Definition of look verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//lʊk//
    ; NAmE NAmE//lʊk//
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they look
    BrE BrE//lʊk//
    ; NAmE NAmE//lʊk//
    he / she / it looks
    BrE BrE//lʊks//
    ; NAmE NAmE//lʊks//
    past simple looked
    BrE BrE//lʊkt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//lʊkt//
    past participle looked
    BrE BrE//lʊkt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//lʊkt//
    -ing form looking
    BrE BrE//ˈlʊkɪŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈlʊkɪŋ//
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    use eyes
  1. 1  [intransitive] to turn your eyes in a particular direction If you look carefully you can just see our house from here. look (at somebody/something) She looked at me and smiled. ‘Has the mail come yet?’ ‘I'll look and see.’ Look! I'm sure that's Brad Pitt! Don't look now, but there's someone staring at you! Synonymslookwatch 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 somebody/​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 programme, 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 film/​movie, etc:People came from all over the world to view her work.watch, see or view?You can see/​view a film/​movie/​programme but you cannot:see/​view television. View is more formal than see and is used especially in business contexts.observe (formal) to watch somebody/​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/​watch/​view/​observe (somebody/​something) with amazement/​surprise/​disapproval, etc. to watch/​see/​view a film/​movie/​show/​programme to watch/​see a match/​game/​fight to look (at somebody/​something)/watch (somebody/​something)/observe somebody/​something carefully/​closely see also forward-looking
  2. search
  3. 2  [intransitive] to try to find somebody/something I can't find my book—I've looked everywhere. look for somebody/something Where have you been? We've been looking for you. Are you still looking for a job? We’re looking for someone with experience for this post.
  4. pay attention
  5. 3  [intransitive, transitive] to pay attention to something look (at something) Look at the time! We're going to be late. look where, what, etc… Can't you look where you're going?
  6. appear/seem
  7. 4  linking verb to seem; to appear + adj. to look pale/happy/tired That book looks interesting. look (to somebody) like somebody/something That looks like an interesting book. + noun That looks an interesting book. You made me look a complete fool! see also good-looking
  8. 5  [intransitive] (not usually used in the progressive tenses) to have a similar appearance to somebody/something; to have an appearance that suggests that something is true or will happen look (to somebody) like somebody/something That photograph doesn't look like her at all. It looks like rain (= it looks as if it's going to rain). look (to somebody) as if…/as though… You look as though you slept badly. They don’t look like they’re trying to win. In spoken English people often use like instead of as if or as though in this meaning, especially in North American English:You look like you slept badly. This is not considered correct in written British English.
  9. 6  [intransitive] to seem likely look (to somebody) as if…/as though… It doesn't look as if we'll be moving after all. look (to somebody) like… (informal) It doesn't look like we'll be moving after all.
  10. This use of like instead of as if or as though is not considered correct in written British English.
  11. 7[intransitive] + adv./prep. to face a particular direction The house looks east. The hotel looks out over the harbour.
  12. Word OriginOld English lōcian (verb), of West Germanic origin; related to German dialect lugen.Extra examples It doesn’t look as if we’ll be moving after all. It looks like rain. That photograph doesn’t look like her at all. You look tired. ‘It’s beautiful!’ ‘Oh! Let me look!’ He looked longingly at the food on the table. He turned to look as she came down the stairs. He was looking studiously down to avoid meeting her eyes. I looked up angrily at my brother. I’ll look and see if I’ve got any sugar in the cupboard. It looks to me as if the company is in real trouble. Look at the machine quite carefully before you buy it. Now is the time to look again at these arguments. She looked around helplessly. She looked over to where the others were chatting. She looked towards the door. She looked up at me sharply when I said that. The kitchen looks onto the garden. The room looks north. The room looks out over the sea. What are you looking at? an animal that looked like a large hedgehog ‘Has the mail come yet?’ ‘I’ll look and see.’ Don’t look now, but there’s someone staring at you! He inspected the room, looking for any possible clues. I can’t find my book—I’ve looked everywhere. I looked in the mirror to see if my tie was straight. I was just about to come looking for you. I’m looking for an apartment on the east side of the city. I’ve spent my whole life looking for an answer to that question! Look carefully for signs of damp. Look! I’m sure that’s Brad Pitt! We’re looking around for a house in this area. We’re looking for someone with experience for this position.Idioms Most idioms containing look are at the entries for the nouns and adjectives in the idioms, for example look daggers at somebody is at dagger.  used in a shop/store to say that you are not ready to buy something ‘Can I help you?’ ‘I'm just looking, thank you.’
    be looking to do something
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    to try to find ways of doing something The government is looking to reduce inflation.
    look bad, not look good
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    to be considered bad behaviour or bad manners It looks bad not going to your own brother's wedding.
    look bad (for somebody)
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    to show that something bad might happen He's had another heart attack; things are looking bad for him, I'm afraid.
    to show success or that something good might happen This year's sales figures are looking good. (old-fashioned) used to protest about something Now look here, it wasn't my fault. used to give an example that proves what you are saying or makes it clearer Look how lazy we've become. Be careful climbing that ladder. Look what happened last time.
    look somebody up and down
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    to look at somebody in a careful or critical way
    to not have your normal healthy appearance You're not looking yourself today (= you look tired or ill/sick). (informal) to become more and more successful Her first novel was published in 2007 and since then she hasn't looked back. (informal) not attractive
    to look at somebody/something
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    judging by the appearance of somebody/something To look at him you'd never think he was nearly fifty.
    Phrasal Verbslook after somebodylook ahead (to something)look at somethinglook back (on something)look down on somebodylook for somethinglook forward to somethinglook in (on somebody)look into somethinglook onlook on somebody as somebodylook on somebody with somethinglook outlook out somethinglook out for somebodylook out for somebodylook out for somebodylook somethingoverlook roundlook roundlook roundlook round for somethinglook through somebodylook through somethinglook to somethinglook to somebody for somethinglook uplook up (from something)look somebodyuplook somethinguplook up to somebody
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: look