Middle English Dictionary Entry

sẹ̄n v.(1)
Quotations: Show all Hide all

Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

Note: Cp. isen v.(1).
1.
(a) To see (sb., sth., a place) with the eyes, catch sight of, notice; also, be able to see (sb., sth., a place); also fig.; (b) with ellipsis of obj. or rel.pron.; -- also in than clause; (c) ppl. sene, visible, seen with the eyes; able to be seen; also fig.; ben sene; ben sene to, to appear to (sb.); (d) ~ mid (at, thurgh) eie, ~ with eie (eien, bodiliche eien, sight, bodi-sight, eie-sight); -- also without obj. after than; (e) to see (God, Christ, the Holy Ghost); (f) with negative obj.: to see (nothing of sth., nothing but sth., no one but sb., nobody), not see (sb. or sth.); ~ non in sight; also with negative subj.: no-more (no-thing) sene; (g) of the eye(s: to see (sb. or sth.), look at; see visual evidence of (sth.); also fig.; also in proverb.
2.
(a) To look at (sb. or sth.), gaze upon; examine (sth.), inspect; look (sb. in the face); ~ herte blod, kill (sb.); (b) to view (a place, town, etc.), visit; also, go to (heaven).
3.
(a) To observe (an event or action, events or actions in general, a sight, a state of affairs), witness; also, observe (one's own words and deeds) at Doomsday [quot.: a1225(?c1175)]; (b) with ellipsis of obj. or rel.pron.; -- also in as clause; (c) ~ at eie (with eien, with sight, etc.); -- also without obj. [quot.: Cloud]; (d) ~ merveille (miracle, selcouth, selli, signe, wonder); ~ token (tokening); (e) ~ sight (with eien; ~ sight of, to see (sb. or sth.); ~ sight o with ertheli eie, see (sb.).
4.
To see visual evidence of (sorrow, distress, need, magic power, a way of life, etc.), perceive; also fig.; also, see (nothing but sorrow); also, see the source of (a voice).
5a.
With compound obj.: (a) with noun or pron. and inf. as obj.: to see with the eyes (sb. or sth. do sth., sb. or sth. doing sth., sb. experience sth., sth. occur), watch; also, see (sb. offered for sale) [quot.: a1387]; ~ with eien; (b) with indefinite hit and inf. as obj.; (c) with ellipsis of obj. before inf.; (d) with comen followed by pr.ppl. or inf.
5b.
With compound obj.: (a) with noun or pron. and pr.ppl. as obj.: to see with the eyes (sb. or sth. doing sth.), watch; (b) with noun or pron. and p.ppl. as obj.: to see or watch (sb. or sth. undergoing an action or a process, sth. done); (c) with noun or pron. and p.ppl. used adjectivally: to see (sb. or sth. in a specified condition or state); (d) with noun or pron. and pred.adj. or adv. as obj.: to see or find (sb., sth., oneself in a specified condition or state); (e) with noun or pron. qualified by a prep.phr. as obj.: to see (sb. or sth. in a specified condition or state); (f) with pron. and noun as obj.: to see (sb. to be sth.).
6a.
With clause as obj.: (a) introduced by conj. that: to see with the eyes (that sb. or sth. does sth., that sth. is so, etc.), see visual evidence; ~ at eie; (b) with that omitted: to see (sb. is sth., sb. or sth. do sth., sb. has not come, etc.); ~ with eie; (c) introduced by a conj. other than that, an indef. conjunctive adv. or pron., etc.: to see (how sb. or sth. does sth., where sb. or sth. is, when sb. does sth., what one is, etc.); ~ with eie(n; also of the eye.
6b.
(a) With noun, pron., or appositive hit as obj. and obj. clause: to see (sb., that she is fair; sb., how they do sth.; a sight, how sth. happens; etc.); (b) with indef. conjunctive adv. and inf. as obj.: to be able to see (where to go).
7.
