See also: löök and Look


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From Middle English loken, lokien, from Old English lōcian (to see, behold, look, gaze, observe, notice, take heed, belong, pertain, regard with favor), from Proto-Germanic *lōkōną (to look, see); akin to Proto-Germanic *lōgijaną (to see). Further origin unknown, no certain cognates outside Germanic.[1] The English word, however, is cognate with Scots luke, luik, leuk (to look, see), West Frisian lôkje, loaitsje (to look), Middle Dutch loeken (to look), German Low German löken. Possibly related to Sanskrit लोक् (lok, to see, behold) *lewk- (light) in the sense of "illuminating" (c.f. related word रुच् (ruc) "to shine, illuminate")[2]



look (third-person singular simple present looks, present participle looking, simple past and past participle looked)

  1. (intransitive, often with "at") To try to see, to pay attention to with one’s eyes.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:look
    Troponyms: glance; see also Thesaurus:stare
    Look at my new car!
    Don’t look in the closet.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 5, in The Celebrity:
      Then came a maid with hand-bag and shawls, and after her a tall young lady. [] She looked around expectantly, and recognizing Mrs. Cooke's maid [] Miss Thorn greeted her with a smile which greatly prepossessed us in her favor.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 10, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      He looked round the poor room, at the distempered walls, and the bad engravings in meretricious frames, the crinkly paper and wax flowers on the chiffonier; and he thought of a room like Father Bryan's, with panelling, with cut glass, with tulips in silver pots, such a room as he had hoped to have for his own.
    • 1968, Ray Thomas (lyrics and music), “Legend of a Mind”, in In Search of the Lost Chord, performed by The Moody Blues:
      Timothy Leary's dead. / No, no no no, he's outside, looking in.
  2. To appear, to seem.
    It looks as if it’s going to rain soon.
    • c. 1701–03, Joseph Addison, Remarks on Several Parts of Italy, &c., Dedication:
      THERE is a pleaſure in owning obligations which it is a pleaſure to have received; but ſhould I publiſh any favours done me by your Lordſhip, I am afraid it would look more like vanity, than gratitude.
    • 1908, W[illiam] B[lair] M[orton] Ferguson, chapter IV, in Zollenstein, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 731476803:
      So this was my future home, I thought! [] Backed by towering hills, the but faintly discernible purple line of the French boundary off to the southwest, a sky of palest Gobelin flecked with fat, fleecy little clouds, it in truth looked a dear little city; the city of one's dreams.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 2, in The China Governess[1]:
      Now that she had rested and had fed from the luncheon tray Mrs. Broome had just removed, she had reverted to her normal gaiety.  She looked cool in a grey tailored cotton dress with a terracotta scarf and shoes and her hair a black silk helmet.
    • 2012, Chelsea 6-0 Wolves
      Chelsea's youngsters, who looked lively throughout, then combined for the second goal in the seventh minute. Romeu's shot was saved by Wolves goalkeeper Dorus De Vries but Piazon kept the ball alive and turned it back for an unmarked Bertrand to blast home.
  3. (copulative) To give an appearance of being.
    That painting looks nice.
  4. (intransitive, often with "for") To search for, to try to find.
  5. To face or present a view.
    The hotel looks over the valleys of the HinduKush.
    • 1769, Benjamin Blayney (editor), King James Bible, Oxford standard text, Ezekiel, xi, 1,
      Moreover the spirit lifted me up, and brought me unto the east gate of the LORD's house, which looketh eastward:
  6. To expect or anticipate.
    I look to each hour for my lover’s arrival.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
  7. (transitive) To express or manifest by a look.
    • c. 1815, Lord Byron, Waterloo,
      Soft eyes looked love to eyes which spake again,
    • 1843, Thomas Carlyle, Past and Present, book 2, chapter 6, Monk Samson:
      Once, slipping the money clandestinely, just in the act of taking leave, he slipt it not into her hand but on the floor, and another had it; whereupon the poor Monk, coming to know it, looked mere despair for some days [].
  8. (transitive, often with "to") To make sure of, to see to.
    • 1898, Samuel Butler (translator), Homer, The Odyssey,
      "Look to it yourself, father," answered Telemachus, "for they say you are the wisest counsellor in the world, and that there is no other mortal man who can compare with you. []
  9. (dated, sometimes figuratively) To show oneself in looking.
    Look out of the window [i.e. lean out] while I speak to you.
  10. (transitive, obsolete) To look at; to turn the eyes toward.
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter I, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 639762314, page 0045:
      Serene, smiling, enigmatic, she faced him with no fear whatever showing in her dark eyes. [] She put back a truant curl from her forehead where it had sought egress to the world, and looked him full in the face now, [].
  11. (transitive, obsolete) To seek; to search for.
    • c. 1552–1599, Edmund Spenser, unidentified sonnet,
      Looking my love, I go from place to place, / Like a young fawn that late hath lost the hind; / And seek each where, where last I saw her face, / Whose image yet I carry fresh in mind.
  12. (transitive, obsolete) To influence, overawe, or subdue by looks or presence.
    to look down opposition
    • 1692, John Dryden, Cleomenes the Spartan Hero, a Tragedy, Act 3, Scene 1, 1701, The Comedies, Tragedies, and Operas Written by John Dryden, Esq, Volume 2, page 464,
      A Spirit fit to start into an Empire, / And look the World to Law.
    • Wilkie Collins, Heart and Science
      Ovid might have evaded her entreaties by means of an excuse. But her eyes were irresistible: they looked him into submission in an instant.
  13. (baseball) To look at a pitch as a batter without swinging at it.
    The fastball caught him looking.
    Clem Labine struck Mays out looking at his last at bat.
    It's unusual for Mays to strike out looking. He usually takes a cut at it.

