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look - definition and synonyms

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90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

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verb     look pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
present tense
present participlelooking
past tenselooked
past participlelooked
  1. 1
    [intransitive] to direct your eyes towards someone or something so that you can see them

    Looking closely you could see traces of grey in her hair.

    look at:

    Dan looked at his watch.

    Susannah looked at herself in the mirror.

    look down/away/through etc:

    If you look through this window, you can see the cathedral.

  2. 2
    [intransitive] to search for someone or something

    I don’t know where the keys are. I’ve looked everywhere.

    look for:

    I spent most of the morning looking for my passport.

    look through/under/in etc:

    The burglar had looked through all the cupboards and drawers.

  3. 3
    [linking verb] to have a particular appearance

    He looked about twenty.

    look like:

    ‘What does your brother look like?’ ‘He’s tall and thin, with brown hair.’

    look happy/tired/funny etc:

    He looked very funny in his hat.

    look important/strange/interesting etc:

    An important-looking letter arrived for Dave.

    look as if/as though:

    Brian looked as if he was going to cry.

    Synonyms and related words
    1. a.
      look your age to look as old as you really are

      Richard doesn’t look his age at all.

    2. b.
      not look yourself to look different than you usually do, for example ill, tired, or unhappy

      He didn’t look himself when I saw him yesterday.

    3. c.
      look your best to look as good as you can

      It was a first date, and Emily wanted to look her best.

  4. 4
    [linking verb] to think about something in a particular way
    look at:

    John thinks that success is being rich, but I don’t look at it like that.

  5. 5
    [linking verb] to seem to be something

    Things were beginning to look a bit gloomy.

    look a fool/idiot etc:

    You’ve made me look such an idiot!

    Synonyms and related words
  6. 6
    [linking verb] used for giving your opinion about how likely it is that something will happen or be true
    look certain/unlikely etc to do something:

    He looks certain to win the competition.

    it looks like/it looks as if (=it seems likely that):

    It looks like Bill will be able to come too.

    look like doing something (=seem as though something will happen):

    Arsenal never looked like winning the game.

  7. 7
    [intransitive] [always in imperative] spoken used when you want someone to look at something surprising or interesting

    Look! There’s John!

    1. a.
      used for making a suggestion or when you want someone to pay attention to what you are going to say

      Look, why don’t we meet up for a drink and talk about it then?

    2. b.
      look what/how spoken used for giving an example that proves that what you are saying is true

      It’s not a good idea to travel without insurance: look what happened to Bill.

      Look how long it took Mel to get a job.

  8. 8
    [intransitive] if a building or room looks in a particular direction, it faces that direction
    look north/south etc:

    He strolled towards the huge windows that looked south across London.

    look out over something:

    My room looked out over the lake.

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