Can the verb "see" or any phrasal verb containing "see" be used to mean a deep understanding of someone?

The only thing that comes to my mind is "I can see him through", but it seems to be more about knowing where someone's lies are rather than understanding that person.

  • 2
    To know someone is a liar is to 'see through him', not 'see him through'. Aug 25, 2018 at 7:43
  • @MichaelHarvey - Does "see him through" have any meaning?
    – brilliant
    Aug 25, 2018 at 7:45
  • 3
    "See someone through" can mean to help and support someone through a difficult period, e.g. my brother broke his leg and the family saw him through the recovery; I lost my job and my father saw me through financially until I got another one. Aug 25, 2018 at 7:53
  • Another example: I was nervous in my new job, but my kind boss saw me through the first few weeks Aug 25, 2018 at 8:02
  • See - Oxford Dictionaries Aug 25, 2018 at 8:05

1 Answer 1


Not the word see alone. The phrase "I can see where you're coming from" is used to mean that you understand a person's reasons or beliefs, especially deeply rooted or long held, for thinking or doing something. Deeply rooted means that they come from a source, either parents when we're young or from a traumatic experience, that makes the beliefs important to the person.

Similarly, we have expressions "look into someone's soul" or "see into someone's soul", along with the idea of the "depth of the human soul", that mean to examine, to try to understand, what is emotionally deep within a person's mind.

  • "See" alone can have a connotation of understanding a person. "I see right through him", or "I see his real nature" are understandable and common. Certainly in colloquial terms, "I see him" could mean "I understand him" or "I know his true character", depending on the context of the conversation.
    – user8356
    Sep 2, 2022 at 14:33

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