The word ‘see’ can mean many different things. As a verb, the meaning is to understand or identify with the eyes.
- I can see your point. (understand)
- I saw Katy with Benji. (identify with the eyes)
See is an irregular verb. The past tense is saw and the past participle is seen.
idioms list with ‘see’
- can’t see the wood for the trees – can’t see the whole situation as you are too preoccupied with minor details
e.g. I hate the people who run this country, they can’t see the wood for the trees.
- glad to see the back of – be pleased when someone leaves
e.g. I’m glad to see the back of winter, it’s been very cold this year.
- long time no see – a greeting you say to someone you haven’t seen in a long time
e.g. Long time no see mate. Are you still with the missus or has she finally binned you?
- monkey see, monkey do – stupid people copy the actions of other stupid people
e.g. People play violent games then act them out in real life. Monkey see monkey do.
- see a man about a dog – an excuse for leaving
e.g. I’ll be back in a few minutes, I’ve got to see a man about a dog.
- see eye to eye – fully agree with someone
e.g. Me and my siblings see eye to eye about putting our great aunt into a home.
- see pink elephants – hallucinations caused by drink or drugs
e.g. Those pills we took were crazy. I saw pink elephants for days afterwards.
- see red – become very angry
e.g. Brett saw red when he caught some thugs robbing an old man.
- see something through – persevere, continue with something until it’s finished
e.g. I started the project so I’m going to see it through.
- see the colour of one’s money – prove you can pay for something
e.g. I’m not bluffing, I raise you £200. I’ll show you the colour of my money.
- see which way the wind blows – wait until you have more information before making a decision
e.g. The president will see which way the wind blows before he makes his mind up.
- seen better days – in poor condition, old, shabby
e.g. Toby’s car has seen better days, the exhaust fell off today.
Let’s see these idioms with pictures and meaning using real-life scenarios.
Hey, did you know the verb ‘see’ has many phrasal verbs. Since you like idioms and phrases, you obviously want to improve your fluency and speak like a native.
Am I right?
I thought you might like to learn the phrasal verbs with ‘see’ too. They are very common in informal English and great to know/be able to understand if you happen to be speaking to a native. We use them all the time, like literally ALL the time.