\ ˈlu̇k How to pronounce look (audio) \
looked; looking; looks

Definition of look

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to make sure or take care (that something is done) censor to look that no man lived idly— Edward Gee
2 : to ascertain by the use of one's eyes look what I brought you
3a : to exercise the power of vision upon : examine
b archaic : to search for
4a : expect, anticipate we look to have a good year
b : to have in mind as an end looking to win back some lost profits
5 archaic : to bring into a place or condition by the exercise of the power of vision
6 : to express by the eyes or facial expression the friar looked his surprise— Robert Brennan
7 : to have an appearance that befits or accords with looks her age

intransitive verb

1a : to exercise the power of vision : see
b : to direct one's attention look upon the future with hope look at the map
c : to direct the eyes looked up from the newspaper
2 : to have the appearance or likelihood of being : seem it looks unlikely looks to be hard work
3 : to have a specified outlook the house looked east
4 : to gaze in wonder or surprise : stare
5 : to show a tendency the evidence looks to acquittal
look after
: to take care of looked after her sick mother
look at
1 : consider sense 1 looking at the possibility of relocating
2 : confront, face looking at a mandatory fine— Cindy Kilass
look down one's nose
: to view something with arrogance, disdain, or disapproval writers who look down their noses at popular culture
look for
1 : to await with hope or anticipation You can look for me to arrive at noon.
2 : to search for : seek looking for a new car
look forward
: to anticipate with pleasure or satisfaction looking forward to your visit
look into
: explore sense 1a Investigators are looking into the cause of the accident.
look the other way
: to direct one's attention away from something unpleasant or troublesome We can't just look the other way while these violations of human rights continue to occur.
look to
1 : to direct one's attention to looking to the future
2 : to rely upon looks to reading for relaxation



Definition of look (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : the act of looking
b : glance
2a : the expression of the countenance
b : physical appearance especially : attractive physical appearance usually used in plural
c : a combination of design features giving a unified appearance a new look in women's fashions
3 : the state or form in which something appears

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Choose the Right Synonym for look


expect, hope, look mean to await some occurrence or outcome. expect implies a high degree of certainty and usually involves the idea of preparing or envisioning. expects to be finished by Tuesday hope implies little certainty but suggests confidence or assurance in the possibility that what one desires or longs for will happen. hopes to find a job soon look, with to, implies assurance that expectations will be fulfilled looks to a tidy profit from the sale ; with for it implies less assurance and suggests an attitude of expectancy and watchfulness. look for rain when the wind shifts to the northeast

Examples of look in a Sentence


He looked straight ahead and kept walking. When you take a walk, look around you. She smiled at me and then looked away. He looked back the way he had come. Look both ways before you cross the street. When I finally reached the top I was afraid to look down. She looked from one person to the next. They looked off into the distance. He was looking over his shoulder. Her new haircut makes her look young.


