- 1[transitive, intransitive] (not used in the progressive tenses) to become aware of someone or something by using your eyes see (somebody/something) She looked for him but couldn't see him in the crowd. I looked out of the window but saw nothing. The opera was the place to see and be seen (= by other important or fashionable people). see (that)… He could see (that) she had been crying. see what, how, etc… Did you see what happened? If you watch carefully, you'll see how it is done. see somebody/something + adj. I hate to see you unhappy. see somebody/something doing something She was seen running away from the scene of the crime. see somebody/something do something I saw you put the key in your pocket. somebody/something is seen to do something He was seen to enter the building about the time the crime was committed.
- 2[intransitive] (not usually used in the progressive tenses) to have or use the power of sight She will never see again (= she has become blind). On a clear day you can see for miles from here. see to do something It was getting dark and Icouldn't see to read. watch
- 3 [transitive] (not usually used in the progressive tenses) see something to watch a game, television program, performance, etc. Did you see that program on Brazil last night? In the evening we went to see a movie. Fifty thousand people saw the championship. Thesauruslookwatch see view observeThese words all mean to turn your eyes in a particular direction.look to turn your eyes in a particular direction:If you look carefully, you can just see our house from here. She looked at me and smiled.watch to look at someone or something for a time, paying attention to what happens:to watch television Watch what I do, then you try.see to watch a game, television program, performance, etc:In the evening we went to see a movie.view (formal) to look at something, especially when you look carefully; to watch television, a movie, etc:People came from all over the world to view her artwork.watch, see, or view?You can see/view a movie/program/show but you cannot:see/view television. View is more formal than see and is used especially in business contexts.observe (formal) to watch someone or something carefully, especially to learn more about them or it:The patients were observed over a period of several months.Patterns to look/watch for somebody/something to watch/observe what/who/how… to look (at)/watch/view/observe (somebody/something) with amazement/surprise/disapproval, etc. to watch/see/view a movie/show/program to watch/see a game/fight/match to look (at somebody/something)/watch (somebody/something)/observe somebody/something carefully/closely look up information
- 4[transitive] (used in orders) see something to look at something in order to find information See page 158. meet by chance
- 5[transitive] see somebody (not usually used in the progressive tenses) to be near and recognize someone; to meet someone by chance Guess who I saw at the party last night! visit
- 6[transitive] see somebody to visit someone Come and see us again soon. have meeting
- 7[transitive] see somebody (about something) to have a meeting with someone You ought to see a doctor about that cough. What is it you want to see me about? I can only see you for five minutes. spend time
- 8[transitive] (often used in the progressive tenses) see somebody to spend time with someone Are you seeing anyone (= having a romantic relationship with anyone)? They've been seeing a lot of each other (= spending a lot of time together) recently. understand
- 9[intransitive, transitive] (not usually used in the progressive tenses) to understand something “It opens like this.” “Oh,I see.” see something He didn't see the joke. I don't think she saw the point of the story. I can see both sides of the argument. Make Lydia see reason (= be sensible), will you? see (that)… Can't you see(that) he's taking advantage of you? Idon't see that it matters what Josh thinks. see what, why, etc… “It's broken.” “Oh yes,I see what you mean.” “Can we go swimming?” “I don't see why not (= yes, you can).” be seen to do something The government not only has to do something, it must be seen to be doing something (= people must be aware that it is doing something). Thesaurusunderstandsee get follow grasp comprehendThese words all mean to know or realize something, for example why something happens, how something works, or what something means.understand to know or realize the meaning of words, a language, what someone says, etc.; to know or realize how or why something happens, how it works, or why it is important:I don't understand the instructions. Doctors are just beginning to understand the causes of the disease.see to understand what is happening, what someone is saying, how something works, or how important something is:Ah ha—I see how it works now. Oh yes, I see what you mean.get (informal) to understand a joke, what someone is trying to tell you, or a situation that they are trying to describe:She didn't get the joke. I don't get you.follow to understand an explanation, a story, or the meaning of something:Sorry—I don't quite follow what you're saying. The plot is almost impossible to follow.grasp to come to understand a fact, an idea, or how to do something:They failed to grasp the importance of his words.understand or grasp?You can use understand or grasp for the action of realizing the meaning or importance of something for the first time:It's a difficult concept for children to understand/grasp.Only understand can be used to talk about languages, words, or writing:I don't grasp French/the instructions.comprehend (often used in negative statements) (formal) to understand a fact, an idea, or a reason:The concept of infinity is almost impossible for us to comprehend.Patterns to understand/see/get/follow/grasp/comprehend what… to understand/see/get/grasp/comprehend why/how… to understand/see/grasp/comprehend that… to understand/see/get/grasp the point/idea (of something) to be easy/difficult/hard to understand/see/follow/grasp/comprehend to fully understand/see/grasp/comprehend something have opinion
- 10[transitive] see something + adv./prep. (not usually used in the progressive tenses) to have an opinion of something Isee things differently now. Try to see things from her point of view. Lack of money is the main problem,as I see it (= in my opinion). The way I see it, you have three main problems. Thesaurusregardcall find consider see viewThese words all mean to think about someone or something in a particular way.regard to think of someone or something in a particular way:He seemed to regard the whole thing as a joke.call to say that someone or something has particular qualities or characteristics:I wouldn't call German an easy language.find to have a particular feeling or opinion about something:You may find his story hard to believe.consider to think of someone or something in a particular way:Whom do you consider (to be) responsible for the accident?regard or consider?These two words have the same meaning, but they are used in different patterns and structures. In this meaning, consider must be used with a complement or clause: you can consider somebody/something to be something or