seek S2 W1 AC /siːk/ BrE AmE verb ( past tense and past participle sought /sɔːt $ sɒːt/) [transitive]
[ Word Family: verb : ↑ seek ; noun : ↑ seeker ]
[ Language: Old English ; Origin: secan ]
1 . formal to try to achieve or get something:
Do you think the President will seek re-election?
seek refuge/asylum/shelter etc
Thousands of people crossed the border, seeking refuge from the war.
seek revenge/damages/compensation etc
He sought revenge against Surkov for separating him from his wife and son.
seek to do something
Local schools are seeking to reduce the dropout rate.
2 . seek (sb’s) advice/help/assistance etc formal to ask someone for advice or help:
If the symptoms persist, seek medical advice.
3 . written to look for someone or something SYN look for :
new graduates seeking employment
Attractive woman, 27, seeks male, 25-35, for fun and friendship.
In everyday English, people usually say that they are looking for someone or something rather than seeking someone or something:
What kind of job are you looking for?
4 . seek your fortune literary to go to another place hoping to gain success and wealth:
Coles came to the Yukon in the 1970s to seek his fortune.
5 . to move naturally towards something or into a particular position:
Water seeks its own level.
⇨ ↑ heat-seeking , ↑ hide-and-seek , ↑ self-seeking , ↑ sought-after
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COLLOCATIONS (for Meanings 1 & 2)
▪ seek help
He sought help from the police.
▪ seek advice/information
If in any doubt, seek the advice of a senior officer.
▪ seek support/approval
He said he would seek shareholder support for the proposal.
▪ seek permission
They are seeking permission to build 200 new houses.
▪ seek refuge/asylum/shelter (=try to find somewhere safe)
They sought refuge inside the castle.
▪ seek election/re-election (=try to be elected or re-elected)
He hasn’t decided whether to seek re-election.
▪ seek compensation/damages (=ask for money because of something bad you have suffered)
The other two may seek compensation for wrongful imprisonment.
▪ seek revenge
Dafoe plays a computer mastermind who seeks revenge on his former employer.
The university is actively seeking new funds.
They ran in all directions, desperately seeking escape.
• • •
▪ search to look carefully for someone or something:
Detectives continue to search for clues.
She searched through all his clothes.
▪ look for somebody/something to try to get someone or something you want or need:
I’m looking for something to wear for my sister’s wedding.
The band is looking for a singer.
He’s decided to look for a new career.
▪ try to find somebody/something used especially when someone or something is difficult to find:
I spent half an hour trying to find a parking space.
She was in the kitchen, trying to find something to eat that wasn’t raw carrot.
▪ seek formal to try to find something or someone. Used especially about jobs, help, or information. Also used in newspaper advertisements when trying to find a suitable person:
They went there seeking work.
She decided to seek help.
Tall blond 18-year-old male seeks female 17+ for friendship.
▪ hunt to look for someone or something. Used when you look very carefully and thoroughly, or in the phrase house/job/bargain hunting :
I’ve hunted everywhere, but I can’t find a recipe for French onion soup.
She’s gone out bargain-hunting in the sales.
▪ be on the lookout for somebody/something to be continuously looking for someone or something:
I’m always on the lookout for a good bargain.
▪ leave no stone unturned to look for someone or something in every possible place:
The police say they will leave no stone unturned in their search for the killer.
seek somebody/something ↔ out phrasal verb
to try to find someone or something, especially when this is difficult:
Our mission is to seek out the enemy and destroy them.