Are ''å lette etter'' and ''å se etter'' synonymous? Is there a difference in the meaning?
They are pretty much synonymous, but I'd say that 'å se etter' feels milder than 'å lete* etter'. 'Å lete etter noe' is a bit more intense, you could say, than 'å se etter noe'. The former, to my mind, more often mean that you are physically moving stuff and digging through things to find what you are looking for. The latter could mean just looking around. But it is in no way a strict line between the two, and you could always swap them around, I believe.
By the way, you would only use 'lete' when talking about trying to find something in an abstract sense. You could say 'jeg leter etter de riktige ordene' to express that you are trying to find a good way to say something. However, if you say 'Jeg ser etter de riktige ordene', that would rather mean that you are trying to find them written somewhere, so that you can 'see' them.
Thank you for your answer! :) Here's a lingot!
I guess ''å lete etter'' is more frenetic (?) maybe.
If you compare them, 'lete' is the more 'frenetic' of the two, but that doesn't mean that it has a frenetic sense per se.
Perhaps we should rather see it the other way around:
You can say 'å lete desperat etter lommeboka', whereas 'å se desperat etter lommeboka' would just seem weird (at least to me) because 'se etter' has a certain sense of calm patience to it.
I would have never thought there was such a (feeling-related) difference. Thank you again!
There is also «å være ute etter», which basically means to be in the process of searching for something in quite a prolonged period of time, i.e. for a job :)
I'm curious. Could it perhaps also mean ''to commit to something for a long period of time and give the maximum''?
No, I don't actually reckon so :( But there is this expression: «å sette seg inn i noe» which means to be really interested in, to be very much into something, to be devoted to something, to have passion for something, for example:
Jeg setter meg inn i programmering...
would mean «I am very passionate about programming»
I have never heard 'sette seg inn i' used in that sense. To me, 'jeg setter meg inn i x' means rather 'I am getting into what x is about' / 'I am learning x thoroughly', etc. Could just as well be something boring that you have to study.
'Jeg må sette meg inn i spillereglene før jeg can være med' - 'I have to learn the game rules well before I can join'.