Difference between see and behold

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  • carolineR

    Senior Member
    One (behold) is certainly rarer and more formal than the other.
    Nowadays I believe is is only found in the phrase "lo and behold" wich is generally used humourously to express surprise : ( qui voilà ?/ qui vois-je ?)
    we were sitting at a sidewalk café and lo and behold, my sister walked by :)


    French-born/US English
    To behold is not rare in my circles. You behold a fabulous scenery : it's more intense a look, you see? :)


    French-born/US English
    carolineR said:
    in Google's circles :
    behold : 32 300 000
    see : 6 920 000 000
    No offence, Texasweed, just ;)
    That has nothing to do with the accuracy of the use of the term.

    "embrasser du regard" : 15 900
    voir : 232 000 000

    So what are you getting on my case (again) about?

    Yes krimo, there's a difference : to behold is closer to "embrasser du regard" and "see" is voir (with more or less interest.)

    Francis Nugent Dixon

    Senior Member
    English - France
    I agree about the poetic side of "behold", but there are also connotations of "wonder", and "amazement" when you behold something. Beholding something would be more "mind-shattering" that just "seeing" it. And if I am not too bold, I think "behold" is for a crowd, rather than an individual. It is for "all", rather than "one". I have not even looked up the definition in a dictionary - I just give you the "gut" reaction to the word, since I first saw it used many years ago. Behold would also be used in the written form, and probably not in the spoken form. The bible is the place where it is most used.


    New Member
    I would translate "Behold" as "Contempler" and "See" as "Voir" in some spiritual texts.



    Senior Member
    UK English
    I think behold is rather taking in the whole of what you are looking at (as Texasweed said, "more intense") and see is simply that you see it, nothing to it, just the physical fact of your eye focussing on a certain object.
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