Definition of eye in English:


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  • 1Each of a pair of globular organs in the head through which people and vertebrate animals see, the visible part typically appearing almond-shaped in animals with eyelids.

    The basic components of the vertebrate eye are a transparent cornea, an adjustable iris, a lens for focusing, a sensitive retina lining the back of the eye, and a clear fluid- or jelly-filled center. The most primitive animals only have one or two eyespots, while many other invertebrates have several simple eyes or a pair of compound eyes

    ‘my cat is blind in one eye’
    • ‘closing her eyes, she tried to relax’
    • ‘They believe the optic nerve in short sighted eyes might be more vulnerable to computer stress.’
    • ‘Kiri is registered blind after inheriting an eye disease from partially sighted Daphne.’
    • ‘This is beyond the capacity of the human eye, which may explain why so many offside decisions are controversial’
    • ‘Emergency treatment is required to preserve the sight of the eye.’
    • ‘We learnt about the priorities between getting in the harvest or losing the sight of an eye in the Third World.’
    • ‘The lens of the human eye is a stiff gel of transparent protein, inside an elastic capsule.’
    • ‘Eight of the eye injuries were caused by the stick, two by body contact, and two from fighting.’
    • ‘The system's light source is invisible to the human eye, thus increasing operator comfort.’
    • ‘Hold the mirrors of the homemade apparatus close to the eyes and see the left eye in the right mirror and vice versa.’
    • ‘She is now completely blind in her right eye, her sight will never be restored and she faces a further operation next month.’
    • ‘Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can lead to damage to the eye's optic nerve and result in blindness.’
    • ‘It would be nice to have all the functionality of the human eye without a blind spot.’
    • ‘Glaucoma is more common in old age, and happens when the optic nerve in the eye is damaged.’
    • ‘It can result from a variety of diseases, disorders, and injuries that affect the eye.’
    • ‘Glaucoma is a disease in which pressure in the eye slowly damages the optic nerve.’
    • ‘Before closing my eyes I catch sight of a notice posted on the dormitory door.’
    • ‘In addition, damage to retinal layer blood vessels of the eye can result in blindness.’
    • ‘It is a disease of small blood vessels in the retina of the eye.’
    • ‘Malignant melanoma can also affect the choroid of the eye, the layer just under the retina.’
    • ‘Abnormal copper deposition also occurs in the basal ganglia and eyes.’
    organ of sight, eyeball
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The corresponding visual or light-detecting organ of many invertebrate animals.
      ‘We know the first animal to have an eye was a trilobite that was a predator as well.’
      • ‘As in all arthropods, the eye surface had to be molted along with the rest of the hard exoskeleton.’
      • ‘Daphnia magna has a light-sensitive eye, meaning that the eye will track a moving light source.’
      • ‘The eye of arthropod invertebrates (insects, crustaceans, etc.) is vastly different from the molluscan or vertebrate eye.’
    2. 1.2The region of the face surrounding the eyes.
      ‘her eyes were swollen with crying’
      • ‘The children were constantly coughing, had runny noses, and their eyes would swell up.’
      • ‘I'd left my hat in Atlanta and one of my eyes was already swelling from the beating.’
      • ‘His shoulder was scratched, his body aches all over and his eyes are slightly swollen.’
      • ‘Mrs Gilbert said her left eye swelled up and she was in pain after the injection on Tuesday, July 20.’
      • ‘On another occasion, when I looked into the mirror, my right eye was swollen shut.’
      • ‘His eye was so swollen he couldn't open it, and it was all weepy and gross and made me feel sick.’
      • ‘Ethan went wide eyed her left eye swollen and bleeding just above her brow.’
      • ‘By the middle rounds the boxer's punches had opened a cut above his opponent's right eye while his left eye was also swollen.’
      • ‘The combative midfielder had a cut lip and an eye so swollen he could barely see.’
      • ‘He suffered a fractured nose, fractured cheekbone, swelling to his right eye and he had to get stitches to his inner lip.’
      • ‘There was a gash under her left eye that had swollen and bruised her eye.’
      • ‘By then tears were already soaking into her skin and her eyes were a bit swollen.’
      • ‘The first thing she thought of was whether her eyes were red or swollen from crying last night.’
      • ‘My joy died instantly and my smile disappeared as I saw how red and swollen her eyes were.’
      • ‘Her eyes had begun to swell up again, why he was making her cry like this, she didn't know.’
      • ‘His eyes began to swell, and soon even Dominic had no idea of where he was stumbling.’
      • ‘His lips quivered, and his eyes swelled with tears as he kept them on his fallen mother.’
      • ‘She was still trying to hide her face, for her eyes were red and swollen from all the crying.’
      • ‘He saw her sitting at her desk with a blank face hands folded on her lap, and her eyes swollen red.’
      • ‘Sandrine noticed that the girl's eyes were red and swollen, as if she'd been crying.’
    3. 1.3Used to refer to someone's power of vision and in descriptions of the manner or direction of someone's gaze.
      ‘his sharp eyes had missed nothing’
      • ‘I couldn't take my eyes off him’
      • ‘The secret appears to be: keep costs low, have cred and employ editors with wit and sharp eyes.’
      • ‘Bless our eyes with vision, that we may see our lives and the life that you give us.’
      • ‘Tearing my eyes away from this vision of male pulchritude, I notice yet another Gable.’
      • ‘With an intense eye, he gazes like a spirit guardian, across the valley to the ruins of Runku Raqay, an old Inca outpost.’
      • ‘Not just the desecrated bodies of the dead, but the shattered lives of those who knew and loved them are thrust into the merciless gaze of the public eye.’
      • ‘Stevens' vision caught their collective eye, and he was named a semi-finalist in July.’
      • ‘He sees himself as a more defensive type, but he has vision and a good eye for goal.’
      • ‘There will be eager eyes to spot the errant hen's nests and collect the eggs as well as help with the usual chores.’
      • ‘We avert our collective eyes as we pass by the gentlemen and ladies of the road and each time we do it we create ghosts to people the shadows of our world.’
      • ‘The caisson is made of wood, but looks so shinny and smooth to the untrained eye it looks like metal.’
      • ‘Drivers should have their eyes on the road and be on the lookout for pedestrians and other road users and not be distracted by these signs.’
      • ‘When he is onscreen, your eye stays with him, oblivious to the mise en scene.’
      • ‘She was examining the peaches carefully, one eye for a good peach, the other on the bad daughter.’
      • ‘Pockets that tilt slightly inward are good, since they draw the eye toward the center.’
      • ‘Even a lowly salad fork that needs lining up does not escape David's sharp eye.’
      • ‘As she leafs through the yellow pages, my eyes try in vain to grab a word or two from the looped, fastidious handwriting.’
      • ‘A mix of glossy and matte leaves and angular and round flower heads will keep the eye moving.’
      • ‘Even a Reading shopping centre can hold the eye when its glass facade and the canal's surface mirror each other.’
      • ‘Her piercing grey eyes darted about the room, still in search for a seat.’
      • ‘Aaron had fixed his eyes on my position, though I doubt he could see me in the darkness.’
      eyesight, vision, sight, power of sight, faculty of sight, ability to see, power of seeing, powers of observation, observation, perception, visual perception
      watch, observance, lookout, gaze, stare, regard
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4Used to refer to someone's opinion or attitude toward something.
      ‘ in the eyes of his younger colleagues, Mr. Arnett was an eccentric’
      • ‘ to European eyes, it may seem that the city is overcrowded’
      • ‘For it is in the essence of his behaviour that he should be eccentric, unconventional and rash in the eyes of public opinion.’
      • ‘Secondly, how would a customer be viewed in the eyes of the public?’
      • ‘Internal working models of the self are opinions about how one is viewed in the eyes of others.’
      • ‘Again, political reporting becomes political reality in the eyes of the public.’
      • ‘The problem is that today the credibility of the criminal justice system is very low in the eyes of the public.’
      • ‘He seems to think that the media have reached a new low in the eyes of the public.’
      • ‘In the eyes of the public, they only care for the votes and they have their own ambitions and prejudice.’
      • ‘The problem is what both of you stand for in the eyes of the vast majority of veterans.’
      • ‘The council is also fighting to improve its standing in the eyes of its official assessors.’
      • ‘I share Mr Clarke's concern that the opinion of the electorate counts for nothing in the eyes of the elected.’
      • ‘Never before have the ruling autocrats been as naked in the eyes of their publics as they are now.’
      • ‘How could I tell him all of this without losing even more standing in the eyes of my father?’
      • ‘Such attempts at manipulating the news have already backfired in the eyes of the public.’
      • ‘I have the experience but that stands for nothing in the eyes of the law.’
      • ‘It needs to enjoy strong authority in the eyes of both political players and the public.’
      • ‘Travellers were left feeling important in the eyes of our national carrier.’
      • ‘German law decreed that as soon as you crossed the border you lost your nationality, but in the eyes of the British he was still a German.’
      • ‘When I went to interview him three years ago, he was, in the eyes of the outside world, a remote and beleaguered figure.’
      • ‘We can never see her except through the eyes of the white men who described her.’
      • ‘It has therefore been relatively easy to depict the exhibition through the eyes of Cole.’
      • ‘This drama, seen through the eyes of a child, gives the children's programme an opportunity to explore some of the emotions and issues foot and mouth has raised.’
      • ‘I chose to tell the story through the eyes of an impressionable outsider.’
      • ‘He sees this world through the eyes of a scientist.’
      opinion, thinking, way of thinking, mind, view, viewpoint, point of view, attitude, stance, stand, standpoint, position, perspective, belief, contention, conviction, judgement, assessment, analysis, evaluation, gauging, rating, appraisal, estimation, estimate
      View synonyms
  • 2A thing resembling an eye in appearance, shape, or relative position.