(a) To be able to see with the eyes; have or employ the faculty of sight; also fig.; also, jocularly, of a cheese [quot.: ?1440]; ~ in sight, ~ with eie, ~ with (bodiliche, fleshlich) eien; ppl. seinge, able to see; also, while seeing [quot.: a1450, 2nd]; also, as noun: persons able to see; (b) as thou seest, as you see, as you can see; as we sene, so we haven sene, as ye mouen ~, as ye sene (at eie, as men mighten ~, etc.; (c) of the eye: to be able to see; also fig.; ppl. seinge, able to see; (d) in name of an allegorical character.
8a.
(a) To look, observe, watch; haven eien to ~, have eyes with which to observe; (b) impv. se, sene, seis, etc.: look! take a look! lö behold! se her; (c) ~ in, to look on (sb.); ~ in-to, look into (heaven); -- used fig.; also, look on (sb.); ~ of, look on (sb.), watch (an action); ~ of with eien; ~ on, look on (sb. or sth.); also, see visual evidence of (sorrow); also fig.; ~ on thurgh fleshes eie-sight; ~ ther-of (ther-on); ~ to, look at (sth.); also with both obj. and obj. clause; ~ upon, look on (sb. or sth.); also of the eyes.
8b.
In phrases using the inf. or infl. inf.: (a) fair (god, smal, sorweful, etc.) to ~, fair (good, small, sorrowful, etc.) to look at; hidous (loveli, meke, etc.) for to ~, hideous (lovely, meek, etc.) to look at; lik an asshe to ~, lik a daies-ie for to ~; (b) ben joie (merveille, a wonder sight, etc.) to ~, ben reuthe for to ~, to be a joy (marvel, wondrous sight, pity, etc.) to see or observe; -- also without ben; (c) fair (lothli, semeli, etc.) on to ~, fair (ugly, seemly, etc.) to look at; grisli on (upon) to ~; of bras upon to ~; sondri to ~ upon; (d) with nouns and pronouns: for) to ~, to look at; for to ~ to, to ~ on.
9.
(a) To discover (sth.) by observation or examination; determine (sth.) from visual evidence; ~ ivele, err in the observation of (sth.); ~ with eie(n; (b) with clause as obj. introduced by conj. that; -- also without that; also with clause understood after question; (c) with clause as obj. introduced by a conj. other than that or an indef. conjunctive adv. or pron.; also with clause understood after question; (d) to check by observation, see for oneself; ~ with eien; (e) to be aware of the presence of (sb.) by touching; (f) to learn by experience.
10a.
(a) To encounter (sb. or sth.) in one's personal experience; have personal knowledge of (sb. or sth.), know of; witness (sth.); ~ never; (b) with noun or pron. and inf. or p.ppl. as compound obj.; (c) with clause as obj.; also with inf. phrase as subj. [last quot.]; (d) with obj. and obj. clause.
10b.
In comp. or sup. expressions, or with implied comparison: (a) the fairest that ever man saugh, the selcouthest man that ever yet we sei, a semeloker that ever he siʒe, etc.; ever ~ with eie (eie-sight, sight); (b) ~ ever so, ever to encounter so (dull a man); ~ ever swich, ever hear of or witness such (a way of proceeding, distress); (c) never ~ a sharper, ~ never a fairer lond, etc.; never ~ a more worshipful with eie; -- also with one or more further negatives; (d) never ~ so god a sight, ~ never man so light, ~ never-mo so fair a child, etc.; ~ never non swich, ~ never swich a stour, ~ never swich game ne gle, ~ never swich knightes, ~ never swich on, etc.; -- also with one or more further negatives; (e) ne ~ so riche feste, ~ not so mirie a compaignie, ~ not swich a bilde bold, etc.
11.