consider somebody/something as something, although very often the to be or as is left out:He considers himself an expert. They are considered a high-risk group.You can also consider that somebody/something is something and again, the that can be left out. Regard is used in a narrower range of structures. The most frequent structure is regard somebody/something as something; the as cannot be left out:I regard him a close friend.You cannotregard somebody/something to be somethingorregard that somebody/something is something. However, regard (but not consider in this meaning) can also be used without a noun or adjective complement but with just an object and adverb (somebody/something is highly regarded) or adverbial phrase (regard somebody/something with suspicion/jealousy/admiration).see to have an opinion of something:Try to see things from her point of view.view to think of someone or something in a particular way:How do you view your position within the company? View has the same meaning as regard and consider but is slightly less frequent and slightly less formal. The main structures are view somebody/something as somebody/something (you cannot leave out the as) and view somebody/something with something.Patterns to regard/consider/see/view somebody/something as something to regard/consider/see/view somebody/something from a particular perspective to find/consider somebody/something to be something generally/usually/often regarded/considered/seen/viewed as something to regard/consider/view somebody/something favorably/unfavorably imagine
- 11[transitive] (not used in the progressive tenses) to consider something as a future possibility; to imagine someone or something as something see somebody/something doing something I can't see her changing her mind. see somebody/something as something Her colleagues see her as a future director. Thesaurusimaginethink see envisionThese words all mean to form an idea in your mind of what someone or something might be like.imagine to form an idea in your mind of what someone or something might be like:The house was just as she had imagined it.think to imagine something that might happen:I can't think of a better place for a wedding. Just think —this time tomorrow we'll be lying on a beach.see to consider something as a future possibility; to imagine someone as something:I can't see her changing her mind. His colleagues see him as a future director.envision to imagine what a situation will be like in the future, especially a situation that you intend to work toward:They envision an equal society, free from poverty and disease. In ten years, I envision myself running my own business. Envision is used especially in business and political contexts.Patterns to imagine/see/envision somebody/something as something to imagine/see/envision (somebody) doing something to be able to imagine/think/see/envision who/what/how… to imagine/think/envision that… find out
- 12[intransitive, transitive] (not usually used in the progressive tenses) to find out something by looking, asking, or waiting “Has the mail come yet?” “I'll just go and see.” “Is he going to get better?” “I don't know, we'll just have to wait and see.” We'll have a great time,you'll see. see what, how, etc… Go and see what the kids are doing, will you? We'll have to see how it goes. see (that) I see (that) interest rates are going up again. it is seen that… It can be seen that certain groups are more at risk than others.
- 13[intransitive, transitive] (not usually used in the progressive tenses) to find out or decide something by thinking or considering “Will you be able to help us?” “I don't know, I'll have to see.” “Can I go to the party?” “We'll see (= I'll decide later).” see what, whether, etc… I'll see what I can do to help. make sure
- 14[transitive] (not usually used in the progressive tenses) see that… to make sure that you do something or that something is done See that all the doors are locked before you leave. Could you see that the kids are in bed by 8 o'clock? experience
- 15[transitive] (not used in the progressive tenses) see something to experience or suffer something He has seen a great deal in his long life. I hope I never live to see the day when computers finally replace books. It didn't surprise her—she had seen it all before. witness event
- 16 [transitive] (not used in the progressive tenses) see something to be the time when an event happens This year sees the centenary of Mahler's death.
- 17[transitive] (not used in the progressive tenses) see something to be the place where an event happens synonym witness This stadium has seen many thrilling football games. help
- 18[transitive] see somebody + adv./prep. to go with someone to help or protect them I saw the old lady across (= helped her cross) the road. May Isee you home (= go with you as far as your house)? My secretary will see you out (= show you the way out of the building). Thesaurusseespot catchThese words all mean to become aware of someone or something by using your eyes, especially suddenly or when it is not easy to see them/it.see to become aware of someone or something by using your eyes:She looked for him but couldn't see him in the crowd. He could see (that) she had been crying.spot to see or notice someone or something, especially suddenly or when they are/it is not easy to see or notice:I just spotted a mistake on the front cover.catch to see or notice something for a moment, but not clearly or completely:She caught sight of a car in the distance. He caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror.Patterns to suddenly see/spot/catch sight of somebody/somethingIdioms
verbjump to other results
NAmE//si//Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they see
he / she / it sees
past simple saw
past participle seen
-ing form seeing
clearly visible; in a way that is clearly visible
for all (the world) to seejump to other results
used when you are thinking or trying to remember something Now let me see—how old is she now?
let me see/let's see (informal)jump to other results
to realize that there is going to be a problem before it happens We should have seen it coming. There was no way he could keep going under all that pressure.
see something comingjump to other results
to realize that someone or something is not as good, pleasant, etc. as they/it seem
see somebody/something for what they are/it isjump to other results
to find out or look at something yourself in order to be sure that what someone is saying is true If you don't believe me, go and see for yourself!
see for yourselfjump to other results
because of the fact that… Seeing that he's been off sick all week he's unlikely to come.
seeing that… (informal seeing as (how)…)jump to other results
goodbye I'd better be going now. See you!
see you (around), (I'll) be seeing you, see you later (informal)jump to other results
used when you are explaining something You see, the thing is, we won't be finished before Friday. Phrasal Verbssee about somethingsee something in somebody/somethingsee somebodyoffsee somethingoutsee through somebody/somethingsee something throughsee somebody throughsee to somethingsee to it that…
you see (informal)jump to other results