look after



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look after (third-person singular simple present looks after, present participle looking after, simple past and past participle looked after)

  1. (transitive) To follow with the eyes; to look in the direction of (someone or something departing). [from 10th c.]
  2. (transitive, now regional) To seek out, to look for. [from 14th c.]
    • 1695, John Woodward, An Essay toward a Natural History of the Earth and Terrestrial Bodies, especially Minerals, &c:
      My subject does not necessarily oblige me to look after this water, or point forth the place whereunto 'tis now retreated.
    • 1775, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, The Duenna, II.4:
      I have sent my intended husband to look after my lover [] .
    • 1893, Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance:
      If they are not married, they should be looking after a wife.
    • 2005, J. M. Coetzee, “Three”, in Slow Man, New York: Viking, →ISBN, page 19:
      Sliding through the world: that is how, in a bygone age, they used to designate lives like his: looking after his interests, quietly prospering, attracting no attention.
  3. (transitive) To care for; to keep safe. [from 14th c.]
    He asked me to look after his daughter while he was away.
  4. (transitive) To have as one's business; to manage, be responsible for. [from 16th c.]
  5. (transitive, obsolete) To expect, look forward to. [14th–18th c.]

Derived termsEdit