(aus verb)


to look
(in sense of to have the physical appearance, often combined with "wie" and sometimes also with "nach")
Opposite (closest): klingen

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The meaning and use of - "aussehen"

A fun look at the meaning of "aussehen" and when to use it as a translation for "to look". Spoiler: it's NOT always and many people make mistakes there :)


aussehen, das Aussehen, aussehend

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Root: *seku̯-

The original sense of the root was:

following, pursuing

If we think of this in a context of hunting, we can easily see why how this root evolved into the words to see (from following with eyes) and to say (telling what you see). The connection of “to say” is debated, though.

The original sense of following is well preserved in the Latin branch around  *sequi (to follow) with words like sequence, sect or execute.

Also the words around social likely belong to this family.
Here’s an (incomplete) list of the relatives in English:

  • social, associate, society… (“followers, going together”)
  • sequence, sequel, second, sect, segue (“what follows”)
  • pursue, persecute, prosecute (“going/come after”, basically prefix versions of the Latin base verb)
  • execute (to follow through)
  • to see (“follow with eyes”)
  • to say (“tell what you see”)


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1 month ago

No question. Just saying I like this format. I came looking for some information on aussehen in a few situations. The links took me to places where I found the answer – and got a look into other uses that aren’t a part of my vocabulary yet. Thank you.

1 month ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Ok – I do have a question.
In the example: Das sieht nach einer sehr guten Party aus.
The translation had the party in a quasi past tense. “That looks like it was a very good party”

BUT – “looks” is present tense.

So is the translation “That looked like it was a good party” ?? 100% Past Tense?

If you were looking at a party across the street “Wow, that looks like a good party” (present)
Would that be written differently?

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