    ‘In that box are six infrared eyes logging the position of your features so it can build up a picture of your mug.’
    • ‘Position and glue eyes into place behind the windows in each of the copper shapes.’
    • ‘On a size ten hook, like the one that I have used, that will be about 5mm behind the eye of the hook.’
    • ‘Slide bead over the hook barb leaving it resting against the eye of the hook.’
    • ‘Wind the wool back to the hook bend and then back up to behind the hook eye.’
    • ‘All I do is reverse the direction of the hair, so that it faces up towards the eye of the hook.’
    • ‘Place a length of nylon in the path of the whipping silk so that the loop is facing the eye in the ring.’
    • ‘Now simply attach the lower hook by passing the loop through the eye and bring back underneath the hook and tighten.’
    • ‘The muppet was then slid down to the eye of the hook so that it formed a skirt around the top of the squid bait.’
    • ‘Take the silk back up the shank until you are a couple of millimetres behind the eye of the hook.’
    • ‘Wind on the black chenille and tie off leaving plenty of room near the hook eye.’
    • ‘The eye of the lens stays with the girl as she becomes aware of another behind her, a presence.’
    • ‘Although if that's a single eye in the centre pyramid of the crown it may be a few other things…’
    1. 2.1A rounded eye-like marking on an animal, such as those on the tail of a peacock; an eyespot.
      ‘Chestnut eyes spotted her trademark wings and he carefully made his way over to her.’
      • ‘The train feathers have a series of eyes that are best seen when the tail is fanned.’
      • ‘It is pleased when others look at the eyes on its tail feathers; it pulls them all together in a cluster for this purpose.’
    2. 2.2A round, dark spot on a potato from which a new shoot can grow.
      ‘withered potatoes sprouting at the eyes’
      • ‘The eyes and even sprouting potatoes are safe to use but they may not keep well.’
      • ‘However, as we've just said, roots don't have buds, and that's exactly what you see sprouting on the potato, arising from the potato's eyes.’
    3. 2.3US A center cut of meat.
      ‘eye of round’
      • ‘The contre-filet or faux filet, the lean eye of meat which runs along the top of the sirloin, is used in Britain and the USA as well.’
      • ‘Fillet or tenderloin is the small eye of meat beneath the backbone under the sirloin.’
      • ‘When I trained as a chef, we were taught to trim the fillet to a completely clean eye of meat, removing the chain and everything else.’
    4. 2.4The center of a flower, especially when distinctively colored.
      ‘delicate flowers of light blue color, with white or yellow eyes’
      • ‘As he stared into the eyes of the flower bud, memories began to flood within his own.’
      • ‘Each eye forms a cluster of roots, and furnishes a very fine stock, which is taken up after winter.’
      • ‘Each flower eye has expanded to the familiar pineapple-like criss-cross pattern.’
    5. 2.5The calm region at the center of a storm or hurricane.
      See also the eye of the storm below
      ‘the smaller the eye, the more intense the winds’
      • ‘In this context, summer can seem merely like the brief and insignificant calm in the eye of the hurricane.’
      • ‘Why can't we come up with solutions to try and disrupt the eye of the hurricane somehow?’
      • ‘And in the course of the afternoon, meteorologists tell us the eye of the hurricane will start to pass over this island itself.’
      • ‘That's on these outer rain bands, well in advance of the eye of the hurricane.’
      • ‘But we were in the eye of the hurricane all the way across.’
      • ‘We don't pre-position at the eye of the hurricane.’
      • ‘Silver iodide flares would be dropped into the eye of the hurricane.’
      • ‘Only an aircraft flying right into the eye of the hurricane can accurately obtain the data.’
      • ‘Because forecasters always try to pinpoint the eye of the hurricane, this knowledge will help with locating the exact position and lead to better tracking.’
      • ‘You can see, as we move in a little bit closer, you can now see the eye of the hurricane.’
      • ‘The eye of the storm is always said to be a place of calm.’
      • ‘You can see very distinctly on the satellite picture the eye of the hurricane right there as it continues to move very close now to the coast.’
      • ‘I am on the Malecon, Havana's seaside drive, where it is getting very windy, but the eye of the hurricane has already hit land.’
      • ‘While the eye of the hurricane didn't cross Jamaica, the extensive rain caused widespread flooding, especially in the hillier regions.’
      • ‘The eye of the storm is now about 460 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River in Louisiana.’
      • ‘The eye of the storm was officially recorded as striking the tiny town of Buras, about 40 miles south-east of New Orleans, with 145 mph winds at daybreak.’
      • ‘The eye of the storm is expected to hit Puerto Rico later today.’
      • ‘Today, the eye of the hurricane came just south of Orlando, Florida, bringing high winds and very heavy rains to that tourist city.’
      • ‘This is fairly far north of where the eye of the hurricane is going to hit but just five minutes ago I measured the winds that we're getting here.’
      • ‘As the eye of the hurricane moved over, the wind picked up again, rising rapidly from the south-east.’
      centre, middle, nucleus, heart, core, hub, pivot, kernel, bosom, interior, depths, thick
      View synonyms
    6. 2.6eyesNautical The extreme forward part of a ship.
      ‘it was hanging in the eyes of the ship’
      • ‘Access to the quarters below was down a cuddy or slide just forward of the foremast, the crew's quarters being forward in the eyes of the ship.’
      • ‘Passengers are normally allowed into the "eyes" of the ship and this will give you an unrestricted view ahead.’
  • 3The small hole in a needle through which the thread is passed.

