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  1. simple past tense and past participle of seek.
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Related formsself-sought, adjectiveun·sought, adjective


verb (used with object), sought, seek·ing.
  1. to go in search or quest of: to seek the truth.
  2. to try to find or discover by searching or questioning: to seek the solution to a problem.
  3. to try to obtain: to seek fame.
  4. to try or attempt (usually followed by an infinitive): to seek to convince a person.
  5. to go to: to seek a place to rest.
  6. to ask for; request: to seek advice.
  7. Archaic. to search or explore.
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verb (used without object), sought, seek·ing.
  1. to make inquiry.
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  1. be sought after, to be desired or in demand: Graduates in the physical sciences are most sought after by employers these days.
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Origin of seek

before 900; Middle English seken, Old English sēcan; cognate with German suchen, Old Norse sœkja, Gothic sōkjan; akin to Latin sāgīre to perceive by scent (see presage, sagacity); cf. beseech
Related formsout·seek, verb (used with object), out·sought, out·seek·ing.re·seek, verb (used with object), re·sought, re·seek·ing.un·seek·ing, adjective

Synonyms for seek

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for sought

hunted, needed, desired

Examples from the Web for sought

Contemporary Examples of sought

Historical Examples of sought

  • I have sought for thee throughout the world, and at last I believed thee dead.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • Beyond it, I saw you standing with outstretched arms, as if you sought to come to me, but could not.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • I have sought thy daughter in marriage for Xerxes, prince of the empire.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • The true remedy is not to be sought in that direction in the one case any more than the other.

    'Tis Sixty Years Since

    Charles Francis Adams

  • He could not even tell her that it was at Hope's command he sought her.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

British Dictionary definitions for sought


  1. the past tense and past participle of seek
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verb seeks, seeking or sought (mainly tr)
  1. (when intr, often foll by for or after) to try to find by searching; look forto seek a solution
  2. (also intr) to try to obtain or acquireto seek happiness
  3. to attempt (to do something); tryI'm only seeking to help
  4. (also intr) to enquire about or request (something)to seek help
  5. to go or resort toto seek the garden for peace
  6. an archaic word for explore
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Derived Formsseeker, noun

Word Origin for seek

Old English sēcan; related to Old Norse sōkja, Gothic sōkjan, Old High German suohhen, Latin sāgīre to perceive by scent; see beseech
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 sought

past tense and past participle of seek, from Old English sohte. Sought-after is from 1881 (sought-for in same sense is from c.1600).

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Old English secan "inquire, search for; pursue; long for, wish for, desire; look for, expect from," influenced by Old Norse soekja, both from Proto-Germanic *sokjan (cf. Old Saxon sokian, Old Frisian seka, Middle Dutch soekan, Old High German suohhan, German suchen, Gothic sokjan), from PIE *sag-yo-, from root *sag- "to track down, seek out" (cf. Latin sagire "to perceive quickly or keenly," sagus "presaging, predicting," Old Irish saigim "seek"). The natural modern form of the Anglo-Saxon word as uninfluenced by Norse is in beseech. Related: Sought; seeking.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with sought


see play hide and seek.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.