Definition of eye in English:

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Pronunciation: /ī/


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: my cat is blind in one eye closing her eyes, she tried to relax
More example sentences
  • 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
informal peeper, baby blues
literary or humorous orb
1.1The corresponding visual or light-detecting organ of many invertebrate animals.
Example sentences
  • 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.
1.2The region of the face surrounding the eyes: her eyes were swollen with crying
More example sentences
  • 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.
1.3A person’s eye as characterized by the color of the iris: he had piercing blue eyes
More example sentences
  • He runs a hand through his thick, dark-blonde hair and stares, unsmiling, with piercing blue eyes.
  • He was wearing a pair of light jeans and a blue polo shirt that matched the colour of his eyes.
  • You will write about how I duck my head, and you can't quite make out the colour of my eyes.
1.4Used 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
More example sentences
  • 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.
eyesight, vision, sight, powers of observation, perception, visual perception
watch, observance, gaze, stare, regard;
observation, surveillance, vigilance, contemplation, scrutiny
1.5Used 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
More example sentences
  • 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.
opinion, thinking, way of thinking, mind, view, viewpoint, point of view, attitude, standpoint, perspective, belief, judgment, assessment, analysis, estimation

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.

2A thing resembling an eye in appearance, shape, or relative position, in particular.
Example sentences
  • 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.
2.1The small hole in a needle through which the thread is passed.
Example sentences
  • 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.
hole, opening, aperture, eyelet, slit, slot
2.2A small metal loop into which a hook is fitted as a fastener on a garment. See also hook and eye.
Example sentences
  • 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 Nautical A loop at the end of a rope, especially one at the top end of a shroud or stay.
Example sentences
  • 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.
2.4A rounded eyelike marking on an animal, such as those on the tail of a peacock; an eyespot.
Example sentences
  • 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.
2.5A round, dark spot on a potato from which a new shoot can grow.
Example sentences
  • 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.
2.6US A center cut of meat: eye of round
More example sentences
  • 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.
2.7The center of a flower, especially when distinctively colored.
Example sentences
  • 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.
2.8The calm region at the center of a storm or hurricane. See also the eye of the storm below.
Example sentences
  • 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.
center, middle, heart, core, hub, thick
2.9 (eyes) Nautical The extreme forward part of a ship: it was hanging in the eyes of the ship
More example sentences
  • 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.

verb (eyes, eyeing or eying, eyed)

[with object]
Look at or watch closely or with interest: Rose eyed him warily
More example sentences
  • 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.
look at, observe, view, gaze at, stare at, regard, contemplate, survey, scrutinize, consider, glance at;
watch, keep an eye on, keep under observation;
ogle, leer at, make eyes at
informal have/take a gander at, check out, size up, eyeball
literary behold



all eyes

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
More example sentences
  • 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.

be all eyes

Be watching eagerly and attentively.
Example sentences
  • 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.’

before (or under) one's (very) 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
More example sentences
  • 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.

close (or shut) 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
More example sentences
  • 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.

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.
With biblical allusion to Exod. 21: 24
Example sentences
  • 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.

the eye of the storm

The calm region at the center of a storm.
Example sentences
  • 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.
6.1The most intense part of a tumultuous situation: he was in the eye of the storm of abstract art
More example sentences
  • 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.

the eye of the wind

(also the wind's eye) The direction from which the wind is blowing.
Example sentences
  • 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.

eyes front (or left or right)

A military command to turn the head in the particular direction stated.
Example sentences
  • ‘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.

a ——'s-eye view

A view from the position or standpoint of a ——: a satellite’s-eye view of global warming See also bird's-eye view, worm's-eye view.
More example sentences
  • 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.

give someone the eye

informal Look at someone in a way that clearly indicates one’s sexual interest in them: this blonde was giving me the eye
More example sentences
  • 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?

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
More example sentences
  • 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.

have an eye for

Be able to recognize, appreciate, and make good judgments about: applicants should have an eye for detail
More example sentences
  • 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.
appreciation, awareness, alertness, perception, consciousness, feeling, instinct, intuition, nose

have (or keep) an (or one's) eye on

Keep under careful observation: dealers are keeping an eye on the currency markets
More example sentences
  • Observers of politics also kept an eye on individuals who might emerge as candidates to be Prime Minister.
  • These observers keep an eye on all the activities and make sure that people stay safe.
  • Observers said investors should keep an eye on the operating profit excluding the charge.
(have one's eye on)13.1 Hope or plan to acquire: the county sheriff has his eye on retirement
More example sentences
  • With this in mind, Mr Brown will have his eye on making a big splash, hoping to follow up his speech with well-aimed and well-received tax incentives.
  • Beck had his eye on the site for years before acquiring it in 1999.
  • As for having my eye on ‘the main career chance’, I'm a freelancer, Jack.

have (or with) an eye to

Have (or having) as one’s objective: with an eye to transatlantic business, he made a deal in New York
More example sentences
  • 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.
14.1Consider (or be considering) prudently; look (or be looking) ahead to: the charity must have an eye to the future
More example sentences
  • 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.

have (or with) an eye to (or for or on) the main chance

Look or be looking for an opportunity to take advantage of a situation for personal gain, typically a financial one: a developer with an eye on the main chance
More example sentences
  • 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.

one's eyes are bigger than one's stomach

One has asked for or taken more food than one can actually eat.
Example sentences
  • Could you imagine the waitress as she comes over to take your order and you have eyes bigger than your stomach?
  • There's too much wastage. People have eyes bigger than their stomachs.