I don't think you left it here, but I'll take a look around for it. I took a quick look, but he wasn't there.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Hi and welcome again to the Reluctant Mailbag, wherein The Chronicle sifts through Twitter looking for only the best and brightest A’s questions and then settles for these. Susan Slusser, SFChronicle.com, "A’s mailbag: Bullpen travails, slotting in injured pitchers, All-Stars and more," 13 June 2019 Trump’s choice of that location may be surprising to those who look at an election map of Florida and see Orange County colored in solid Democratic blue. Steven Lemongello, orlandosentinel.com, "Why is President Trump’s campaign coming to Orlando? It’s key to winning Florida, experts say.," 13 June 2019 Some entrepreneurs look at North Beach and throw up their hands. Shwanika Narayan, San Francisco Chronicle, "The historic San Francisco neighborhood is suddenly littered with empty storefronts. What’s the reason?," 13 June 2019 Beef masters at the most famous restaurant in Indianapolis can just look at a steak and tell you if it's done. Andrew Clark, Indianapolis Star, "Scotty's Brewhouse in Brownsburg closes," 13 June 2019 Police looked at surveillance video and saw that a person wearing black later picked up the bag and went into a nearby Legacy Village business. cleveland.com, "Man, 81, arrested at hotel after locking door, asking cleaning woman the cost of sex act: Lyndhurst police blotter," 12 June 2019 His experiment suggested that the two rock spectra look radically different from one another, and that future missions could make use of the windows. Shannon Hall, Scientific American, "Venus, Earth’s Evil Twin, Beckons Space Agencies," 12 June 2019 And many politicians look to texts like Washington’s proclamation as proof that America was founded as a Christian nation. Sam Wineburg, Smithsonian, "What George Washington’s Views on Religion and America Don’t Translate Well to Today’s Politics," 12 June 2019 The airy hotel lobby fits into it, too, with decorative wooden waves shooting out where guests check in and light fixtures meant to look like sea foam bubbles. Gabrielle Russon, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Universal’s newest hotel costs less than $100 a night," 12 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Even though a list such as this could be virtually endless, here's a look at some of the top NFL nicknames, including players, plays, teams and even stadiums. Simmi Buttar, chicagotribune.com, "The NFL has had great nicknames in its history. Here are some of the best.," 14 June 2019 This weekly column is a look around Butler and Warren counties from Enquirer Reporter Keith BieryGolick. Keith Bierygolick, Cincinnati.com, "‘I thought about killing myself’: Magistrate fired by judge claims religious discrimination," 13 June 2019 Such a drubbing could be a bad look for a women's sport that is ostensibly on the cusp of reaching new levels of competition and recognition. Aj Willingham, CNN, "What's the proper way to celebrate a 13-0 soccer win? Hmm, let's see ...," 12 June 2019 Toronto might have shot 44 percent from the floor and 8-of-32 from beyond the arc Monday, but many of those 3-point attempts were wide-open looks — the kind that are likely to fall, if for no other reason than regression, in Game 6. Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, "Kurtenbach: The 3 things the Warriors must do to force a Game 7," 12 June 2019 Included is a look at how the players are faring in the first balloting update at their respective position, which came out Tuesday. Kyle Newman, The Denver Post, "Newman: The case for which Rockies deserve to make the 2019 MLB all-star game," 11 June 2019 Selling on Craigslist is a bad look for a measure that a small majority of voters approved. Matt Simon, WIRED, "The Heady, Thorny Journey to Decriminalize Magic Mushrooms," 10 June 2019 Not saying Culver over Garland but that was a serious look at JC — Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) June 7, 2019 Who's not worth giving up for Davis? Jayson Tatum, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Mitchell Robinson, Kyle Kuzma and Caris LeVert. Matt Goul, cleveland.com, "NBA Draft 2019 rumors, news: Ja Morant, R.J. Barrett make visits to Memphis Grizzlies, New York Knicks," 10 June 2019 Ultimate Indiana bucket list: 50+ things to do around the state Here's a look at nearly 30 places to watch fireworks in the Indianapolis area on or around the Fourth of July. Chris Sims, Indianapolis Star, "Where to find Fourth of July events and fireworks shows around Indianapolis," 10 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'look.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of look


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for look

Verb and Noun

Middle English, from Old English lōcian; akin to Old Saxon lōcōn to look

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Learn More about look

Statistics for look

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for look

The first known use of look was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for look



English Language Learners Definition of look

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to direct your eyes in a particular direction
: to seem to be something especially because of appearance
: to have an appearance that is suitable for (something)



English Language Learners Definition of look (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act of looking at something
: the act of examining or considering something
: the act of trying to find something or someone


\ ˈlu̇k How to pronounce look (audio) \
looked; looking

Kids Definition of look

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to use the power of vision : see Look before you cross.
2 : to direct the attention or eyes Look in the mirror. Look at the map.
3 : seem sense 1 That looks dangerous.
4 : to have an appearance that is suitable He looks his age.
5 : face entry 2 sense 1 The house looks east.
look after
: to take care of Look after the children.
look down on
: to regard as bad or inferior
look out
: to be careful
look up
1 : to search for in a reference book Look it up in the dictionary.
2 : to get better Your chances are looking up.
look up to



Kids Definition of look (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act of looking We took a look around.
2 : the expression on a person's face or in a person's eyes The child had a mischievous look.
3 looks plural : physical appearance good looks
4 : appearance that suggests what something is or means The cloth has a look of leather.

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More from Merriam-Webster on look

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for look

Spanish Central: Translation of look

Nglish: Translation of look for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of look for Arabic Speakers

Comments on look

What made you want to look up look? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to take the place or position of

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