I've seen увидал used where one would use увидел. Is there any difference in meaning, or perhaps register?

Когда он увидал фото, он просто сломался.

  • There's also видывать. ))
    – Yellow Sky
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 18:40

2 Answers 2


Perfective увидать and увидеть don't really differ.

Imperfective Ты это видел? and Ты это видал? would mean "Did you see that" and "Have you seen that?", respectively. This I think is the closest thing Russian has to English perfect and simple past distinction.

Historically, видать is an iterative for видеть (same as летать / лететь, плавать / плыть etc.)

However, this form is not productive in Russian anymore, so some of historical iteratives either have completely merged with their base forms (стелить / стлать) or acquired idiomatic meanings like those above.

  • And wha about повидать?
    – VCH250
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 17:35
  • @VCH250: it does not have a counterpart from видеть
    – Quassnoi
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 17:37

"увидал" is just a demotic form of "увидел".

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