see - definition and synonyms


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present tense
present participleseeing
past tensesaw
past participleseen
  1. 1
    [transitive] [never progressive] to notice someone or something using your eyes

    She laughed when she saw the expression on his face.

    see what/where/who:

    Did you see who it was?

    see (that):

    I could see she was upset.

    see someone/something doing something:

    Didn’t you see him talking to her earlier?

    1. a.
      [intransitive/transitive] to be able to use your eyes to notice and recognize things

      If the operation is successful, he will be able to see again.

      see to do something:

      It was too dark to see to read.

      can’t see a thing:

      She can’t see a thing without her contact lenses.

    2. b.
      [transitive] to watch something such as a film or television programme

      We saw Hamlet at the National Theatre last week.

      Have you seen the film American Beauty?

    3. c.
      [transitive] to look at something in order to check it

      The border guard asked to see her passport.

  2. 2
    [transitive] to meet or visit someone who you know by arrangement

    Are you seeing Jane tomorrow?

    see you (=I’ll meet you):

    See you at the station at 6 o’clock.

    1. a.
      [transitive] [never progressive] to meet someone who you know by accident

      I saw David in town the other day.

    2. b.
      [transitive] to have a business or professional meeting with someone

      When can Mr Martin see me?

      see someone about something:

      She’s seeing the doctor about her leg tomorrow.

    3. c.
      [transitive] to spend time with a friend or member of your family

      We still see each other a couple of times a month.

      see more/less/a lot of someone:

      I’ve been seeing a lot of my sister recently.

    4. d.
      [transitive] to be visited by someone

      Peter still isn’t well enough to see anyone.

  3. 3
    [transitive] [always in imperative] used for saying where you can find more information

    See chapter 12.

    see above/below (=nearer the beginning/end):

    This contributed to the success of the Republicans (see above).

  4. 4
    [intransitive/transitive] [never progressive] to understand something

    I think I see the problem here.

    see why/what/who/how:

    I see why you’re angry.

    see (that):

    No one could see he was to blame.

    can’t/don’t see why/what/that:

    I can’t see that it matters who does it.

    He didn’t see what all the fuss was about.

    see what someone means:

    ‘It’s not fair to go without him.’ ‘Yes, I see what you mean.’

  5. 5
    [transitive] to consider someone or something in a particular way
    see someone/something as something:

    This was seen as an attempt to fool the voters.

    He seems to see me as a threat.

    see things differently (from someone):

    A scientist sees things differently from an artist.

  6. 6
    [transitive] [never progressive] to imagine someone or something
    see someone as something:

    Can you really see her as the president?

    see someone/something doing something:

    I just can’t see them winning the game.

    see yourself:

    Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

  7. 7
    [intransitive/transitive] [never progressive] to find something out

    As we saw in Chapter 2, the reasons for the war were complex.

    see (that):

    If you read his report, you’ll see that he recommends a cautious approach.

    see who/what/why:

    I’ll go and see what he wants.

    see if/whether:

    He went back to see whether they needed any help.

  8. 8
    [transitive] [never progressive] to experience something

    This little girl has seen so much misery in her time.

  9. 9
    [transitive] if a place or a period of time sees an event, the event happens in that place or during that time

    The region has seen some of the fiercest fighting in the war.

  10. 10
    [transitive] to go with someone because you want to make sure that they arrive somewhere
    see someone home:

    Can I see you home?

    see someone across the road:

    I’ll see him across the road.

    see someone to the door (=when they leave a building):

    My secretary will see you to the door.

  11. 11
    [transitive] in a card game, to bet the same amount of money as another player

    I’ll see your 20 dollars.

    1. a.
      to bet the same money as another player and to make them show their cards