(a) To read (a book, letter, charter, an inscription, etc.); ~ forth over, read (a book) through, peruse; (b) to learn (sth.) by reading, discover by reading; read (sth. in a book, sth. inscribed on the forehead of sb.); look (sth.) up; -- also with clause as obj.; ~ writen (setten), writen ~; (c) to see (a story) depicted in a painting; see (sb. do sth.) in a painting; (d) to read; learn by reading, discover by looking up in a book; ~ in, look in (a book); read in (a story, words); also, fig. be able to read in (the book of conscience); ~ of, read about (sth.); ~ upon, look upon or in (a book); ~ writen.
12.
(a) To be in the presence or company of (sb., the devil, etc.); come into contact with (sb.), meet, visit; also fig.; -- also without obj. [quot.: a1382, 2nd]; ben sene of (with), be met by (sb.); (b) to see (God, the face of God or Christ, the throne of Christ) in heaven; be in or come into the presence of (God); see (more of God, God in his divine nature); ~ in sight (with eien; ~ face to face, see (God) face to face; -- also without obj.; ~ face to face and eien to eien, ~ neb to (with) neb; (c) ~ face to face, to meet personally.
13.
In phrase: leten ~ [see also leten v.18l.]: (a) to allow or cause (sb. or sth.) to see (sb. or sth.); show (sb. or sth. to sb. or sth.); -- also with clause as obj. of sen; also without obj. of sen; (b) to let me or us see (sth.), show me or us, let us find out; let ben sene, let it be seen; -- also with subordinate clause or direct question as obj.; let ~ of, show us (sth.), let us know of; (c) let ~, as exclamation: look here, see here; (d) let (me) ~, as verbal filler to gain time for thought.
14a.
(a) To see (sb. or sth.) in a vision, dream, hallucination; witness (an event, action, etc.) in a dream, etc.; -- also without obj. in as clause [quot.: PPl.C]; also, visualize (sth.); ~ in drem (slep); ~ with sight; (b) ~ avisioun (drem, revelacioun, sweven, visioun); ~ sight, to see a sight in a dream; also, have a vision; ~ sight in sweven; (c) to have a dream or vision, dream; ~ in slep.
14b.
With compound obj.: (a) with noun or pron. and inf. as obj.: to see (sb. or sth. do or doing sth.) in a dream or vision; -- also without obj. noun [quot.: Jos.Arim.]; ~ with eien in slep; (b) with noun or pron. and pr.ppl. as obj.; (c) with noun or pron. and p.ppl. as obj.; (d) with noun and pred.adj. as obj.; also, with noun qualified by a prep.phr. as obj.
14c.
With clause as obj.: (a) introduced by conj. that: to see in a vision (that sb. does sth.); also, without that: see (sth. or sb. do sth.) in a dream; (b) introduced by indef. conjunctive adv. or conj. other than that: to see in a dream (where sth. stands, how sb. does sth.), see in a vision (how sb. was born); (c) with noun as obj. preceding clause.
15.
(a) To foresee (sth., an event); also, receive (an oracular message) [quot.: a1382]; -- also with clause as obj.; ~ aforn, foresee (what should happen); ~ after, foresee (sth.) as a result; ~ in avisioun, foresee (sb. or sth.) in a prophetic dream; don ~, with obj. clause and appositive hit: show (sb. what will happen); leten ~ in sweven, cause (sb.) to foresee (sth.) in a dream; (b) ~ biforen (in-to after, to foresee the future, look into the future; ~ fer of and from, of the eyes: foresee the future; ppl. seinge, able to foresee the future; man seinge, a seer.
16a.
Of God or Christ: (a) to know or see (sb. or sth.) through divine power or omniscience; perceive (a virtue or vice); foresee (sth.); ~ and witen (knouen), witen and ~; ~ biforen, have (divine foreknowledge); ben sene in sight; (b) with compound obj. of noun or pron. and inf.: to see or perceive (sb. do or experience sth., sth. being done in sb.); (c) to look, observe, be able to see; ~ thurgh, be able to see through (an aperture); fig. detect (an act of wrong-doing).
16b.
Of God or Christ: to know (sth.); -- with clause as obj.: (a) introduced by conj. that; -- also without that; (b) introduced by indef. conjunctive adv. or pron. or conj. other than that; ~ in sight; (c) preceded by noun in compound-obj. construction.
17.
(a) To perceive (sth., a virtue, vice, etc.) with the mind; discern (sth.), discover; realize (sth.), comprehend; also fig.; refl. know or understand oneself; ~ in slep, realize (sth.) while sleeping; (b) ~ thurgh gostli wit (soules eie), ~ with gostli sight; (c) to perceive (God), apprehend; ~ with hertes eie; (d) ~ chaunce, to perceive an opportunity; ~ time (tide), perceive the right time or an opportune time; (e) ~ ensaumple at, to follow the example of (sb.).
18.
With compound obj.: (a) with noun or pron. and inf.: to perceive with the mind (sb. or sth. do sth., sb. or sth. doing sth., sb. experiencing an emotion, sth. to be done, etc.), be aware of; know of (sb. doing sth.), know (sb. to have children, sth. to be true); (b) with noun or pron. and pr.ppl.: to perceive (sb. doing sth., sth. approaching, etc.); (c) with noun or pron. and pred.adj.: to perceive or find (sb. or oneself in a specified physical, emotional, or moral state, sb. or sth. to be of a specified quality, sb. to be quiet); -- also with indef. hit and adv. [quot.: I wole be mendid]; (d) with noun or pron. and p.ppl.: to perceive or find (sb., sth., oneself in a specified condition or state); know of (Christ having been born); find (a ship gone); -- also without noun or pron. [quot.: a1450(c1410)]; (e) with noun or pron. qualified by a prep. phr.: to perceive (sb. or sth. in a specified condition or state), know (sb. to be in a specified condition); consider (nothing to be to any good purpose); -- also without prep.phr. [last quot.]; (f) with pron. and noun: to consider or recognize (sb. as sth.).
19a.
With clause as obj.: (a) introduced by conj. that: to realize (that sth. will happen, that sth. is so, etc.), perceive, understand, discover; don to ~, make (sb.) realize (that sth. will happen); (b) without that: to realize (one can do sth., sb. does sth., sth. is sth., sth. will happen, etc.), discover; (c) introduced by indef. conjunctive adv. or pron. or conj. other than that: to realize (how sth. is, why sb. did sth., what sth. is, etc.), discover; ~ at eie.
19b.
With noun, pron., or appositive hit as obj. and obj. clause: to perceive or realize (this, how sb. should do sth.; that, that sth. is so; it, it might be no better; etc.); also, find (it) true (that sth. happens); -- also refl. [quot.: a1382].
20a.
ben sene, to be perceived or discovered; also, be clear or evident: (a) with noun or pron. as subj.; (b) with noun clause as subj.; (c) with hit as grammatical subj. and noun clause as semantic subj.; (d) with hit or that as subj., used with reference to the general sense of a preceding or following statement; -- also without hit or that.
20b.
ben sene: (a) to be recognized (as sth., for what one is); ben sene as; (b) with pred.adj.: to seem or appear (good, worthy, hasty, etc.); ben sene in eien; -- also with hit as grammatical subj. and noun clause as semantic subj.; (c) with inf. or pr.ppl.: to seem (to be sth., to speak as if jesting); appear (as fearing God); also, seem good (to sb. to do sth.); ben sene as.
20c.
Ppl. sene: plain, clear, manifest; comp. senre, more evident.
21.
(a) To perceive, realize, discern; understand, know; also of an eye; ~ of, perceive (sb.) mentally; ~ with eien; ppl. seinge, perceiving; ?also, perceptive [quot.: Cursor]; (b) as i se, as) thou seest, as ye haven sene, ye sawe wel, etc.; as thou seest of, as you perceive in the case of (sb.).
22.
(a) To consider (sb. or sth.), consider the case of, bring to mind; -- also with clause as obj.; alle thinges sene, all things considered; seinge (that, considering that, taking into account that; (b) to investigate (a title, matter, evidence, etc.), look into; (c) ~ of, to find out about (sth.), investigate; let ~ of, let us consider (sth.); (d) with complementary adj. or adj. as noun: to judge or deem (best, fit or best to do; sth. good; sth. best to do; sth. to be good, that sth. is best); hit is sene, it is judged (good for sb. to do sth.); (e) ?to look for (a leader for oneself), ?select.
23.
(a) To look after (sb., flocks, oneself), protect, care for; -- also without obj.; also, in asseverations and greetings: god me (you, him) se, crist (mahoun) the save and se, god the (you) save and se, jesu him save and se; (b) to heed (sth.), pay attention to; also, take care of (a matter), see to; -- also with clause as obj.; (c) to take heed; take heed (lest sth. be done, lest sb. do sth., etc.); also, take care of a matter; (d) ~ to, to be attentive to (sb. or sth.), take care of; be solicitous of (sth.); deal with (sb.); ~ til, attend to (sb. or sth.); ~ unto (upon), take care of (sb.); ben sene to, be provided for; (e) with inf.: to see one's way (to do sth.).
24.
(a) To ensure (a redress); make sure (sth. is in a specified condition); refl. make oneself (safe); (b) with clause as obj.: to make sure (sb. does sth., that sb. does sth., that sth. is done, etc.), take care.
25.
(a) To experience (sth., adventure, an adventure, an emotion, a state, etc.); receive (judgment); achieve (mastery, vengeance, perfection, a desire); reach (an end); suffer (death, pain); endure (the heat of a fire); (b) ~ dai, to live to see the day; also, experience the day (when sth. happened); ~ god daies, experience pleasant days, enjoy a good life; ~ time (tide), live to see the time, experience a time; (c) ppl. sene, experienced, undergone; ben sene; (d) to know of (the life of sb. having been lost); also, with inf.: know about (sb. being harmed); (e) ?to absorb; ?experience fully.
26.
To appear; appear (wise), seem; also [quot.: ?a1425(c1380)], be clear, be apparent; -- ?error for semen v.(2).
27.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • c1450 Bk.GGrace (Eg 2006)207/7 : Ihesu att þat tyme offrede…gyfte neuere before…seene in heuene, allebehitt was knawe before and syene in þe godhede.
  • Note: NF
  • (c1475) Ordin.Househ.Edw.IV (Hrl 642)61 : Them owght among to helpe see the Kinge and soveraynes served.
  • Note: ?Add. construction.
  • a1325 *Rwl.Statutes [OD col.] (Rwl B.520)lf.31 b : To ben…i publiste, in schirene in Citees…ant in oþere sollempne studes þare þe seost best for te spede.
  • Note: AQ
    Note: (Copied verbatim. A note on the OD slip says 'copied fr. Mr. Whitwell's slip.')
  • c1400 ?Nassyngton SV (Cmb Ll.1.8)214 : Et ne nos inducas in temtationen! In þis we aske som slecke to se Aʒeyn al ille þat may be.
  • Note: sen ayen, =?to guard against; ?recognize.--per REL.
  • c1450 Bk.GGrace (Eg 2006)183/22 : This maydene knewe wele þat the grete hows was the herte of God, for sche hadde ful ofte syne hym in that manere of fourme.
  • (c1475) Ordin.Househ.Edw.IV (Hrl 642)22 : Furst, for the edyfying and comfort of all officers in this household…the Kyng…hathe, of his high excellent grace, commaunded specially three things to be seen to, by the rulers of this court.
  • a1500(1439) Lydg.Sts.AA (Lnsd 699)98 : O blissid Albon fro the celestial stage, Cast don thi liht tenlymyne my langage, Which of mysilf am nakid & beryn, In this gret neede that favour may be seyn.
  • Note: AQ