see, look at, observe

Quick Summary

The Latin root words vis and its variant vid both mean “see.” These Latin roots are the word origin of a good number of English vocabulary words, including visual, invisible, provide, and evidence. The Latin root vis is easily recalled through the word vision, someone’s ability to “see,” whereas vid can be remembered through video, or moving images which you “see” on a screen.

"Seeing" Provides Good Vision!

The Latin roots vis and its variant vid both mean “see.” “See” how well you can mentally visualize these roots with the provided podcast!

Let’s begin with the root vis, which means “see.” Your vision, of course, is your ability to “see.” A visual representation of something, like a picture, is something which you can “see.” Anything that is visible can be “seen,” whereas no one could ever “see” the Invisible Man! Imagine a teacher showing you an invisible visual—now that wouldn’t do much good!

The original idea behind the formation of the word television was that pictures could be “seen” which were sent from far away (just like you can hear someone’s voice from far away by using a telephone). When experts advise you not to watch too much TV, they are telling you the way they “see” or view the downfalls of that activity. Speaking of screens, instead of using Facebook or FaceTime you could visit a friend in person, or go to “see” her; you could also receive a visitor yourself, that is, one who comes to “see” you!

Let’s continue with the root vid, which also means “see.” When a video is playing on your iPad, you are “seeing” moving pictures. That video was taken with a video camera, a device which allows a user to record those images she “sees” fit to. A video game is “seen” on a screen as well, but is much more interactive in nature.

Do you have a video game provider which “sees” to it that you can get any game you want? Perhaps you’ve played a whodunit video game that includes using evidence, or those visual items that are “seen” by a judge that help solve the crime, such as the murder weapon.

We have now “seen” enough about both vis and vid. I hope that you have been provided with plenty of examples, lest I need to revise my podcast by having to “see” to it again!

  1. vision: power of ‘seeing’
  2. visual: of ‘seeing’
  3. visible: able to be ‘seen’
  4. invisible: not able to be ‘seen’
  5. television: device on which pictures are ‘seen’ from far away
  6. advise: to tell someone the way you ‘see’ towards a particular matter
  7. visit: to go to ‘see’ someone
  8. visitor: one who is ‘seen’
  9. video: moving pictures ‘seen’ on a screen
  10. provider: one who ‘sees’ for you so that you have something you need
  11. evidence: items thoroughly or fully ‘seen’ in a court case
  12. revise: to ‘see’ to again


  • envisage

    When you envisage something, you imagine or consider its future possibility.

  • visage

    Someone's visage is their face or the expression their face can make.

  • improvise

    When you improvise, you have to make something up with no notice ahead of time since you have been surprised by an unexpected situation that has arisen.

  • provisional

    A provisional measure is temporary or conditional until more permanent action is taken.

  • advice

    When you give someone advice, you help them by suggesting that they do something in a certain way or direct them towards doing a particular thing.

  • invisible

    Something which is invisible cannot be seen.

  • vision

    Your vision is your sight or ability to see.

  • visible

    If something is visible, you can see it or it is able to be seen.

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