Como digo em inglês: vou procurar no dicionário

By Ana | Podcast Inglês Online

Apr 19
Como digo em inglês vou procurar no dicionário

O podcast de hoje fala sobre a expressão look up e vários de seus significados.


Hi, what’s up? This is Ana Luiza with a new episode of the inglesonline podcast. To download or just listen to other episodes and download transcripts, go to and click Podcast

Today I’m gonna talk about the expression “look up”. “Look up” can mean different things depending on how it’s used, so here is a very popular way to use it: let’s say I’m reading a magazine and all of a sudden I stumble upon the word “maze”. Maze, m-a-z-e. I have no idea what maze means, and I can’t understand what I’m reading. So what am I gonna do now? I am going to look up this word in a dictionary.

So that means that I’m going to grab my dictionary, which is a collection of words and information about these words, right? And then I’m going to find the section that lists all the words beginning with the letter M, and then I’m going to find “maze” and learn about its meaning. I’m going to look up “maze” in a dictionary. By the way, maze is something like a labyrinth.

What’s the last word you looked up in a dictionary? For me, it was “persimmon”. I didn’t look it up in a print dictionary, though. You know? The physical book. I don’t use print dictionaries anymore. I looked up persimmon on a dictionary website, one which I highly recommend. Here it goes: So I looked up “persimmon” on their website. By the way, if you don’t know what persimmon means, look it up on Google Images. You’ll see pictures of persimmons and you’ll know immediately what it means.

In general, when you have something like a collection of information on many topics, and you want to consult that resource to find information on one particular item, you can say “look up”. I’m gonna look up persimmon in a dictionary. Then, I’m going to look it up on Google Images and see what a persimmon looks like.

How about Wikipedia? Wikipedia is like an encyclopedia, but its articles are written by… just about anyone, so the information on that website is not always accurate, but it’s still useful most of the time. So Wikipedia is a collection of articles about many, many different topics. I look something up on the Wikipedia website almost every day. And here’s one more perfect example: the phone book, the directory of residents and their address and telephone number for a particular city. The last time I looked someone up in the phone book was… a while ago. It’s been a while! Actually, last weekend I looked up the phone number for a restaurant in the Yellow Pages. I looked up a phone number in the Yellow Pages. And the number was there.. I found it.

So here’s another meaning for “look up”: who do you respect and admire? Think of someone in your family, or a friend. Someone who you always listen to. When that person is speaking, you pay attention. Is it your father, your mother, a brother, a sister, an uncle, a friend? Who do you really admire and respect? Who do you look up to? For example, my sister looks up to my father. She respects and admires him very much. You know teen idols? Teenage actors, or young tv hosts, whose public is children? Remember, in Brazil we had Xuxa, Angélica. Many times children look up to them. In movies we often hear someone say “He looks up to you”. “He” is usually a little boy, and the boy’s mother is saying to the boy’s father, for example… “He looks up to you”

So who do you look up to? Maybe there’s a grandfather you look up to. Maybe there’s an old friend you look up to. When you’re in need of some advice, find someone you look up to and go talk to them.

And finally, here’s a nice expression: things are looking up. But wait, things looking up? Things do not have eyes. People look up to the sky, or they look up to someone. Well, I guess this expression is a metaphor, ’cause when you say that things are looking up, that means they’re improving, or getting better. For example, someone might say “Yeah, we had a difficult year in 2010 but things are looking up now”. Or, “We’ve been searching for a house for months with no luck. Last week we found two houses we love! Things are finally looking up”.

OK, that’s it for today. Go look something up in a dictionary right now, and tell us what it was… Talk to you next time!


Key expressions

  • look something up
  • he looks up to you
  • things are looking up



stumble upon = dou de cara com, descobrir de repente

accurate = precisa, correta

XAVIER 13/05/2012

GOOD Ana Luiza.When i was started learning ennglish was very common to look up certains words in a dictionary but now it’s not very needed to look up, however i am loOking up but it is not often.

ZERO 10/01/2012

Hi, Ana! It’s the first time that I write here, however I’ve been knowing your beautiful work at a long time.
By the way, I’m loving all that!
So, I think that I just can say like Luis said “everytime that I read something in English I need to look some word up in the dictionary. But, if I’m not wrong the last one was instead.
Bye see you!

Luis 19/10/2011

Everytime i’m reading a book and I don’t know the meaning of some word I, I look it up in a dictionary.

Ana Luiza 26/04/2011

@ Ira and jonathan – awesome examples ! Thank you.

Marcio Rodrigues da Silva 26/04/2011

Hi Ana Luiza. How are yoy? Gostaria de perguntar para nos desenvolvermos nossa leitura de texto em ingles mais rápido, é preciso ler em ingles sem traduzir (o que acho que é mais dificil) ou continuamos a ler traduzindo e com o tempo a gente acostuma com as palavras em ingles e não precisamos mais traduzir?


Jonathan 22/04/2011

Hi Ana Luiza! You have done a great work here!

This is my first post in your site, but I have already listened a lot of yours podcasts.

I looked up the same phrase that you have looked up, persimmom.

I also looked up the expression “all of a sudden”, wich I have alredy heard before, but actually I didn’t catch its meaning.

That’s it!

Thanks for your helping!


Iramaia 20/04/2011

Hey Ana,

The only meaning I didn’t know was “to improve”.

I still remember when I learned the word “persimmon” and how to pronounce it. I was teaching a class about fruit and vegetables. Although persimmon was not there to teach, I thought that maybe someone would ask me and I’d like to make sure that I actually knew at leat the most common fruits, the ones that are part of our diet.

Anyway, the last word or rather expression I looked up in a dictionary was “cut somebody some slack” that I heard yesterday while watching America’s Top Model.

I look up to my mother. She has a strong personality and and she’s always been there for me every time I need her.

Nice podcast as always. Congrats!

Comments are closed