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 someone improvises, they make something up at once because an unexpected situation 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 telling them what to do.

  • invisible

    Something invisible cannot be seen.

  • vision

    Your vision is your sight; it gives you the power to see things.

  • visible

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

  • advisory

    giving advice

  • envision


  • inadvisable

    not prudent or wise

  • proviso

    a stipulated condition

  • revise

    make revisions in

  • revision

    the act of revising or altering (involving reconsideration and modification)

  • revisit

    visit again

  • supervise

    watch and direct

  • television

    broadcasting visual images of stationary or moving objects

  • visionary

    not practical or realizable

  • visit

    go to see a place, as for entertainment

  • visor

    a piece of armor plate (with eye slits) fixed or hinged to a medieval helmet to protect the face

  • vista

    the visual percept of a region

  • visual

    relating to or using sight

  • visualize


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