Meaning of SEEK in English


I. ˈsēk verb

( sought ˈsȯt, usu -ȯd.+V ; sought ; seeking ; seeks )

Etymology: Middle English sechen, seken (past soughte, past participle sought ), from Old English sēcan (past sōhte, past participle gesōht ); akin to Old High German suohhen to seek (past suohta, past participle gisuohhit ), Old Norse sœkja (past sōtti, past participle sōttr ), Gothic sokjan to seek (past sokida, past participle sokiths ), sakan to quarrel, Latin sagire to perceive keenly, Greek hēgeisthai to go ahead, lead

transitive verb

1. obsolete : to follow or advance against in order to attack : pursue

of us must Pompey presently be sought, or else he seeks out us — Shakespeare

2. : to resort to : go to

for an hour everyone seeks the shade to rest — Richard Roche

departed for Rome which at that time was sought by American painters and sculptors — Charles de Kay



(1) : to go in search of : look for : search for

if management does decide to seek the man within the ranks of the company — Bruce Payne

seeking out keymen and awarding them fellowships — Bulletin of Meharry Medical College

(2) : to move or act so as to reach or arrive at

water seeks its own level

rockets designed to seek out and destroy with uncanny accuracy enemy bombers — H.W.Baldwin

b. : to try to discover

not all research is confined to seeking new chemicals — Monsanto Chemical Co. Annual Report

seek the truth

4. : to inquire for : ask for : entreat , request

his advice was sought by many of the party's leaders — H.J.Howland

5. : to try to acquire or gain : aim at

never held public office, nor did he ever seek it — W.C.Ford

teach the child to seek the good and to avoid the bad — Better Homes & Gardens

seek fame and fortune

6. : to make an attempt : try — used with an infinitive

all governments, of course, seek to keep the bulk of their people contented — D.M.Potter

7. archaic : to look through : explore

have I sought every country far and near — Shakespeare

intransitive verb

1. : to make a search or inquiry

seeking along the shelf for a volume — G.B.Shaw

2. archaic : to pay a visit : go , resort

wisdom's self oft seeks to sweet retired solitude — John Milton

3. archaic : to have recourse : make request : apply

to whom I seek for my medicine — Geoffrey Chaucer


a. : to be sought or looked for

the connection between dress and war is not far to seek — Virginia Woolf

b. archaic : to be at a loss to know or act

for the details of our itinerary, I am all to seek — R.L.Stevenson

c. archaic : to be at a disadvantage

leave us wholly to seek in the art of political wagering — Jonathan Swift

5. : to retrieve killed game — used chiefly as a command to dogs


search , hunt , rummage , ransack , scour , comb , ferret ( out ): seek is a general term meaning to look for; it lacks special connotation but may occasionally have a somewhat archaic suggestion

poor health compelled Webb to seek some more healthful climate — C.W.Mitman

the Poles have always sought the centers of heavy industry — American Guide Series: New York State

gaze sought the horizon — Ellen Glasgow

those who seek the harvest of the sea — Stuart Cloete

marched out to seek battle — C.H.Lanza

search usually implies a thorough, careful, sustained seeking or examining of a person, place, or thing

detectives search the arrested suspect

the summer was spent searching the Ozark region for the fabled seven cities — R.A.Billington

search the house from top to bottom for a lost ring

hunt implies a searching or questing after something elusive or well hidden and quite hard to find

hunt for a lost collar button

land speculators … reaped a quick fortune, and hunted for new bonanzas — American Guide Series: Minnesota

the strength to hunt out logical difficulties, antinomies, or paradoxes in our own views — M.R.Cohen

rummage implies the making of a usually sustained or thorough search or investigation in which things are disarranged, dislodged, or moved around

rummaged among the papers that cluttered up the high, old-fashioned desk — Hartley Howard

rummaged in the packs and announced gleefully that their contents were quite dry — John Buchan

ransack suggests a thorough search, especially of a container, room, or building, often done forcefully and with resulting disorder and sometimes for something stolen or for something to be pillaged or looted

each man ransacked his chest or seabag and unearthed trinkets of various kinds — H.A.Chippendale

St. John's Church … was ill-attended in the reaction following the Revolution, and was ransacked during the War of 1812 — American Guide Series: Virginia

scour means to make a very diligent search of (an area) omitting no part or section

scoured the coppices and woods and old quarries, so long as a blackberry was to be found — D.H.Lawrence

while scouring the countryside for fresh mounts — American Guide Series: Ind.

comb implies an examination, usually of territory, as thoroughgoing as the action of a fine comb passing through hair

state policemen combing the county for the escaped prisoners

comb London's teeming millions for him — Dorothy Sayers

comb the literature of mythology carefully — Martin Gardner

ferret ( out ) suggests searching out with keen crafty or shrewd, relentless determination

did remove the bulk of the tribe, but they could not ferret out every Indian — A.W.Long

spent hours trying to ferret out the true reasons for the crime

- seek after

II. noun

( -s )

obsolete : a hunting signal sounded on a horn

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.