to glance at/to glance sideways at/to peek at/to flicker to

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yoku

Member
latviešu valoda
Hello to all once more!

I noticed in a book, which I am trying to read, these expressions. In the book they all have meaning of a quick look. I was trying to find the slight difference, but failed as translations and explanations gave me some variants which were identical. Myself I could only try to differentiate between the first and the second ones as the second is the same plus one word added. So both expressions mean quick look, but the second one means quick look which was made with peripheral vision, I guess.
Could someone clarify and explain or point me to the right direction?

Thanks in advance!
 
  • Paul E

    Senior Member
    English England
    I'd say the only difference between the first and second is the direction, the third means look more intentionally, but in the same way, and the fourth doesn't exist.

    That's my take.
     

    Paul E

    Senior Member
    English England
    To flicker your eyes to? Is that what you mean? If so, it still doesn't exist!
     

    yoku

    Member
    latviešu valoda
    My bad again. I guess, I need to get some sleep instead of being here.
    Here are some quotes:
    1 - his dark eyes flickered to mine;
    2 - my eyes flickered again and again to the table where the strange family sat.

    Now it makes sense.

    And thanks for Your response!
     

    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    "Glance" is a quiick look. "Glance sideways" is a quick look to the side so it specifies a direction and presumably following a sideways glance you turn your head back to look straight ahead again. A "peek" has the sense of looking at something hidden or maybe even at something you shouldn't be looking at. "He peeked at his neighbor's test to find the answers." A typical game with a small child is "peek a boo - I see you" where you pretend to cover your eyes and then uncover them quickly, or something similar. I would say a "peek" could be longer than a glance. A "flicker" is quicker than a glance to me - it's just a tiny quick movement of the eyes.
     

    yoku

    Member
    latviešu valoda
    Thanks, kalamazoo! That gave me more thoughts to digest.

    Then, I guess, the fourth variant is used only in AmE.
     

    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    The example with "flicker" in your first post is unidiomatic and wouldn't be used in AE either. You would usually say "His eyes flickered to mine for an instant" or something similar. If your eyes "flicker" it just means they move quickly, not necessarily that you are really deliberately looking at something or even seeing anything. It's just a quick eye movement of some kind. A "glance" is a deliberate look of some kind.
     
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