seek

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See also: sek

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English seken (also sechen), from Old English sēċan (to seek; try to find, to look for, make search for; try to get; strive to effect, aim at, strive after; seek after, try to provide for; try to find out by investigation or examination; enquire about; try to learn by asking, ask, ask for, inquire; look to for, expect from; visit, go to; resort to; go, move, proceed; approach, attain to; attack, pursue, follow), with influence from Old Norse sœkja, whence the hard /k/ sound (compare beseech); both from Proto-Germanic *sōkijaną (to seek) (compare West Frisian sykje, Low German söken, Dutch zoeken, German suchen, Danish søge). Ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *seh₂g- (to seek out).

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

seek (third-person singular simple present seeks, present participle seeking, simple past and past participle sought)

  1. (transitive) To try to find, to look for, to search.
    I seek wisdom.
    • 2013 July-August, Catherine Clabby, “Focus on Everything”, American Scientist: 
      Not long ago, it was difficult to produce photographs of tiny creatures with every part in focus. [] A photo processing technique called focus stacking has changed that. Developed as a tool to electronically combine the sharpest bits of multiple digital images, focus stacking is a boon to biologists seeking full focus on a micron scale.
  2. (transitive) To inquire for; to ask for; to solicit; to beseech.
    I seek forgiveness through prayer.
    • Bible, Luke xi. 16
      Others, tempting him, sought of him a sign.
    • 1960, Lobsang Rampa, The Rampa Story:
      “My, my! It is indeed a long way yet, look you!” said the pleasant woman of whom I sought directions.
  3. (transitive) To try to acquire or gain; to strive after; to aim at.
    I sought my fortune on the goldfields.
    • 1880, George Q. Cannon, How the Gospel is Preached By the Elders, etc.:
      But persecution sought the lives of men of this character.
    • 1886, Constantine Popoff, translation of Leo Tolstoy's What I Believe:
      I can no longer seek fame or glory, nor can I help trying to get rid of my riches, which separate me from my fellow-creatures.
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter 1, The Purchase Price:
      Serene, smiling, enigmatic, she faced him with no fear whatever showing in her dark eyes. [] She put back a truant curl from her forehead where it had sought egress to the world, and looked him full in the face now, drawing a deep breath which caused the round of her bosom to lift the lace at her throat.
  4. (intransitive, obsolete) To go, move, travel (in a given direction).
    When the alarm went off I sought the exit in a panic.
  5. (transitive) To try to reach or come to; to go to; to resort to.

Quotations[edit]

For more examples of usage of this term, see the citations page.

Synonyms[edit]

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Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

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