- see (v.)
- Old English seon (contracted class V strong verb; past tense seah, past participle sewen), from Proto-Germanic *sekhwanan (cf. Old Saxon, Old High German sehan, Middle High German, German sehen, Old Frisian sia, Middle Dutch sien, Old Norse sja, Gothic saihwan), from PIE root *sekw- "to see," which is "probably" the same base that produced words for "say" in Greek and Latin, and also words for "follow" (cf. Latin sequor), but "opinions differ in regard to the semantic starting-point and sequences" [Buck].
Thus see could originally mean "follow with the eyes." Used in Middle English to mean "behold in the imagination or in a dream" (c.1200), "to recognize the force of (a demonstration)," also c.1200, "often with ref. to metaphorical light or eyes" [OED], and "to learn by reading" (early 15c.). Past tense saw developed from Old English plural sawon.
When you have seen one of their Pictures, you have seen all. [Blake, c.1811]Sense of "escort" (e.g. to see someone home) first recorded 1607 in Shakespeare. Meaning "to receive as a visitor" is attested from c.1500. Gambling sense of "equal a bet" is from 1590s. See you as a casual farewell first attested 1891. Seeing Eye dog first attested 1929, American English, trademarked by Seeing Eye Inc. of New Jersey.
- see (n.)
- "position of a bishop," c.1300, from Old French sied, sed, from Latin sedem (nominative sedes) "seat, abode," related to sedere "to sit" (see sedentary).