Meaning of SEEK in English

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

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meanings 1 & 2)

■ nouns

▪ 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.

■ adverbs

▪ actively

The university is actively seeking new funds.

▪ desperately

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.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.