35 Synonyms for “Look”

By Mark Nichol

Look, it’s perfectly acceptable to use the verb look, but don’t hesitate to replace this fairly ordinary-looking word with one of its many more photogenic synonyms. Many of these substitutions come in especially handy when it comes to finding one word to take the place of look-plus-adverb or look-plus-adjective-and-noun, as the definitions demonstrate.

1. Blink: to look at with disbelief, dismay, or surprise or in a cursory manner
2. Browse: to look at casually
3. Consider: to look at reflectively or steadily
4. Contemplate: to look at extensively and/or intensely
5. Dip (into): to examine or read superficially
6. Eye: to look at closely or steadily
7. Fixate (on): to look at intensely
8. Gape: to look at with surprise or wonder, or mindlessly, and with one’s mouth open
9. Gawk: see gape
10. Gawp: see gape (generally limited to British English)
11. Gaze: to look steadily, as with admiration, eagerness, or wonder
12. Glare: to look angrily
13. Glimpse: to look briefly
14. Gloat: to look at with triumphant and/or malicious satisfaction
15. Glower: to look at with annoyance or anger
16. Goggle: to look at with wide eyes, as if in surprise or wonder
17. Leer: to look furtively to one side, or to look at lecherously or maliciously
18. Observe: to look carefully to obtain information or come to a conclusion, or to notice or to inspect
19. Ogle: to look at with desire or greed
20. Outface: to look steadily at another to defy or dominate, or to do so figuratively
21. Outstare: see outface
22. Peek: to look briefly or furtively, or through a small or narrow opening
23. Peep: to look cautiously or secretively; see also peek (also, slang for “see” or “watch”)
24. Peer: to look at with curiosity or intensity, or to look at something difficult to see
25. Peruse: to look at cursorily, or to do so carefully
26. Pore (over): to look at intently
27. Regard: to look at attentively or to evaluate
28. Rubberneck: to look at in curiosity
29. Scan: to look at quickly, or to look through text or a set of images or objects to find a specific one
30. Skim: see scan
31. Stare: to look at intently
32. Stare (down): to look at someone else to try to dominate
33. Study: to look at attentively or with attention to detail
34. Watch: to look carefully or in expectation
35. Wink: to look at while blinking one eye to signal or tease another person

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7 Responses to “35 Synonyms for “Look””

  • Ellie

    How about espy? And notice?

  • Ellie

    Not to mention see.

  • Deborah

    Scan is one of those words that has been used incorrectly for so long that the wrong meaning is now the common meaning.

  • Deborah

    Sorry, I hit submit before I was finished.

    Scan used to mean “to search intently, or carefully.” Then it morphed into searching lightly, or quickly. With the advent of digital scanners, maybe the word will revert to its original meaning.

    Outface is a new word for me; I like it.

    Thank you, Mark.

  • Sally

    And then there are the slang terms.

    Let me start the list with two of my favourites from the British commonwealth:

    “Have a dekko” (Hindi ‘dekh -to look, dekho! – look!’)

    “Have a butchers” (Cockney Rhyming Slang, “butcher’s hook” > ‘look’)

    Sadly such colourful phrases are hardly current usage!

  • Stefano

    How about “bird-dog”, meaning “watch carefully, follow closely”?

  • Jon

    Another (Archaic British?) slang addition would be “gander” – a glance at something or someone foolish or remarkable – “Would you take a gander at that?”

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