Synonyms of ‘to look’ in English, страница 2

Dictionaries also cannot immediately react to the changes in the language, creation of new word, or transmission of the meaning, so they usually do not provide this kind of words. They do not provide obsolete words as well, although some of the words that are in dictionaries may be considered as already obsolete (вызариться, бдеть, запускать глаза, lūsināties, , zīķēt)


When talking about synonyms of the word ‘to look’ in English, Latvian and Russian we should first look at how differ definitions of this verb in these languages, because in English and Russian the meaning of the verb is wider and in Latvian – narrower.

If the basic meaning ‘to direct your eyes in order to see’ coincide in all three languages ‘vērst acis( uz ko, kādā virzienā, lai redzētu, uztvertu ar redzi)’, « направлять взгляд, чтобы увидеть кого-либо, что-нибудь, глядеть», then derivative meanings do not. They coincide only in two languages or do not coincide at all. And again structure of dictionaries differs - in Latvian dictionary meanings are very generalised – there are mentioned only 4, but in English dictionaries are from 6 to 12 meanings.

 For example, in English one of derivative meanings of this verb in English is ‘to hope for, want or actively plan a course of action, or to hope someone will act in the way mentioned’ which it does not have at all in Latvian or Russian. ‘To look’ meaning ‘to show in appearance, to seem or appear to be from facts or information’ coincides with Russian «смотреть» meaning «иметь какой- нибудь вид», but in Russian it is used more in colloquial language. Compare English to look well and Russian смотреть молодцом. In Russian ‘to look’ meaning « иметь попечение, заботиться» – смотреть за детьми – does not have equivalent meaning in English ‘to look’ and Latvian ‘skatīties’.

There is a difference of structure of languages. Imortant is the fact that English is analytical language and Latvian and Russian are syntactical.

In Latvian and Russian, as in syntactical languages, meaning of the word is often altered by using prefixes and suffixes:

Skatīties- paskatīties, ieskatīties, saskatīties, izskatīt, pārskatīt, uzskatīt, noskatīties, etc.

Смотреть- посмотреть, высмотреть, присмотреть, просмотреть, досмотреть, подсмотреть, etc.

In English, as in analytical language, - by using postpositions:

To look- to look after, to look at, to look down on, to look for, to look into, to look out, to look up to, etc.

Should we consider these combinations as independent word combination or just derivative? In some dictionaries they are included in definition of ‘to look’ and in some they are examined separately.

In Russian dictionary as one of the meaning is mentioned parenthesis (вводное слово)- Ты, смотрю, совсем ослабел.


In my opinion, the differences of the meanings are reflected also in synonyms of this verb in different languages. However, synonym lines basically consist of the verbs expressing different ways of looking in the first meaning of this verb. But if we take synonyms of the verb 'to look' in English and translate them into Latvian and Russian we will see that not all those translated words will be from the synonym line of this verb in that language (partially due to difference of meanings).

Mainly synonyms are expressing the ways of looking- very attentively- to eye, to scrutinise, vērot, всматриваться; firmly- to stare, to gaze, zīķēt, смотреть в упор, не отрывать глаз; furtively- to peek, to peep, palūrēt, glūnēt, взглядывать, поглядывать; with anger- сверлить глазами; with love- to ogle etc.

Synonyms are expressed not only in one word but also in word-combinations. In English dictionary there are to have a look, to pay attention, to skim through, to take note of view and informal to cast your eye and even slang to take a dekko. In Latvian there are turēt acis, urbties ar acīm, bolīt acis. In Russian there are too a lot of word-combinations with the word ‘eyes’, «глаза», especially in colloquial language and slang. Не спускать глаз, не отводить глаз, смотреть во все глаза, сверлить глазами, таращить глаза, брать глаза в руки, разувать глаза.