look over Rocky Bay with views to the ocean.
  • Bedroom 4 is the most peaceful room in the Inn with French doors looking out on the garden courtyard and fountain.
  • The restaurant had a dining room that looked over the bay.
command a view of, face, overlook, front
1.2 (look through) Ignore (someone) by pretending not to see them: he glanced up once but looked right through me
More example sentences
  • I'm one of those people everyone looks through, like a window or a ghost or the air.
  • Their parents didn't pay any attention at all and looked through the men just as the men looked through the children.
  • He seemed to be looking right through her.
1.3 [with object] dated Express or show (something) by one’s gaze: Poirot looked a question
More example sentences
  • Brenda and Larry looked a question at each other.
  • Jones looked an enquiry at His Highness, who nodded assent.
  • I thought of the gentle eyes which had once looked love at me.
1.4 (look something over) Inspect something quickly with a view to establishing its merits: they looked over a property on Ryer Avenue
More example sentences
  • Dad will first take the two tickets and look them over like a valuator inspecting diamonds.
  • I examined the ring, looking it over and wondering if ever it would grace his finger again.
  • Now look those files over; I gotta check out the rest of the ship and then you'll be up and away.
inspect, examine, scan, cast an eye over, take stock of, vet, view, look through, peruse, read through, check out
informal give something a/the once-over, eyeball
1.5 (look through) Peruse (a book or other written material): we looked through all the books, and this was still the one we liked best
More example sentences
  • As a child he was often sick and so had plenty of time to learn to read and look through picture books.
  • He cannot read or write, and spends his days in prison coloring and looking through comic books.
  • I looked through the book and in various places read uncomfortably familiar passages.
1.6 (look round/around) Move around (a place or building) in order to view whatever it might contain that is of interest: he spent the morning and afternoon looking around Cambridge
More example sentences
  • There were some quaint streets to explore and various interesting shops to look round.
  • We spent the day with our friends looking round the lovely old buildings.
  • And on June 29, ex-pupils and staff are invited to reunite to have a final look round the building.
1.7 (look at/on) Think of or regard in a specified way: I look at tennis differently from some coaches
More example sentences
  • Do you feel like you go out there and guys are looking at you a little differently now?
  • The children had always regarded her as family, and as a result she looked on them as her own.
  • People welcomed and looked on him as a friend regardless of the cause of his visit.
regard, consider, think of, deem, judge, see, view, count, reckon
1.8 (look at) Examine (a matter, especially a problem) and consider what action to take: a committee is looking at the financing of PBS
More example sentences
  • It's just a matter of looking at how your day is structured and finding a free slot.
  • Since this came to light we have looked at other matters with other police forces.
  • It is the select committee that looks at an issue, rather than at the politics of an issue.
1.9 (look into) Investigate: the police looked into his business dealings
More example sentences
  • Police and fire investigators are looking into a spate of suspicious fires in Braintree.
  • Investigators are looking into the incident but they are already treating it as suspicious.
  • West Yorkshire Police is looking into her claims after she made a complaint.
investigate, inquire into, ask questions about, go into, probe, explore, follow up, research, study, examine
informal check out, give something a/the once-over, scope out
1.10 (look for) Attempt to find: Howard has been looking for you
More example sentences
  • When you are looking at each case individually, what are you looking for?
  • When I got home I went around my room looking for a book I had to return to the Library.
  • We causally walked through the rooms looking for anything that might help in our journey.
1.11 [with clause] Ascertain with a quick glance: people finishing work don’t look where they’re going
More example sentences
  • You really should look where you're going. I could have run you down.
  • Mobile phone users are less likely to look whether the road is clear before crossing.
  • He walked along the street without looking where he put his feet.
2Have the appearance or give the impression of being: her father looked unhappy the home looked like a prison [as adjective, in combination]: (-looking) a funny-looking guy
More example sentences
  • For much of tonight's show she looks bored, unhappy and uncomfortable when singing.
  • Recently he has been looking rather grim.
  • Last week, she appeared in the papers looking shockingly gaunt, and it was reported she has been hitting the bottle again.
seem, seem to be, appear, appear to be, have the appearance/air of being, give the impression of being, give every appearance/indication of being, strike someone as being
resemble, bear a resemblance to, look similar to, take after, have the look of, have the appearance of, remind one of, make one think of
informal be the spitting image of, be a dead ringer for
2.1 (look like) informal Show a likelihood of: it doesn’t look like you’ll be moving to Brooklyn
More example sentences
  • Although they had the best of position, it only ever looked like one team would score.
  • He has that knack of playing well every game and always looks like scoring a goal if not two.
  • With the game being played in the middle of the field neither team were looking like scoring.
2.2 (look oneself) Appear one’s normal, healthy self: he just didn’t look himself at all
More example sentences
  • They haven't looked themselves for a little while now.
  • He hasn't looked himself since he had to give up his day job at the High Court.
  • There have been instances when the opposition just didn't look themselves.
3 (look to) Rely on to do or provide something: she will look to you for help
More example sentences
  • It is about the dispossessed who look to us to provide quality public services.
  • Since the Defendants are looking to Lloyd's to provide coverage for the claims made, it is necessary to examine the statement of claim.
  • However, one look at our eager students reminds us they rely on and look to us for leadership, guidance and motivation.
turn to, resort to, have recourse to, fall back on, rely on
3.1 [with infinitive] Hope or expect to do something: universities are looking to expand their intakes
More example sentences
  • This is absolutely vital to the Club as it looks to expand facilities at Balla Town Park.
  • A nursery is looking to expand to keep on children who have grown too old for it.
  • We are looking to expand into the market and move beyond our core competency of racing games.
consider, think about, turn one's thoughts to, focus on, take heed of, pay attention to, attend to, address, mind, heed
3.2 archaic Take care; make sure: Look ye obey the masters of the craft
More example sentences
  • Look that you behave well to him.


