Meaning of “see” in the English Dictionary

"see" in English

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uk /siː/ us /siː/ present participle seeing, past tense saw, past participle seen

see verb (USE EYES)

A1 [ I or T ] to be conscious of what is around you by using your eyes:

Turn the light on so I can see.
I can see you!
[ + (that) ] The teacher could see (that) the children had been fighting.
[ + -ing verb ] From the window we could see the children playing in the yard.
[ + past participle ] His parents saw him awarded the winner's medal.
See (= look at) p. 23 for prices and flight details.
UK See over (= look at the next page) for further information.

A2 [ T ] to watch a film, television programme, etc.:

Did you see that documentary on Channel 4 last night?

C1 [ T often passive ] to be the time or place when something happens:

This summer has seen the end of water restrictions in the area thanks to a new reservoir.
you ain't seen nothing yet humorous

said to mean that more surprising or exciting things are likely to happen

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see verb (UNDERSTAND)

B1 [ T ] to understand, know, or realize:

[ + (that) ] I see (that) the club is organizing a theatre trip next month.
[ + question word ] He can't see what difference it makes to come (= he doesn't think it is important if he comes) on Thursday instead of Friday.
They didn't see the need/any need (= understand that it was important) to notify their members of the changes in writing.
They refused to help because they're too busy, but he seems to see more in it than that.
"I'm tired." "So I see - you've been yawning all afternoon."
I was surprised that they couldn't see my point of view.
The government didn't want to be seen to be making concessions to terrorists.
After she read his book she started to see the issue in another/a different/a new light (= differently).

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see verb (MEET)

A1 [ I or T ] to meet or visit someone, or to visit a place:

We're seeing friends this weekend.
I haven't seen Jerry around (= in the places I usually meet him) in the last few weeks.
No one has seen much of Daryl since he got married.
They see a lot of each other (= are often together).
My mother is seeing the doctor again next week.
The children wanted to see the circus.
The agent said they could see the house (UK also see round the house) at 3 p.m.

[ T ] to have a romantic relationship with someone:

How long has she been seeing him?

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see verb (CONSIDER)

B2 [ T ] to consider or think about, especially to think about someone or something in a particular way, or to imagine someone doing a particular activity:

She didn't see herself as brave.
It was easy to see the gift as a kind of bribe.
[ + obj + -ing verb ] I can't see her accepting (= I don't think she will accept) the job in the present circumstances.
As I see it/things/the situation, we'll have to get extra help.
Try and see it my way - I'll be left without any help if you go.

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also See /siː/ specialized

[ C ] a place where there is a cathedral and where a bishop or archbishop has authority:

the See of York/Exeter/Lincoln
bishops and their sees


(Definition of “see” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"see" in American English

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us /si/ past tense saw // , past participle seen /sin/

see verb (USE EYES)

[ I/T ] to be aware of what is around you by using your eyes; look at something:

[ T ] From the kitchen window, I can see the kids playing in the backyard.
[ + question word ] Can you see what is happening?
[ T ] The agent said they could see the house at 3 p.m.
[ T ] Did you see that documentary about homelessness on TV last night?

see verb (UNDERSTAND)

[ I/T ] to understand, know, or be aware:

[ I ] "It’s easier if you hold it this way." "Oh, I see."
[ T ] I can’t see any reason why they would object.
[ + question word ] I can see why you didn’t want to go out with him.

see verb (CONSIDER)

[ I/T ] to consider someone or something in a particular way, or to imagine someone doing a particular activity:

[ T ] Under the circumstances, I can’t see her accepting the job (= I do not think she will accept it).
[ T ] I can’t see my brother as a businessman.
[ T ] As I see it/the situation, we’ll have to get extra help.
[ I ] "Do you think there’ll be time to stop for lunch?" "We’ll see (= I will consider it)."
[ + question word ] I’ll see how I feel tomorrow.

see verb (MEET)

[ T ] to meet, visit, or spend time with someone:

I saw Darlene last week.
Mom is seeing the doctor tomorrow.
They see each other on weekends (= they are often together then).
How long have they been seeing each other (= having a romantic relationship)?

see verb (TRY TO DISCOVER)

[ + question word ] to try to discover:

Will you see who is at the door?

see verb (MAKE CERTAIN)

[ + that clause ] to make certain (that something happens):

She said she’d see that her boss gets the message.

see verb (EXPERIENCE)

[ T ] to experience something:

This coat has seen a lot of wear.
She’s seen a lot of changes in this office over the years.

[ T ] If a time or place has seen something, it happened or existed there or then:

This summer has seen unusually high temperatures.

(Definition of “see” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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