a brief or superficial examination or reading.

Origin of look-over

First recorded in 1905–10; noun use of verb phrase look over


[loo k]

verb (used without object)

to turn one's eyes toward something or in some direction in order to see: He looked toward the western horizon and saw the returning planes.
to glance or gaze in a manner specified: to look questioningly at a person.
to use one's sight or vision in seeking, searching, examining, watching, etc.: to look through the papers.
to tend, as in bearing or significance: Conditions look toward war.
to appear or seem to the eye as specified: to look pale.
to appear or seem to the mind: The case looks promising.
to direct attention or consideration: to look at the facts.
to have an outlook or afford a view: The window looks upon the street.
to face or front: The house looks to the east.

verb (used with object)

to give (someone) a look: He looked me straight in the eye.
to have an appearance appropriate to or befitting (something): She looked her age.
to appear to be; look like: He looked a perfect fool, coming to the party a day late.
to express or suggest by looks: to look one's annoyance at a person.
Archaic. to bring, put, etc., by looks.


the act of looking: a look of inquiry.
a visual search or examination.
the way in which a person or thing appears to the eye or to the mind; aspect: He has the look of an honest man. The tablecloth has a cheap look.
an expressive glance: to give someone a sharp look.
  1. general aspect; appearance: to like the looks of a place.
  2. attractive, pleasing appearance.

Verb Phrases

look after,
  1. to follow with the eye, as someone or something moving away: She looked after him as he walked toward the train station.
  2. to pay attention to; concern oneself with: to look after one's own interests.
  3. to take care of; minister to: to look after a child.
look back, to review past events; return in thought: When I look back on our school days, it seems as if they were a century ago.
look down on/upon, to regard with scorn or disdain; have contempt for: They look down on all foreigners.
look for,
  1. to seek; search for: Columbus was looking for a shorter route to India when he discovered America.
  2. to anticipate; expect: I'll be looking for you at the reception.
look in,
  1. Also look into.to look briefly inside of: Look in the jar and tell me if any cookies are left.
  2. Also look in on.to visit (a person, place, etc.) briefly: I'll look in some day next week.
look into, to inquire into; investigate; examine: The auditors are looking into the records to find the cause of the discrepancy.
look on/upon,
  1. to be a spectator; watch: The crowd looked on at the street brawl.
  2. to consider; regard: They look upon gambling as sinful.
look out,
  1. to look to the outside, as from a window or a place of observation: From her office window, she could look out over the bustling city.
  2. to be vigilant or on guard: Look out, there are dangers ahead.
  3. to afford a view; face: The room looks out on the garden.
look out for, to take watchful care of; be concerned about: He has to look out for his health.
look over, to examine, especially briefly: Will you please look over my report before I submit it?
look to,
  1. to direct one's glance or gaze to: If you look to your left, you can see the Empire State Building.
  2. to pay attention to: Look to your own affairs and stay out of mine.
  3. to direct one's expectations or hopes to: We look to the day when world peace will be a reality.
  4. to regard with expectation and anticipation: We look to the future and greater advances in science and technology.
look up,
  1. to direct the eyes upward; raise one's glance: The other guests looked up as she entered the room.
  2. to become better or more prosperous; improve: Business is looking up.
  3. to search for, as an item of information, in a reference book or the like: Look up the answer in the encyclopedia.
  4. to seek out, especially to visit: to look up an old friend.
  5. Nautical.(of a sailing ship) to head more nearly in the direction of its destination after a favoring change of wind.
look up to, to regard with admiration or respect; esteem: A boy needs a father he can look up to.

Origin of look

before 900; (v.) Middle English lōk(i)en, Old English lōcian; cognate with Middle Dutch lœken, akin to dialectal German lugen to look out; (noun) Middle English loke act of looking, glance, countenance, derivative of the v.