    ‘strands of glass tiny enough to pass through the eye of a needle’
    • ‘That's when I looked at the top point of a star and realized that a tiny hole, barely larger then the eye of a needle, had been placed in it.’
    • ‘Passes were threaded together and some of them would have gone through the eye of a needle.’
    • ‘An army of tiny red eyes met him, none larger than the eye of a needle.’
    • ‘Madame Turrie gabbed a needle and black thread and quickly put the thread in the needle eye.’
    • ‘The scarf's purpose is to allow the bobbin case hook to get close to the needle eye and catch the thread to form a stitch.’
    • ‘A slot on one side allows the thread to slide into the eye of this general-purpose needle.’
    • ‘Use a good thread and make sure the needle eye is large enough for the thread type.’
    • ‘If the eye of the needle is too small for the thread to pass through, the thread will shred.’
    hole, opening, aperture, eyelet, gap, slit, slot, crevice, chink, crack, perforation, interstice
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1A small metal loop into which a hook is fitted as a fastener on a garment.
      See also hook and eye
      ‘The need to match hook size to line diameter is less of a problem with eyes hooks as the knot has more metal to stop it coming loose.’
      • ‘Secondly, the hook can be fastened with a loop so that the lask end of the strip can be trapped against the eye of the hook with the loop.’
      • ‘They were fastened down the front with buttons or with or with hooks and eyes.’
    2. 3.2Nautical A loop at the end of a rope, especially one at the top end of a shroud or stay.
      ‘This can be used to clear clogged hook eyes, bad casting knots and back lashes.’
      • ‘The double overhand knot is tied through the eye of the hook and of the swivel, then secured with either a single or double crimp.’
      • ‘Having a permanently fixed loop (eye splice) on a rope-end removes the need to tie and then untie a knot each time you wish to use it.’
      • ‘Rope splicing is a very strong method of fixing a loop eye or joining two ends together.’



/ī/ /aɪ/

transitive verbtransitive verb eyes, transitive verb eyeing, transitive verb eying, transitive verb eyed

[with object]
  • Look at or watch closely or with interest.

