Look Up At: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
December 7, 2023

The idiom "look up at" is an expression in English that means to raise one's eyes and see something above them. It can also mean to admire, respect, or regard someone or something highly, often with a sense of awe or reverence.

In short:

  • "Look up at" can mean to see something above one's eyes or to admire someone or something greatly.

What Does "Look Up At" Mean?

The idiom "look up at" has two primary meanings depending on the situation or context.

  • The first meaning is to see something higher than one's eyes. This is the literal meaning of the expression, and it can be used to describe physical objects or people that are above one's level of sight. For example, one might look up at the stars, the ceiling, or a tall person.
  • The second meaning is to admire, respect, or regard someone or something highly. This is the symbolic meaning of the expression, and it can be used to describe someone or something that one considers superior, admirable, or worthy of praise. For example, one might look up to a mentor, a hero, or a god.

Where Does "Look Up At" Come From?

The idiom "look up at" has been used in English since at least the 14th century. The literal meaning of the expression is derived from the basic sense of looking with one's eyes in an upward direction. The symbolic meaning of the expression is derived from the metaphorical association of height with power, status, or excellence.

10 Examples of "Look Up At" in Sentences

Here are some examples of how to use this idiom in sentences:

  • He looked up at the sky and prayed for a miracle.
  • She looked up at the painting and admired its beauty.
  • They looked up at the fireworks and cheered with joy.
  • She looked up at the moon and wished for a better life.
  • She looked up at him with tears and begged for forgiveness.
  • They looked up at the Eiffel Tower and felt a surge of wonder.
  • They looked up at the teacher and listened attentively to her lecture.
  • He looked up at his boss and nodded politely, hiding his resentment.
  • She looked up at him with fear and disgust, knowing he was her enemy and tormentor.
  • He looked up at her with admiration and respect, knowing she was his mentor and friend.

Examples of "Look Up At" in Pop Culture

Here are some examples of how this idiom has been used in various forms of pop culture:

  • In the song "Look Up At The Stars" by Shawn Mendes, released in 2020, the singer uses the expression to describe how he feels connected to his lover even when they are apart.
  • In the movie "The Lion King," released in 1994, the character Mufasa uses the expression to teach his son Simba about their ancestors and their legacy: "Look at the stars. The great kings of the past look down on us from those stars.
  • The song "Look up at the Sky" by Us the Duo is a folk-pop song released in 2020 as part of their album Up Until Now. The song is about finding hope and inspiration amid challenges and difficulties.

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say "Look Up At"

Here are some synonyms and alternative ways for both meanings of this phrase:

  • To gaze
  • To admire
  • To respect
  • To revere

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Look Up At"

Here are some frequently asked questions about this idiom:

  • What does "look up at" mean?

The idiom "look up at" is an expression in English that means to raise one's eyes and see something above them. It can also mean to admire, respect, or regard someone or something highly, often with a sense of awe or reverence.

  • What is the origin of the phrase "look up at"?

The idiom "look up at" has been used in English since at least the 14th century. The literal meaning of the expression is derived from the basic sense of looking with one's eyes in an upward direction. The symbolic meaning of the expression is derived from the metaphorical association of height with power, status, or excellence.

  • What is the difference between "look up at" and "look up to"?

The difference between "look up at" and "look up to" is that "look up at" can have both a literal and a figurative meaning, while "look up to" only has a symbolic meaning. To "look up at" someone or something means to see them above one's eyes or to admire them greatly. To look up to someone or something means to respect them as a model or an example.

  • Is "look up at" always positive?

No, "look up at" is not always positive. It can have a negative connotation depending on the context and the speaker's tone. For example, one might "look up at" someone with fear, anger, or envy. One might also look up at something with disgust, contempt, or disbelief.

  • What's the opposite of "look up at"?

The opposite would be "look down at," which means to direct your gaze or attention downward, typically to something at a lower level.

  • Are there other similar phrases to "look up at"?

Yes, you can use "gaze upward," "stare skyward," "raise one's eyes," "to respect," and "to admire" as alternatives in different contexts.

  • Can "look up at" be used to express admiration?

Yes, you can use "look up at" when describing someone looking with admiration or respect towards a person or thing.

  • Is "look up at" a formal or informal phrase?

"Look up at" is a versatile phrase that can be used in both formal and informal contexts, depending on the situation.

  • Are there cultural or regional variations in the understanding of "look up at"?

No, "look up at" is a universally understood phrase in English, and it is not associated with specific cultural or regional variations.

  • Can "look up at" be used in writing and spoken language?

Yes, "look up at" can be used in both written and spoken language to describe the action of looking upward or admiring someone, making it a versatile phrase for various contexts.

Final Thoughts About "Look Up At"

The idiom "look up at" is a common expression in English that can have different meanings depending on the context. It can mean to see something above one's eyes or to admire someone or something greatly.

Some key points about the phrase:

  • It has both a literal and a symbolic meaning.
  • It has been used in English since at least the 14th century.
  • It has some synonyms, antonyms, and related expressions.

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