(only) have eyes for

Be (exclusively) interested in or attracted to: he has eyes for no one but you
More example sentences
  • 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.

have eyes in the back of one's head

Know what is going on around one even when one cannot see it.
Example sentences
  • 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’.

hit someone between the eyes (or in the eye)

informal Be very obvious or impressive: he wouldn’t notice talent if it hit him right between the eyes
More example sentences
  • ‘When you get to Geraldton there's nothing that hits you in the eye,’ he said.
  • The material wreckage just hits you in the eye before you even reach the city limits: pockmarked scattering of half-constructed, vacant high rise buildings.
  • It doesn't grow on you, it just hits you between the eyes on first listen and goes, ‘Yeah?’

keep an eye out (or open)

Look out for something with particular attention: keep an eye out for his car
More example sentences
  • 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.

keep one's eyes open (or peeled or British skinned)

Be on the alert; watch carefully or vigilantly for something: visitors should keep their eyes peeled for lions
More example sentences
  • 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.

lay (or set or clap) eyes on

informal See: Harry has not laid eyes on Alice for twenty years
More example sentences
  • It was the most amazing sight Meg had ever laid eyes on.
  • At this point in my lesson I had not set eyes on as much as a rotor, and did not fully comprehend where my instructor was coming from, but it wasn't long before the penny began to drop.
  • As they pulled out, families rushed to the border fence to see relatives they had not set eyes on since 1948.
see, spot, observe, regard, view, catch sight of, set eyes on
literary behold, espy, descry

make eyes at someone

Look at someone in a way that indicates one’s sexual interest.
Example sentences
  • 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.

my eye

informal, dated Used especially in spoken English to indicate surprise or disbelief.
Said to be originally nautical slang

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
More example sentences
  • 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.

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
More example sentences
  • 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.
agree, concur, be in agreement, be of the same mind/opinion, be in accord, think as one;
be on the same wavelength, get on/along

a twinkle (or gleam) 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
More example sentences
  • 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.’

what the eye doesn't see, the heart doesn't grieve over

proverb If you’re unaware of an unpleasant fact or situation, you can’t be troubled by it.

with one's eyes open

(or with open eyes)
Fully aware of the possible difficulties or consequences: I went into this job with my eyes open
More example sentences
  • 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 (or closed)

1Without having to make much effort; easily: I could do it with my eyes shut
More example sentences
  • 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.
2Without considering the possible difficulties or consequences: she didn’t go to Hollywood with her eyes closed
More example sentences
  • ‘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?

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
More example sentences
  • 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.



Pronunciation: /ˈīləs/
Example sentences
  • Blind, totally eyeless trilobites have given us another indication of the range of trilobite habits and habitats.
  • Here are the legless, armless, eyeless and toothless; the polio-crippled, the mine-maimed, the buboed and leprous, the self-mutilated and the plain mad.
  • Recent additions at Oceanworld, courtesy of the alert fishermen, include a snow white black sole, a white, eyeless monkfish and an unusual white skate.


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

  • An Old English word that has given rise to a huge number of phrases in English. The eyes are the window of the soul is a proverb that goes back at least to 1545, when it is found in the form ‘The eyes…are the windows of the mind, for both joy and anger…are seen through them’. The same idea was expressed by the Roman orator Cicero in the 1st century bc: ‘The face is a picture of the mind as the eyes are its interpreter.’ An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth refers to the law set out in the Old Testament book of Exodus: ‘Thou shalt give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, wound for wound.’ The eye of a needle is a tiny opening through which it would seem impossible to pass. The reference is to the Gospel of Matthew, where Jesus said, ‘It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.’

    A person who has an eye for the main chance is on the lookout for an opportunity to profit. The origins of this expression lie in the gambling game of hazard, in which the person about to throw the dice calls out a number between five and nine. This number is called the main or the main chance, and if someone rolls it they have won. If you would give your eye teeth for something you would do anything in order to have it. The eye teeth are the two pointed teeth in the upper jaw, so called because they are more or less immediately below the eyes, and are essential for tearing off chunks of food. They are more usually called canine teeth from the Latin for dog, referring to this animal's prominent examples. To give someone the hairy eyeball is to stare at them coldly or contemptuously. The image behind this American expression is of someone glaring with their eyes narrowed and partly closed: the hairy eyeball is the effect of seeing the eyeball through the eylashes. Keep your eyes peeled comes from the idea of ‘peeling’ the covering from your eyes to see as clearly as possible. It goes back to the 1850s in the USA, but now is particularly associated with Police 5, a long-running British TV show that appealed to the public for information to solve crimes. The catchphrase of the presenter, Shaw Taylor, at the end of each programme was ‘Keep 'em peeled!’

Words that rhyme with eye

ally, Altai, apply, assai, awry, ay, aye, Baha'i, belie, bi, Bligh, buy, by, bye, bye-bye, chi, Chiangmai, Ciskei, comply, cry, Cy, Dai, defy, deny, Di, die, do-or-die, dry, Dubai, dye, espy, fie, fly, forbye, fry, Frye, goodbye (US goodby), guy, hereby, hi, hie, high, I, imply, I-spy, July, kai, lie, lye, Mackay, misapply, my, nearby, nigh, Nye, outfly, passer-by, phi, pi, pie, ply, pry, psi, Qinghai, rai, rely, rocaille, rye, scry, serai, shanghai, shy, sigh, sky, Skye, sky-high, sly, spin-dry, spry, spy, sty, Sukhotai, supply, Tai, Thai, thereby, thigh, thy, tie, Transkei, try, tumble-dry, underlie, Versailles, Vi, vie, whereby, why, wry, Wye, xi, Xingtai, Yantai

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: eye

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