    ‘Rose eyed him warily’
    • ‘The tender stood there polishing a unique-looking shot glass, eying the newcomers closely.’
    • ‘After eying them closely from the distance, they began to approach closer.’
    • ‘As it poured incessantly out of him, he noticed a bull across the field eyeing him interestingly.’
    • ‘They both stood silent then, eying each other warily.’
    • ‘Stewart, Katie's cat, sat watching the game, eying the soldiers.’
    • ‘She glanced down, eying the boy standing below very carefully.’
    • ‘Actually, I considered, eying the many stains on the carpet from carelessly spilt beer, it was little wonder.’
    • ‘I kept eying him wearily… checking to make sure that his temper was in check.’
    • ‘Trevor and I spread out while Mark leaned against the tree, eying us warily.’
    • ‘Still, he looked like he would be nice enough, even with the way he was eying her warily.’
    • ‘She kept eying the rear view mirror where she had a good look at Chris, losing to himself in a thumb war.’
    • ‘My eyes fell upon my cat which was still eyeing my brother with the utmost interest.’
    • ‘Natalie eyed her warily, unsure if she was joking or actually being serious.’
    • ‘Guns make me very nervous and I'd stand brewing the tea and eying the gun over the cupboard warily.’
    • ‘My mother appeared in the doorway, calm and collected as usual, except she was impatiently eying my clock.’
    • ‘She tidies my hospital room, eying me with nervous pity.’
    • ‘Investigators say he was also eying Heathrow Airport in London.’
    • ‘Selby are eying the chance of ending York's 13-year stranglehold on the local game when the two sides meet next Saturday.’
    • ‘Apart from Yusril, several cabinet ministers and the vice president are currently eying the presidency.’
    • ‘Certainly, there are a couple of England players who may be eyeing that announcement with some uncertainty.’
    look at, see, observe, view, gaze at, gaze upon, stare at, scan, regard, contemplate, survey, inspect, examine, scrutinize, study, consider, glance at, take a glance at
    ogle, leer at, stare at, gaze at, make eyes at, make sheep's eyes at
    View synonyms



/ī/ /aɪ/


    a twinkle in someone's eye
    • Something that is as yet no more than an idea or dream.

      ‘not every gleam in a grocer's eye becomes a store’
      • ‘Her smile was so fake and there was a gleam in her eye, a gleam of hatred as she dragged out every word painfully.’
      • ‘‘Good idea,’ said the Colonel with a twinkle in his eye.’
      • ‘I just had an idea! ‘he said, with a gleam in his eye that made me nervous.’’
      • ‘He would approach the podium and take on a demeanor of sheer delight at the opportunity to speak to others about his ideas, and then, with a gleam in his eye, he would craft these amazing sentences.’
      • ‘If the contrast gets too disturbing, there's no need to despair, because the locals are always on hand with a pitcher of something noxious and a twinkle in their eye.’
      • ‘Long before Dame Berwick was a twinkle in Mother Kaler 's eye, men have dressed up as women for entertainment, and vice versa.’
      • ‘Red was looking at him, and John swore there was a twinkle in Red 's eye.’
      • ‘There's a twinkle in Hartley 's eye as he is reminded of that.’
      • ‘Forty years ago, with only two channels available, no one had heard of attention deficit disorder; remote-controls weren't even a twinkle in a boffin 's eye so no one knew about repetitive strain injury either.’
      • ‘How to teach youngsters the facts of life has presented problems ever since those famous birds and bees were just a twinkle in someone's eye.’
    a —'s-eye view
    • A view from the position or standpoint of a —

      ‘a satellite's-eye view of global warming’
      • ‘This gives a bird's eye view of the city and the county of North Yorkshire.’
      • ‘Our position immediately above Jubilee Square gives a bird's eye view of the yacht basin, the naval activity and panoramic views across False Bay.’
    all eyes are on —
    • Used to convey that a particular person or thing is currently the focus of public interest or attention.

      ‘all eyes are on the hot spots of eastern Europe’
      • ‘Goals are vital and strikers like her are the premium currency, with all eyes focused on them after a successful foray.’
      • ‘Mirwaiz said all eyes are now focused on the unity moves and people are keenly watching the developments.’
      • ‘Dinner in the St. Petersburg Hotel's large restaurant came to a halt as all eyes focused on the television.’
      • ‘He looked at the group of people sitting down and soon all eyes were focused on the ground.’
      • ‘As the lights go up on this performance all eyes are focused on how the main players have aged.’
      • ‘The next few weeks and months will be interesting as all eyes will be on the Irish.’
      • ‘Now, he's in the final again and no matter what the semi-final scores say, all eyes are on the Ashanti.’
      • ‘My wife, mortified, tried to square her shoulders as all eyes dropped to her chest.’
      • ‘Whatever the explanation, we can see that all eyes are on Clooney.’
      • ‘Eventually a young woman, all eyes on her, reaches into her bag, mortified.’
    an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth
    • Used to refer to the belief that punishment in kind is the appropriate way to deal with an offense or crime.

      ‘whenever someone treated him badly, it was an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’
      • ‘Revenge should never play a part in a modern justice system, I am hoping that we as a race are beyond that by now, that we have grown up a little since the Bible days of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’
      • ‘‘‘If we practice an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, soon the whole world will be blind and toothless.’’
      • ‘His laws were very cruel and were based on the principle of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’
      • ‘But before we get carried away with such ideas, it is worth remembering that, in the Bible, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth was really not about retribution; it was about restoration.’


      With biblical allusion to Exod. 21: 24.

    an eye for the main chance
    • The quality of giving greatest consideration to one's potential for personal gain.

      ‘his eye for the main chance and ruthless commercial instincts have made him one of the wealthiest men in Britain’
      • ‘a developer with an eye on the main chance’
      • ‘So was Pultizer just another savvy, opportunistic American businessman with an eye on the main chance?’
      • ‘This is exactly the problem with people who always have an eye to the main chance.’
      • ‘It seems the Libs turned down the opportunity to tag along, but the Nats, always with an eye on the main chance, took up their position with considerable enthusiasm.’
      • ‘But like their fathers and grandfathers before them, the modern day provos were always ones with an eye to the main chance.’
      • ‘By the end of the year, McAlpine, a softly spoken Scot with an eye for the main chance, will have conquered the toughest city on earth and the toughest business in town - the movies.’
      • ‘But it had, in community councillor Roy Surplice, a man with an eye for the main chance.’
      • ‘Fast, elusive and with an eye for the main chance, O'Driscoll was the best back on display.’
      • ‘They have an eye for the main chance like no political machine in the history of the world.’
      • ‘Rodney's peasants were altogether more feisty: often badly behaved, with an eye to the main chance, but also loyal to one another, and doggedly opposed to external oppressors.’
      • ‘Always with an eye for the main chance, especially in agricultural commerce, Haraszthy initiated the first steamboat service on the Wisconsin and upper Mississippi rivers.’
    be all eyes
    • Be watching eagerly and attentively.