1An act of directing one’s gaze in order to see someone or something: let me get a closer look
More example sentences
  • He knelt down beside one of the bodies to take a closer look, and looked back up with a furrowed brow.
  • And then something happens and you stop and look, the look becomes a gaze, the gaze a stare.
  • I thought that the hem on my skirt was looking a bit frayed and decided to take a closer look.
glance, view, examination, study, inspection, observation, scan, survey, peep, peek, glimpse, gaze, stare
informal eyeful, gander, look-see, once-over, squint
1.1An expression of a feeling or thought by directing one’s gaze: Brenton gave me a funny look
More example sentences
  • Anxious looks gave way to expressions of relief and then to quiet smiles of confidence.
  • Jay nods and I see that his joking expression has been replaced with a look of sympathy.
  • Getting a laptop out on the top deck of a bus gets you some funny looks.
expression, mien
1.2A scrutiny or examination: the government should be taking a look at the amount of grant the council receives
More example sentences
  • The many parents that called to have a look and investigate places for their children enjoyed the visit.
  • It is time the experts are called in to take a look and suggest measures.
  • Tomorrow we will take a quick look at the exam before doing a last review of the work.
2The appearance of someone or something, especially as expressing a particular quality: the bedraggled look of the village
More example sentences
  • There have been great reviews about the quality, the look and usability of our site.
  • When the lighting is finally in place it will make a huge improvement to the look of the village.
  • The seats are supremely comfortable, and the cabin has a real quality look and feel to it.
appearance, air, aspect, bearing, cast, manner, mien, demeanor, facade, impression, effect
2.1 (looks) A person’s facial appearance considered aesthetically: he had charm, good looks, and an amusing insouciance
More example sentences
  • Becky, working as a governess, resorts to her good looks and alluring personality to move up in society.
  • He has the dark good looks necessary for heart-throb status but a question mark has always hung over his talent.
  • With her PhD in animal behaviour, natural good looks and easy way with a camera, she's a natural.
2.2A style or fashion: Italian designers unveiled their latest look
More example sentences
  • Unlike mohair and go-go boots, some fashion looks never go out of style or out of season.
  • The cut is also beautiful, and the look fashionable yet sophisticated.
  • She looked good in her black trousers, but it was a casual rather than a fashionable look.
fashion, style, vogue, mode


