In the film Star Wars: Return of the Jedi there's a line:

Just for once, let me look on you with my own eyes.

According to Oxford Dictionaries Online, it means:

Watch without getting involved: Cameron was looking on and making no move to help

But the above definition doesn't seem to fit in the context. Many people tell me that it's just poetic, emphatic and emotional version of "look at".

Is that true?

  • You might want to include a bit of research which proves that at least one dictionary is no help at all. But have you looked elsewhere?
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 12:53
  • 1
    "Look on" does have a non-archaic meaning, as in "The medic administered first aid while several bystanders looked on." But in the above it's simply a poetic/archaic version of "look at".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 13:11
  • 1
    Hi, SovereignSun. Don't forget to include your research when you ask a question. I think the downvote was cast because of that. I edited your question and please take a look. You don't need to use bold for so many words.
    – user140086
    Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 15:41

1 Answer 1


It's an archaic usage that is being used poetically in this case. The King James Version of the Bible uses look on instead of look at:

And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren.

Exodus 2:11 (KJV)

Google Ngrams shows the relative usage of "look on" and "look at":

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Google Books Ngram Viewer

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