      ‘Trotting alongside her mother as a youngster whenever she was at her mother's office, Aleksandra was all eyes for the designs, colours and materials.’
      • ‘There were also many other performance and visual artists as well as film and video, I was all eyes and ears.’
      • ‘‘This time we even noticed Philip who looked like he'd just come out of a bath… before we must have been all eyes for the Queen‘. he wrote.’’
      • ‘Emily suddenly noticed that all the men doing construction were all eyes on the scene.’
      • ‘I was all eyes and ears to know what was going on and sat on a log at the side of the house while Rasmason told Hedge he wanted to trade the gelding he was driving for the black mare he had seen Hedge driving the day before.’
      • ‘O'Neill was going for back to back wins but it was all eyes on lane 6 Misty Hymen the American lead the whole way and the Aussie girls couldn't catch her.’
    before one's eyes
    • Right in front of one (used for emphasis, especially in the context of something surprising or unpleasant)

      ‘he saw his life's work destroyed before his very eyes’
      • ‘Then she climbed up to the top of my head and lay sprawled there, her chin on my forehead and front paws hanging in front of my eyes.’
      • ‘There has never been a day quite like September 11, a day on which history ran before our eyes, recorded live for the television.’
      • ‘I've been hooked to my TV set over the last ten days, eagerly awaiting the latest developments happening live before my very eyes.’
      • ‘And the elderly grandparents carry the images of that van flying into their front yard and of their grandson dying before their eyes.’
      • ‘Then it was like in the movies when people's lives passed in front of their eyes.’
      • ‘He may well be right, but the perceived notion that Beattie is a restricted footballer, useful only as a target man seems to me to ignore the physical evidence in front of one's eyes.’
      • ‘Lansye were so old that most of them had seen at least several generations live and die before their eyes.’
      • ‘Morris always wanted people to recognise that Carnival design was an art - to accept the spectacle in front of their eyes as a genuine, living artistic achievement.’
      • ‘In the business, it's called rolling news - live footage of a breaking story that unspools before our very eyes.’
      • ‘Then before his very eyes, the seemingly solid wall in front of him opened.’
    close one's eyes to
    • Refuse to notice or acknowledge something unwelcome or unpleasant.

      ‘he couldn't close his eyes to the truth—he had cancer’
      • ‘If we refuse than God closes his eyes to us forever.’
      • ‘What a pity that so many writers who, in other circumstances, are optimists about human progress, should shut their eyes to what is happening.’
      • ‘But the mere fact that she shut her eyes to what you regard as the obvious is not enough.’
      • ‘When you seem to be closing your eyes to 99% of the world, why should we listen to have to say about politics?’
      • ‘The trouble with the Bahamas, is that once you are on the limestone rock, it seductively closes your eyes to what can be, as it tries to engulf in its own slow rhythms.’
      • ‘But signs of it exist and it would be foolish to close your eyes to that.’
      • ‘Once you close your eyes to what the other half is saying, you're half blind.’
      • ‘We will close our eyes to what has happened in the past, because we will make peace and togetherness a pattern of our lives,’ he said.’
      • ‘Then I could so easily close my eyes to all that is happening around me and my family, roll over and fall into a deep sound sleep.’
      • ‘If that does not come to be and we stay at Bootham Crescent then great but I have to close my eyes to that.’
    eyes front
    • A military command to turn the head to the front.

      ‘“Eyes front!” he screamed at the men before him’
      • ‘‘They come marching by and one kid looks at me, at eyes right, pouring rain, and he looked at me dead in the eye and he winked at me,’ Matthews said.’
      • ‘Come along children, eyes front, quick march.’
      • ‘Col. Montee ran down his wish list, while the Lieutenant opted out of politeness to look at the floor, then the ceiling, and finally eyes front on the Colonel.’
      • ‘The officer gave them eyes right, which meant I had to hold a salute.’
      • ‘Air Commodore Graham Bentley receives an eyes right during the march off at the Surveillance and Control Training Unit's fifth anniversary parade at RAAF Base Williamtown.’
    eyes left
    • A military command to turn the head to the left.

      • ‘they still march in perfect step, and at the command “eyes left,” snapped towards the podium for the salute’
    eyes right
    • A military command to turn the head to the right.

      • ‘as the officers approached the monarch the order of “eyes right” was shouted out’
    for your eyes only
    • Intended to be seen by a particular person or group of people only; confidential.

      • ‘a secret coded message for your eyes only’
    give someone the eye
    • Look at someone in a way that clearly indicates one's sexual interest in them.

      • ‘this blonde was giving me the eye’
      • ‘Anyway, we were sitting there and I could see this young girl giving me the eye.’
      • ‘Through his mirrored sunglasses Michel could see all the girls giving him the eye.’
      • ‘Even if they're not checking you out and drooling for you, what harm does it do to feel confident and think they're giving you the eye?’
      • ‘Then giving Miles the eye, she added, in a voice that purred - ‘I don't know how I will ever be able to repay you.‘’
      • ‘That moment, Jared walked by, giving Tina the eye.’
      • ‘And I've noticed Nelson's been giving me the eye, if you know what I mean.’
      • ‘Back upstairs, all those chicks were giving me the eye now, too.’
      • ‘I just met this guy who seems to be really nice, and seems to be giving me the eye.’
      • ‘I consoled him and over his shoulder I saw the girl giving me the eye.’
      • ‘And if he wasn't doing that, he was giving her the eye whenever possible.’
    half an eye
    • Used in reference to a slight degree of perception or attention.

      ‘he kept half an eye on the house as he worked’
      • ‘By then, I'd also discovered that, in the process of trying to restore the default settings on my digital camera while keeping half an eye on my oldest daughter, I instead erased the memory card, and all photos of the pumpkin patch.’
      • ‘I spent most of the afternoon sitting on the grass, with half an eye on the big screen, and in between reading and chatting to people around me.’
      • ‘I had only half an eye on what was happening, however.’
      • ‘So I'm still keeping half an eye out for nice apartments downtown.’
      • ‘He is undoubtedly his own person and he vigorously pursues his own distinctive campaigns with flair and more than half an eye for the media coverage.’
      • ‘So, once you've chosen your shrubs with half an eye on the living room, and spent a week or two's rent on bulbs, what next?’
      • ‘He looks at them with half an eye, while flicking between the six or seven collapsed documents on his computer screen.’
      • ‘Greece, like Spain, has to have half an eye on the weather when organising its school year.’
      • ‘Your man Henry had more than half an eye on his future employment when he sat down with the selectors.’
      • ‘Anyone who keeps even a half an eye on the supercomputing scene is probably well puzzled by the idea that even more federal handouts need to go the likes of Cray and IBM.’
    have an eye for
    • Be able to recognize, appreciate, and make good judgments about.