(also look here!)
Used to call attention to what one is going to say: “Look, this is ridiculous.”
More example sentences
  • It was as if he were saying to me: look, we are hitting a ball over the net and this is a pretty damn good way to make a living.
  • I was actually on the verge of saying to him: look, just forget it, what is it going to prove?
  • Had I been in an old comedy film, I would have said something like ‘now look here!’



look one's age

Appear to be as old as one really is.
Example sentences
  • I'm coming to the conclusion I don't look my age, and I don't act my age.
  • He appeared drawn, his hair grayed, finally looking his age, she was delighted to see.
  • She gained some weight, incidentally, and looks her age now.

look before you leap

proverb One shouldn’t act without first considering the possible consequences or dangers.
Example sentences
  • As Simon noted, of course ‘you should look before you leap,’ but it is also true that ‘he who hesitates is lost.’
  • The rationale was the same that has guided Carter in much of his post-presidential career: look before you leap.
  • Better to go slowly, they say, and look before you leap.

look daggers at

see dagger.

look down one's nose at

another way of saying look down on.

look for trouble


look someone in the eye (or face)

Look directly at someone without showing embarrassment, fear, or shame.
Example sentences
  • But they never looked me in the eye or addressed me directly.
  • She didn't look him in the eye for fear of how he would answer.
  • Maybe he would have the best policies, but I could never support any politician who can't look me in the eye and give a straight answer to a question.

look lively (or datedalive)

[usually in imperative] informal Move more quickly and energetically: “Look lively, men!” Charlie shouted
More example sentences
  • ‘Well then look alive,’ Nickel said picking up his two-way radio.
  • Look lively gentlemen, here comes part of the welcoming committee.
  • Look lively, you two. I'm opening the airlock.

look the other way

Deliberately ignore wrongdoing by others: the authorities simply seem content to look the other way
More example sentences
  • Will anyone stand up against an employer that discriminates against women or do we just look the other way?
  • As long as her second husband kept his trysts private and emotionally uninvolving, she was willing to look the other way.
  • He will surround himself with those who look the other way or actually encourage his philandering behavior.

look sharp

Be quick.
Example sentences
  • Look sharp, we've got some incoming cruise missiles.
  • Look sharp, all of ye! There are whales hereabouts!
  • Come on - look sharp and put your microphones on.

look small

see small.

look to the future

Consider and plan for what is in the future, rather than worrying about the past or present.
Example sentences
  • They feel that entirely too many meetings are steeped in the past and present, rather than looking to the future.
  • She said the break would give the family a chance to forget about past worries and look to the future.
  • More to the point, he'd lost his interest in life, preferring to dwell on the past rather than look to the future.

look someone up and down

Scrutinize someone carefully.
Example sentences
  • She stared at me, looked me up and down and sneered.
  • He looked me up and down, his gaze stopping when it reached my eyes.
  • Seth looked me up and down, as if checking me for signs of damage.

Phrasal verbs


look after

Take care of: women who stay at home to look after children
More example sentences
  • Patients will be treated on a day care basis and be looked after by a team of specialist eye nurses.
  • We care for and look after all our customers especially the elderly and disabled.
  • She also looked after and nursed her mother for many years up to the time of her death.
take care of, care for, attend to, minister to, tend, mind, keep an eye on, keep safe, be responsible for, protect;
nurse, babysit, house-sit

look back

1Think of the past: don’t waste time looking back on things that have caused you distress
More example sentences
  • I tell myself not to look back to the past and I try not to let this situation get me down.
  • He didn't see the value in looking back to the past.
  • All he had to do was to look back to the past and note how far man had indeed traveled.
reflect on, think back to, remember, recall, reminisce about, harken back to
2 [with negative] Suffer a setback or interrupted progress: she launched her own company in 1981 and has never looked back
More example sentences
  • Soon electronic engineering became a thing of the past for Richard and he's never looked back.
  • With the help and encouragement of friends, we started to farm - and never looked back.
  • I bought 300 books from a collector $3,500 in 1976, and I've never looked back.