Synonyms for look

1. See watch. 6. See seem. 16. gaze, glance. 17. appearance, air.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for look over

look over


(intr, preposition) to inspect by making a tour of (a factory, house, etc)we looked over the country house
(tr, adverb) to examine (a document, letter, etc)please look the papers over quickly

noun lookover

an inspection: often, specifically, a brief or cursory one


verb (mainly intr)

(often foll by at) to direct the eyes (towards)to look at the sea
(often foll by at) to direct one's attention (towards)let's look at the circumstances
(often foll by to) to turn one's interests or expectations (towards)to look to the future
(copula) to give the impression of being by appearance to the eye or mind; seemthat looks interesting
to face in a particular directionthe house looks north
to expect, hope, or plan (to do something)I look to hear from you soon; he's looking to get rich
(foll by for)
  1. to search or seekI looked for you everywhere
  2. to cherish the expectation (of); hope (for)I look for success
(foll by to)
  1. to be mindful (of)to look to the promise one has made
  2. to have recourse (to)look to your swords, men!
to be a pointer or signthese early inventions looked towards the development of industry
(foll by into) to carry out an investigationto look into a mystery
(tr) to direct a look at (someone) in a specified wayshe looked her rival up and down
(tr) to accord in appearance with (something)to look one's age
look alive or look lively hurry up; get busy
look daggers See dagger (def. 4)
look here an expression used to attract someone's attention, add emphasis to a statement, etc
look sharp or look smart (imperative) to hurry up; make haste
not look at to refuse to considerthey won't even look at my offer of £5000
not much to look at unattractive; plain


the act or an instance of lookinga look of despair
a view or sight (of something)let's have a look
(often plural) appearance to the eye or mind; aspectthe look of innocence; I don't like the looks of this place
style; fashionthe new look for summer

sentence connector

an expression demanding attention or showing annoyance, determination, etclook, I've had enough of this

Word Origin for look

Old English lōcian; related to Middle Dutch læken, Old High German luogen to look out


See at like 1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for look over



Old English locian "use the eyes for seeing, gaze, look, behold, spy," from West Germanic *lokjan (cf. Old Saxon lokon "see, look, spy," Middle Dutch loeken "to look," Old High German luogen, German dialectal lugen "to look out"), of unknown origin, perhaps cognate with Breton lagud "eye." In Old English, usually with on; the use of at began 14c. Meaning "seek, search out" is c.1300; meaning "to have a certain appearance" is from c.1400. Of objects, "to face in a certain direction," late 14c.

Look after "take care of" is from late 14c., earlier "to seek" (c.1300), "to look toward" (c.1200). Look into "investigate" is from 1580s; look up "research in books or papers" is from 1690s. To look down upon in the figurative sense is from 1711; to look down one's nose is from 1921. To look forward "anticipate" is c.1600; meaning "anticipate with pleasure" is mid-19c. To not look back "make no pauses" is colloquial, first attested 1893. In look sharp (1711) sharp originally was an adverb, "sharply."



c.1200, "act or action of looking," from look (v.). Meaning "appearance of a person" is from late 14c. Expression if looks could kill ... attested by 1827 (if looks could bite is attested from 1747).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with look over

look over

Also, look up and down. Examine or inspect something or someone. For example, Jerry was looking over the books when he found an error, or They looked the new boy up and down. The first expression dates from the mid-1400s, the variant from the late 1800s.


In addition to the idioms beginning with look

  • look after
  • look a gift horse in the mouth
  • look alive
  • look as if butter wouldn't melt
  • look askance
  • look back
  • look before you leap
  • look black
  • look blank
  • look daggers
  • look down on
  • look for
  • look forward to
  • look in on
  • look into
  • look like
  • look like a million dollars
  • look like death
  • look like something the cat dragged in
  • look like the cat that ate the canary
  • look on
  • look on the bright side
  • look out
  • look out for
  • look over
  • look sharp
  • look sideways at
  • look someone in the face
  • look the other way
  • look through rose-colored glasses
  • look to
  • look to one's laurels
  • look up
  • look up and down
  • look up to
  • look who's talking

also see:

  • (look on the) bright side
  • dirty look
  • make someone look good
  • take a look at
  • things are looking up
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.