      ‘applicants should have an eye for detail’
      • ‘The ideal candidate will have an eye for detail, be able to work independently and as part of a team and most importantly - have a passion for games!’
      • ‘Music and film are so linked to the fashion world, and you have to have an eye for what's happening next.’
      • ‘But they have an eye for what is hot and what is not.’
      • ‘O'Malley's is a grand watering-hole and the management have an eye for what will keep their pub popular.’
      • ‘With that instruction and 18 years of experience, Curran said she now has an eye for what will work.’
      • ‘Towers is a former pitcher and has an eye for what goes into a delivery.’
      • ‘Many others certainly don't see it that way and are adamant that the late politician was largely to blame for having an eye for the vision but scant regard for the detail.’
      • ‘Each day, the chef selects several different local species, having an eye for those that are less well known.’
      • ‘Sandy didn't have an eye for a player, that's the way it worked out.’
      • ‘‘People think a low-cost airline is for poor people, but it isn't; it's for people who have an eye for competitive prices,’ he says.’
    have an eye to
    • 1Have (or having) as one's objective.

      ‘with an eye to transatlantic business, he made a deal in New York’
      • ‘Some speculate that the US would go along with such a plan, with an eye to securing good deals for US oil companies in the aftermath and as a way of blocking other groups' ambitions.’
      • ‘Even more significantly, the president has shown a clear will and intent to deal with some big issues with an eye to the long term, rather than just whatever will get him the easiest path through the next news cycle.’
      • ‘Yet another thing of value was that the journal helped in dealing with as important a task as training students with an eye to prospects of progress in military affairs.’
      • ‘The database company continues a multiyear, multibillion-dollar acquisition binge with an eye to dominating the enterprise application landscape.’
      • ‘With an eye to commercial avenues this course adopts a broad definition of illustration and provides a dynamic environment for the development of visual articulation, rooted in a multifaceted curriculum.’
      1. 1.1Consider (or be considering) prudently; look (or be looking) ahead to.
        ‘the charity must have an eye to the future’
        • ‘You must plant with an eye to how the flowers will look when they bloom.’
        • ‘It must draft its proposals with an eye to what will play in Parliament, as well as in the Council.’
        • ‘Businesses with an eye to the future must recognise the needs and the purchasing power of disabled and elderly customers.’
        • ‘This imperative must have an eye to the long term as well as the intermediate requirements of a wounded nation.’
        • ‘But I would caution that any Anglican province that comes into being on these shores must do so with an eye to the larger mission of God.’
        • ‘Worker compensation insurance must be reviewed, with an eye to reducing risk of injury or harm while on the job.’
        • ‘He feels that for retirement education to be relevant it must address current issues with an eye to future changes.’
        • ‘An investigation must follow, with an eye to eventual trials of those responsible.’
        • ‘I must also have an eye to the levels of compensation awarded in personal injury claims.’
        • ‘However, with an eye to the Protocol, the context must next be considered.’
    have eyes for
    • Be interested in or attracted to.

      ‘they only have eyes for each other’
      • ‘Sure, you'll probably run into that person you have eyes for outside their house, but you have no reason to be there, you sociopath.’
      • ‘Antony, with his dirty blonde hair, green eyes and his fiery temper could have had any girl he wanted, but he had eyes for only one, his on-off girlfriend Daisy.’
      • ‘I admit he's attractive, BUT I only have eyes for Zack.’
      • ‘The woman replies, ‘That will be okay because I will be the most beautiful woman and he will only have eyes for me.’’
      • ‘But when I am out and about with my partner, I only have eyes for him.’
      • ‘Is it fair for the logo to get bashed just because some people don't understand and only have eyes for the price?’
      • ‘In fact, I think she takes it really hard that I don't only have eyes for her.’
      • ‘Their brother, Bruno, is the complete opposite, so they complain I only have eyes for him.’
      • ‘Lula definitely has eyes for reform of the UN Security Council.’
      • ‘But the world, it seems, has eyes for only one Australian swim star.’
    have eyes in the back of one's head
    • Know what is going on around one even when one cannot see it.

      ‘you need to have eyes in the back of your head to cope with a two-year-old’
      • ‘He didn't have that quality of having eyes in the back of his head.’
      • ‘You have to have eyes in the back of your head to make sure they are OK.’
      • ‘‘These two cars are a bit of a challenge… you need to have eyes in the back of your head when you stop at a station’.’
      • ‘Your children actually do believe you when you tell them you have eyes in the back of your head.’
      • ‘Referees will always be under pressure and we all accept that is part and parcel of the job, but people have to remember we are fallible and that we don't have eyes in the back of our head.’
      • ‘And how can a local referee, without neutral assistants, probably impartial because of club affiliation, act correctly, and be expected to have eyes in the back of his head?’
      • ‘I suppose it never hurts to have eyes in the back of your head.’
      • ‘The bottom line is that in a confrontation with an automobile a cyclist will always loose, and you do not have eyes in the back of your head.’
      • ‘You need to have eyes in the back of your head and always be one step ahead - think about the next skill she'll learn and plan ahead.’
      • ‘Like a parent who claims to have eyes in the back of their head, Shannon whipped around, aware of being watched.’
    have one's eye on
    • 1Hope or plan to acquire.

      • ‘I had my eye on a simple slip dress’
      1. 1.1Keep under careful observation.
        • ‘the agency is supposed to have its eyes on the waterways’
        look at, see, observe, view, gaze at, gaze upon, stare at, scan, regard, contemplate, survey, inspect, examine, scrutinize, study, consider, glance at, take a glance at
        View synonyms
    hit someone in the eye
    • Be very obvious or impressive.