Usage notes

Though the use of the pronunciation /luːk/ is now restricted to northern English dialects, it was formerly more widespread. For example, it is mentioned without comment in Walker's Critical Pronouncing Dictionary.


Derived terms


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.



  1. Pay attention.
    Look, I'm going to explain what to do, so you have to listen closely.


Synonyms: see, so, well, hey


look (plural looks)

  1. The action of looking; an attempt to see.
    Let’s have a look under the hood of the car.
  2. (often plural) Physical appearance, visual impression.
    She got her mother’s looks.
    I don’t like the look of the new design.
    • 1909, Archibald Marshall [pseudonym; Arthur Hammond Marshall], chapter I, in The Squire’s Daughter, London: Methuen, OCLC 12026604; republished New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1919, OCLC 491297620:
      He tried to persuade Cicely to stay away from the ball-room for a fourth dance. [] But she said she must go back, and when they joined the crowd again her partner was haled off with a frightened look to the royal circle, []
  3. A facial expression.
    He gave me a dirty look.
    If looks could kill ...

Derived terms



  1. ^ Philippa, Marlies; Debrabandere, Frans; Quak, Arend; Schoonheim, Tanneke; van der Sijs, Nicoline (2003–2009), “look”, in Etymologisch woordenboek van het Nederlands (in Dutch), Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press
  2. ^ Monier Williams (1899), “look”, in A Sanskrit–English Dictionary, [], new edition, Oxford: At the Clarendon Press, OCLC 458052227, page 906.


Other Languages
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čeština: look
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eesti: look
Ελληνικά: look
español: look
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français: look
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Interlingue: look
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ລາວ: look
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magyar: look
Malagasy: look
മലയാളം: look
မြန်မာဘာသာ: look
Nederlands: look
日本語: look
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polski: look
português: look
русский: look
Gagana Samoa: look
Simple English: look
српски / srpski: look
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: look
suomi: look
svenska: look
Tagalog: look
தமிழ்: look
తెలుగు: look
ไทย: look
ᏣᎳᎩ: look
Türkçe: look
اردو: look
Tiếng Việt: look
中文: look