look after

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look after (third-person singular simple present looks after, present participle looking after, simple past and past participle looked after)

  1. (transitive) To follow with the eyes; to look in the direction of (someone or something departing). [from 10th c.]
  2. (transitive, now regional) To seek out, to look for. [from 14th c.]
    • 1695, John Woodward, “(please specify the page)”, in An Essay toward a Natural History of the Earth: And Terrestrial Bodies, Especially Minerals: [], London: [] Ric[hard] Wilkin [], →OCLC:
      My subject does not necessarily oblige me to look after this water, or point forth the place whereunto 'tis now retreated.
    • 1775, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, The Duenna, II.4:
      I have sent my intended husband to look after my lover [] .
    • 1893, Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance:
      If they are not married, they should be looking after a wife.
    • 2005, J. M. Coetzee, “Three”, in Slow Man, New York: Viking, →ISBN, page 19:
      Sliding through the world: that is how, in a bygone age, they used to designate lives like his: looking after his interests, quietly prospering, attracting no attention.
  3. (transitive, also reflexive) To care for; to keep safe. [from 14th c.]
    He asked me to look after his daughter while he was away.
    • 2022 January 12, Paul Bigland, “Fab Four: the nation's finest stations”, in RAIL, number 948, page 27:
      The station is clearly well looked after, making it a worthy gateway to the resort.
    • 2022 April 6, “Network News: Booze ban continues as part of move to prioritise women's safety”, in RAIL, number 954, page 6:
      "And I thought: if muggins here, a 37-year-old government minister who can look after myself, feels that way, then we need to really think about how we're putting in place a level of protection for women.
  4. (transitive) To have as one's business; to manage, be responsible for. [from 16th c.]
  5. (transitive, obsolete) To expect, look forward to. [14th–18th c.]

Derived terms[edit]