      • ‘he wouldn't notice talent if it hit him right between the eyes’
    keep an eye on
    • Keep under careful observation.

      • ‘dealers are keeping an eye on the currency markets’
    keep an eye out
    • Look out for something with particular attention.

      ‘ keep an eye out for his car’
      • ‘Satoshi and Makoto trudged along, keeping an eye out for trouble and watching the shadows dance on the water.’
      • ‘Oh, Lydia, would you mind keeping an eye out for that damned butler?’
      • ‘We should keep that question in mind, and keep an eye open for anything later in the dialogue that might shed light on it.’
      • ‘The Neighbourhood Watch gets residents involved in keeping an eye out for suspicious behaviour and alerting police to possible law-breaking.’
      • ‘Instead, we explored the bustling boardwalks of the restored historic dockland, watching boats come and go and keeping an eye out for fur seals.’
      • ‘My parents kept an eye out for places I could play.’
      • ‘Conservation officer Rod Gow kept an eye out for the bear from close to the Three Sisters Parkway while Naylor parked near an open excavation site where the bear was last spotted.’
      • ‘‘We contacted our agents at the M1 depot in Sandiacre and they kept an eye out for the bears during their routine patrols,’ he said.’
      • ‘They wanted to do a record with us and they kept an eye out for us.’
      • ‘The couple say police have been very helpful and their neighbours have kept an eye out for the culprits but no-one has been caught.’
    keep one's eyes open
    • Be on the alert; watch carefully or vigilantly for something.

      ‘visitors should keep their eyes peeled for lions’
      • ‘She said: ‘The local community have supported us so well and now we want them to keep their eyes open and to be vigilant.’’
      • ‘I'll try to keep my eyes open and watch for them for you, but I don't think they'll come.’
      • ‘But you've just got to keep your eyes open and watch out for the other cars.’
      • ‘Elea kept her eyes peeled, staying alert for possible guard movement or an alarm.’
      • ‘Young Marco is instructed by his father to keep his eyes open and be attentive to all that is around him as he walks along Mulberry Street and to report back to him.’
      • ‘They kept their eyes open and watched intently for any signs of the rabbit.’
      • ‘You will have to remain vigilant and keep your eyes peeled.’
      • ‘Students and parents can be alerted to keep their eyes open for printers.’
      • ‘I knew I couldn't sleep, but I still had to keep my eyes open to watch for skirmishers, or raiders sneaking up on us in the night.’
      • ‘This time, she decided to keep her eyes open, and she watched, as the green flames seemed to rise from the floor and surround her.’
    make eyes at someone
    • Look at someone in a way that indicates one's sexual interest.

      ‘Doyle was making eyes at the girl, who was extremely pretty’
      • ‘Even from across the bar, it is clear that she is making eyes at you.’
      • ‘People are most amused by the girls who constantly flirt with viewers in the street in front of their windows by making eyes at them or dancing lasciviously.’
      • ‘In all fairness, the crowd wasn't making eyes at me either.’
      • ‘Harry said ‘Remember how you told me that Rita was always making eyes at me?’’
      • ‘I get out of the car and am standing around, then I notice someone standing against a wall making eyes at me.’
      • ‘Instead of stepping around him I made eyes at him and we started kissing.’
      • ‘And to make matters worse, that girl there keeps making eyes at me.’
      • ‘I would hate having to sit at a bar beside young girls making eyes at me.’
      • ‘Regardless, he still seems to be flattered, and keeps making eyes at me throughout the flight.’
      • ‘At break time when I walked into the common room Janette made eyes at me and pretended to swoon.’
    my eye
    British informal, dated
    • Used especially in spoken English to indicate surprise or disbelief.

      • ‘Easy, my eye! You had to understand his thought process, which was ahead of everybody else’


      Said to be originally nautical slang.

    one's eyes are bigger than one's stomach
    • Used to suggest that one has asked for or taken more food than one can actually eat.

    open someone's eyes
    • Enlighten someone about certain realities; cause someone to realize or discover something.

      ‘the letter finally opened my eyes to the truth’
      • ‘The culture they discover will open their eyes to new things and allow them to appreciate the British way of life.’
      • ‘I think that the Japanese people need to open their eyes and realize that they do not live in this world alone.’
      • ‘If you can only open your eyes, you will realize that I am addressing you not them.’
      • ‘He had intended to try his hand at a little matchmaking, to try and get them to open their eyes and realize that they were perfect for each other.’
      • ‘When he stops shooting they open their eyes and realize that the bullets didn't make it through.’
      • ‘Tragically, we often fail to open our eyes and realize this country of ours is teaming with unappreciated natural beauty and diversity.’
      • ‘The obtuse authoritarian administration has finally opened its eyes and realized that it must do something to address long-standing public rancor.’
      • ‘As they open their eyes new leaders realize many of the gurus, experts, coaches, academics, and authorities, they listen to are charlatans who do not live what they talk and write about.’
      • ‘The least we can do is to realize the nature of that machine and open our eyes.’
      • ‘Someone has to open our eyes and ears and help us to discover what lies beyond our own perception.’
    see eye to eye
    • Have similar views or attitudes to something; be in full agreement.

      ‘Mr. Trumble and I do not always see eye to eye’
      • ‘Developers and the government may not always see eye to eye but they agree on the need to provide affordable housing for key workers.’
      • ‘We're going through the motions right now of just getting agreements to try to see eye to eye on these very essential practical arrangements.’
      • ‘Even though Nick and John did not always see eye to eye, I know that they respected one other as politicians who were aware of their own weaknesses and strengths.’
      • ‘We don't always quite see eye to eye on things and I've been so unutterably miserable this week that it's been making him unhappy to see me so unhappy.’
      • ‘Still, Europe does not always see eye to eye with the Americans.’
      • ‘This is how countries stay allies even when they don't always see eye to eye.’
      • ‘They complement each other, even if they don't always see eye to eye.’
      • ‘It's an equation which means politicians and economists won't always see eye to eye.’
      • ‘Gary didn't always see eye to eye with his father, and this is where the honesty shows through.’
      • ‘He and I have had some great discussions over time even when we don't agree or see eye to eye on a subject.’
    set eyes on
    • See.