look down on

Regard (someone) with a feeling of superiority.
Example sentences
  • Don't consider me some well-off snob who looks down on all you bus riders because I do not.
  • Serving someone was looked down on, and the art of gracious service got lost.
  • If you don't make good money you are a loser and may be looked down on, no matter how civilized and ethical you are.
disdain, scorn, regard with contempt, look down one's nose at, sneer at, despise

look forward to

Await eagerly: we look forward to seeing you
More example sentences
  • It promises to be a great occasion for the local community and is eagerly looked forward to.
  • He is overjoyed and finds all the people are happy to see him, and he looks forward to the life that awaits him.
  • The carnival parade on Sunday afternoon is something everyone looks forward to.
await with pleasure, eagerly anticipate, lick one's lips over, be unable to wait for, count the days until

look in

Make a short visit or call: I will look in on you tomorrow
More example sentences
  • I'm sure he looks in every once in a while to check up on what we've all been saying.
  • She would ask one of their retired neighbors on the street, a woman, to look in on him every hour or so, if he wanted.
  • Would anyone think to look in on an old man who lived by himself?

look on

Watch without getting involved: Cameron was looking on and making no move to help
More example sentences
  • He looked on and watched as the same girl in his dream climbed into his room through the window.
  • He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on amused as the young man stuffs it into the boot of his car.
  • The coach looked on, inscrutable as he always is when watching from the stands.

look out

[usually in imperative] Be vigilant and take notice: “Look out!” warned Billie, seeing a movement from the room beyond look out for the early warning signals
More example sentences
  • I just hope they will take notice of warning signs we have put up and look out for them on the roads.
  • ‘Look out! Look out!’ they cried to their fellow crew members.
  • ‘Look out!’ I yelled, diving toward Scott.
beware, watch out, be on (one's) guard, be alert, be wary, be vigilant, be careful, take care, be cautious, pay attention, take heed, keep one's eyes open/peeled, keep an eye out;
watch your step

look something out

British Search for and produce something: I’ve got a catalog somewhere and I’ll look it out if you’re interested
More example sentences
  • If you had alerted me to the application, I would have looked it out.
  • It was one of the finest albums of the early 1990s - I must look it out and play it again.
  • He said he thought he had a colour photograph of the sinking ship and he promised to look it out for me.

look up

(Of a situation) improve: things seemed to be looking up at last
More example sentences
  • With an increase in the number of heavy metal record labels things are looking up.
  • When events in life take a turn for the better, we say that things are looking up.
  • They followed this up with a draw against Down and a win over Louth and things were looking up.
improve, get better, pick up, come along/on, progress, make progress, make headway, perk up, rally, take a turn for the better

look someone up

informal Make social contact with someone.
Example sentences
  • We emailed for a bit too but are now out of contact - I should probably look her up again some time.
  • Man, I seriously need to look you up when I come visit my parents in Spring.
  • Sometimes, an Italian friend on a visit to London would look him up.
go to visit, pay a visit to, call on, go to see, look in on, visit with, go see
informal drop in on, drop by, pop by

look something up

Search for and find a piece of information in a reference book.
Example sentences
  • I got out a drug book and looked it up, and from what I could read it said 50 mg was the maximum dose that should be given to an adult.
  • I make a point of never looking recipes up in a book, it slows me down.
  • When was the last time you went to one of your own books and looked something up?
search for, look for, try to find

look up to

Have a great deal of respect for (someone): he needed a model, someone to look up to
More example sentences
  • Old people should be looked up to and respected because they do have experiences that we haven't.
  • He is someone we can respect and look up to, but he's not so high above us that we feel low and downtrodden.
  • This generation looks up to, respects, and admires their parents.
admire, have a high opinion of, think highly of, hold in high regard, regard highly, rate highly, respect, esteem, value, venerate


Old English lōcian (verb); related to German dialect lugen.

Words that rhyme with look

betook, book, brook, Brooke, Chinook, chook, Coke, cook, Cooke, crook, forsook, Gluck, hook, mistook, nook, partook, rook, schnook, schtuck, Shilluk, shook, Tobruk, took, undercook, undertook

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: look

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