I can’t see for looking

can't see for looking idiom meaning

Photo credit: theawl.com

Today at work I asked a lady to help me find something on our company’s website and she was trying very hard and at some point said ‘I can’t see for looking‘. I remembered hearing this idiom before and thought I’d mention it here.

If you can’t see for looking, it means that you have been looking too long or too hard and cannot see what you’re looking for.

Here are some examples (a bit random, I admit):

– Sometimes you can’t see for looking. What are you looking high and low  for at the moment which might just be right under your nose?  Perhaps it’s time to stop seeking, work on a different bit of your own jigsaw, and let that missing piece come and find you! (alivetochange.com)

– Sorry, can’t see for looking today. Is there a way to remove the run as administrator right click menu, either via a registry key or a GPO? (edugeek.com)

– Can’t see for looking? Visual searches can be vitally important: looking for knives in luggage or tumours in mammograms, for instance (nature.com).

PS. The picture above is a tribute to my university years when we used to study some classical book for a whole term, practically dissecting every chapter (if not every sentence) of it. This is the cover of ‘The Great Gatsby’ edition.

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