      • ‘I'd never clapped eyes on the guy before’
    the eye of the storm
    • 1The calm region at the center of a storm.

      ‘This was the calm of the storm, the eye of the storm.’
      • ‘Finally, she spun dizzily into the eye of the storm where it was calm.’
      • ‘And then, just as the town became as calm as the eye of the storm, a piercing scream violated the air.’
      • ‘But beneath the prosaic cut and thrust of conventional government, there is a deep unease that the present calm prevailing in Northern politics is merely the eye of the storm.’
      • ‘Gentlemen, this is merely a lull in the storm, the eye of the hurricane, if you will.’
      • ‘One thing is assured, whatever the conditions, that sassy host will be the cool eye of the storm.’
      • ‘But now I'm just a skeletal reminder that we might only be in the eye of the hurricane.’
      • ‘The throbbing in my head subsided and things seemed to clear for a bit; the eye of the hurricane.’
      • ‘This idea, that we are the calm, unchanging eye of the hurricane around which the social order rotates, allows me to make predictions about how shifts in the storm will change life.’
      1. 1.1The most intense part of a tumultuous situation.
        ‘he was in the eye of the storm of abstract art’
        • ‘But Pakistan, for some reason, has come in the eye of the storm, as it were, since Afghanistan.’
        • ‘I always thought of him and my baby brother Lawrence as getting off easy, not having to live in the eye of the storm.’
        • ‘Perhaps we should pay attention to those pinioned in the eye of the storm.’
        • ‘Well, Lou, the man in the eye of the storm, Golan Cipel, thought he could slip away.’
        • ‘‘It's unimaginable for me but it must be the most difficult bereavement that anybody has ever had; to be in the eye of the storm in such appalling circumstances,’ he said.’
        • ‘Your world is also undergoing a process of rapid change and you will find yourself in the eye of the storm, overseeing differences of approach which embrace the age-old yet still potent argument of high art versus populism.’
        • ‘Fund directors, too, are in the eye of the storm.’
        • ‘Mayo will face tougher tests in a very competitive league campaign but will be happy to have grabbed two points in the eye of the hurricane.’
        • ‘For the week prior to the fight, Ruiz was in the eye of the hurricane.’
        • ‘The typical professional college-educated mother lives in the eye of the hurricane.’
    the eye of the wind
    • The direction from which the wind is blowing.

      ‘he swung the boat into the eye of the wind’
      • ‘a heading of up to 75° from the wind's eye’
      • ‘Now pull yourself and the mast dramatically - say, 30 degrees - into the eye of the wind, swinging the sail up and over your head, and grabbing the boom just near sailing position with your hands shoulder-width apart.’
      • ‘The conversion into the eye of the wind from wide out was converted by Bernard Robinson.’
      • ‘Tacking means that you turn the boat into the wind, or the bow through the eye of the wind.’
      • ‘It will be a TACK if you turn the bow of the boat through the eye of the wind, and it will be a JIBE if you turn the stern through the eye of the wind.’
    up to the eyes
    • 1mainly British informal Extremely busy.

      • ‘I'm up to my eyes this morning’
      1. 1.1Used to emphasize the extreme degree of an unpleasant situation.
        • ‘the council is up to its eyes in debt’
    what the eye doesn't see, the heart doesn't grieve over
    • If you're unaware of an unpleasant fact or situation you can't be troubled by it.

    with one eye on
    • Giving some but not all one's attention to.

      ‘I sat with one eye on the clock, waiting for my turn’
      • ‘Football pundits who report with one eye on who they are likely to upset are soon identified and equally quickly dismissed by our suspicious fans.’
      • ‘Bell makes provocative points about the way in which governments now fight wars with one eye on how the action will play in front of the cameras.’
      • ‘Judges always interpret the law with one eye on what they think the people want or need.’
      • ‘Now I am sitting in an armchair, talking to you, with one eye on the TV.’
      • ‘But publishing is no longer a profession conducted over claret in oak panelled rooms and today's agents and editors are entrepreneurial types with one eye on the keyboard and another on the mass markets.’
      • ‘Significantly, perhaps with one eye on the next round of consolidation, he said a gap would open up between ‘those who make the top 10 and those who don't’.’
      • ‘The way she said it, unprompted, with one eye on the photo lab phone, we imagine she's been waiting, patiently, very patiently, for that day to come.’
      • ‘Some folk tell me I should be more demanding from the board, but I manage with one eye on the balance sheet.’
      • ‘Hang on, aren't you the one who said that Crean's policies were devised with one eye on the polls and another on media impact?’
      • ‘But Goran isn't the only one with one eye on the football.’
    with one's eyes open
    • Fully aware of the possible difficulties or consequences.

      ‘I went into this job with my eyes open’
      • ‘I would go into the relationship with my eyes open at the very least.’
      • ‘I walked into this conversation with my eyes open.’
    with one's eyes shut
    • 1Without having to make much effort; easily.

      ‘I could do it with my eyes shut’
      • ‘I could easily write up her treatment with my eyes closed.’
      • ‘I had just laid waste to two guys who could easily over power me, with my eyes shut, and laying on the ground.’
      • ‘I could run this city with my eyes closed; it really can't be that difficult.’
      • ‘It emits a beeping sound, and you can find it with your eyes closed.’
      • ‘All the better if you can do it with your eyes closed.’
      • ‘True, it's hard to stomach the idea of being a beginner at tennis when you can already score a soccer goal with your eyes closed.’
    • 2Without considering the possible difficulties or consequences.

      ‘she didn't go to Hollywood with her eyes closed’
      • ‘‘I don't think you ever come back from that kind of experience the same, unless you go in with your eyes shut,’ he says.’
      • ‘Maybe in a different time, in a different place, maybe if only you had approached with your eyes closed, or they with theirs, it would all have turned out more beautifully.’
      • ‘Well a little research would have been helpful, are you normally prone to jumping in to things with your eyes closed?’
      • ‘And if you think The Times plays it down the middle on any of them, you've been reading the paper with your eyes closed.’


Old English ēage, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch oog and German Auge.