the act of visiting and seeing places and objects of interest.


seeing, showing, or used for visiting sights: a sightseeing bus.

Origin of sightseeing

First recorded in 1840–50; sight + seeing



verb (used without object)

to go about seeing places and things of interest: In Rome, we only had two days to sightsee.

verb (used with object)

to go about seeing the major sights of: We had only two days to sightsee Rome.

Origin of sightsee

1825–35; back formation from sightseer or sightseeing
Related formssight·se·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sightseeing

Contemporary Examples of sightseeing

  • Nearby, an Italian businessman worked a deal, and a visiting couple unwound in the romantic setting after a day of sightseeing.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Classic Hotel Bar Checks Back In

    Kayleigh Kulp

    July 26, 2014

  • They passed a sightseeing bus from which tourists were taking photos of an unexpected sight.

    The Daily Beast logo
    She Is Trayvon Martin

    Michael Daly

    July 15, 2013

  • At college, when I was sightseeing among white guys and we all pointed out the females we thought looked good.

    The Daily Beast logo
    I Want a Bigger Butt

    Stanley Crouch

    December 1, 2009

Historical Examples of sightseeing

  • We had come, leisurely, by river, and were sightseeing every moment.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • She thought about it a great deal while she and Aunt Em were driven about sightseeing.

    Gloria and Treeless Street

    Annie Hamilton Donnell

  • Back a year ago, the average patrol was nothing but a sightseeing tour.


    Irving W. Lande

  • Sightseeing was always but incidental to the higher service of the Master.

    George Muller of Bristol

    Arthur T. Pierson

  • The first few days of sightseeing were passed in the city and its environs.

    Janet's Love and Service

    Margaret M Robertson

British Dictionary definitions for sightseeing


noun informal

  1. the activity of visiting the famous or interesting sights of a place
  2. (as modifier)sightseeing trip


verb -sees, -seeing, -saw or -seen

informal to visit the famous or interesting sights of (a place)
Derived Formssightseer, noun
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 sightseeing

also sight-seeing, 1821, from sight (cf. sights) + present participle of see (v.). Sight-see (v.) is from 1824. Sight-seer first recorded 1821.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper