Glances, glimpses and peeks

This week I discovered that the French equivalent of a glance or a peek is un coup d’œil (‘a blow/stroke of the eye’), and to glance/peek is jeter un coup d’œil (‘to thow a stroke of the eye’) which I thought was an interesting way of saying it. Other ways of looking in French include voir (to look/see), un aperçu (a glimpse) and entrevoir / apercevoir (to glimpse)

Welsh equivalents of a glance or glimpse are cipolwg, cipdrem and cipedrych which is made up of cip (a snatching), golwg (sight, appearance, view), trem (look, sight) and edrych (to look/see).

Are there interesting equivalents of glance, glimpse, peek or related words in other languages?

Do other languages making a distinction between looking and seeing?

This entry was posted in English, French, Language, Welsh, Words and phrases.

5 Responses to Glances, glimpses and peeks

  1. David Eger says:

    Scots has keek and Plattdeutsch has Kiek.

    English has a few slang terms like butcher’s (rhyming slang: butcher’s hook = look), shufty (according to the Online Etymology Dictionary, from Arabic shufti = ‘I have seen’) and squiz (Aussie slang – “OED” suggests squint + quiz as possible origin).

  2. David Eger says:

    In answer to the second question:

    Latvian has redzētto see and skatītto look. The reflexive form skatīties is sometimes used to mean something like to have a look. Also, the prefix pa- can be added (paskatīt, paskatīties), which, if I remember rightly, gives the meaning of something like to have a brief look.

  3. Rauli says:

    Finnish verbs related to seeing:

    nähdä – to see
    näkyä – to be seen/visible
    katsoa – to look/watch
    katsella – to look continually, to keep looking
    katsahtaa – to have a brief look
    katsahdella – to have several brief looks
    vilkaista – to glance
    vilkuilla – to glance around or repeatedly
    kurkata – to peek
    kurkkia – to peek repeatedly
    kurkistaa – to take a short peek
    kurkistella – to take repeated short peeks
    tuijottaa – to stare
    tuijotella – to stare continually or repeatedly

    These are not just hypothetical forms but actually in use.

  4. pittmirg says:

    Polish: rzucić okiem “to glance”, lit. to throw [an] eye. Polish distinguishes between looking and seeing, what’s more it has suppletive perfective/imperfective verb pairs for both notions (patrzeć or patrzyć look.IMPF spojrzeć or popatrzyć, popatrzeć look.PFV, widzieć see.IMPF zobaczyć or ujrzeć see.PFV).

  5. Craig says:

    The Polish reminds me of Italian dare un’occhiata meaning to glance, to have a look, to throw a glance. Gettare uno sguardo means something similar.

    Do any other languages have the same look/see/watch distinction as English? In Italian, I would tend to use guardare for look and watch in most cases, and vedere for see.

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