Does "will look out over a capital city" mean "will keep watch on a capital city"? The prepositional word "over" has given me a hard time to figure out what it means. Because a phrase like "look over one's shoulders" is very different in meaning with "look on one's shoulders."

Stay home, Americans were exhorted, to prevent further spread of a surging virus that has claimed 400,000 American lives. Biden will look out over a capital city dotted with empty storefronts that attest to the pandemic’s deep economic toll and where summer protests laid bare the nation’s renewed reckoning on racial justice.

Source: The Associated Press

1 Answer 1


Look out over means 'look from a high viewpoint at [the scene below]'. The writer envisages Mr Biden standing at a White House upper window looking out over Washington. (I've never been to Washington, but I imagine he would not literally be able to see details of the streets from there.)

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    Yes.. look over has special meaning for text or a list of details, or even some set of details of some kind, but it stems from being "higher" somehow Commented Jan 20, 2021 at 9:21
  • The phrase could have the other meaning, if you were talking about, say, Batman. But I don't think anyone expects the President to be literally keeping watch over the city. Commented Jan 20, 2021 at 17:50

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