I read a novel that throw me a term "searching look". Basically, the story goes like this:

The captain was thrilled to go on board to the lifeless spaceship to find a treasure inside. Alex told the captain that as long as they can find out what happened to the previous ship crews, it will be worthwhile. The captain gave Alex a searching look and say "Don't worry, we will."

What is searching look means?

  • Nice question. +1
    – TimR
    Mar 11, 2018 at 18:20

1 Answer 1


A "searching look" generally means to look at someone as if trying to discover additional, unspoken meanings to something they said, or additional, unspoken reasons for why they said it.

So in this context the captain is looking carefully at Alex to discern whether Alex is concealing information, and if he might see some clue to what it might be. Perhaps Alex knows what happened to the previous crew. Perhaps Alex actually did something to that crew. Perhaps it's weird that Alex offered a reward for finding out, and the captain wants to try to figure out Alex's motive for doing so.

The response, "Don't worry we will", is a little odd, though. I suspect there is either more to the story, or some kind of mistranslation.

Another example:

Before the two men entered into the house, John pulled Ben aside. "Ben," he began. "I just ... Look. If you see something weird in there, promise me you won't freak out, OK?"

Ben paused and gave John a long, searching look. "Well, now you're already making me freak out, man. Is there something you're not telling me about this place?"

  • Okay, your example made me easier to understand the term. In the context of the story, I think it means like this: captain and all of the crews are excited to find some treasure, except Alex, which is more concerned about the fate of the dead ship's previous crew members. Why did he care? It's not that he knew any of the passengers anyway. I think that's the searching look means in this story context. Thanks! Mar 12, 2018 at 3:57
  • 1
    @ChenLiYong Yes that would make sense. Now the captain suspects Alex has some hidden connection to the missing crew, but doesn't want Alex to know that he is suspicious.
    – Andrew
    Mar 12, 2018 at 4:00

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