Definition of eye in English:

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Pronunciation: /ʌɪ/


1Each of a pair of globular organs of sight in the head of humans and vertebrate animals: 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
organ of sight, eyeball
informal peeper
literary orb
archaic or humorous optic
rare globe
1.1The visual or light-detecting organ of many invertebrate animals that corresponds to the eye of humans and vertebrate 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.
1.3Used to refer to someone’s power of vision and in descriptions of the direction of someone’s gaze: his sharp eyes had missed nothing
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, 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;
observation, surveillance, vigilance, view, notice, contemplation, examination, inspection, study, scrutiny
1.4Used to refer to someone’s opinion or attitude towards 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, stance, stand, standpoint, position, perspective, belief, contention, conviction, judgement, assessment, analysis, evaluation, gauging, rating, appraisal, estimation, estimate

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 centre. 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.
2.1A rounded eye-like 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.
2.2A round, dark spot on a potato from which a new shoot can grow: withered potatoes sprouting at the eyes
More 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.
2.3The centre of a flower, especially when distinctively coloured: delicate flowers of light blue colour, with white or yellow eyes
More 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.
2.4 (also eye of the storm or eye of the hurricane) The calm region at the centre of a storm or hurricane: the smaller the eye, the more intense the winds
More 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.
centre, middle, nucleus, heart, core, hub, pivot, kernel, bosom, interior, depths, thick
2.5 (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.
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
More 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, gap, slit, slot, crevice, chink, crack, perforation, interstice
3.1A small metal loop into which a hook is fitted as a fastener on a garment.
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.
3.2 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.
4South African The source of a spring or river.
Example sentences
  • Later that year, after an earthquake, a new spring eye burst open, bringing to the surface fossils and stone tools.
  • This is one of many river eyes in the area.

verb (eyes, eyeing or eying, eyed)

[with object]
1Look at 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, see, observe, view, gaze at, gaze upon, stare at, scan, regard, contemplate, survey, inspect, examine, scrutinize, study, consider, glance at, take a glance at;
watch, keep an eye on, keep under observation, keep watch on, keep under scrutiny, keep under surveillance, monitor, watch like a hawk, keep a weather eye on;
spy on
informal have/take a gander at, have a squint at, get a load of, give someone/something a once-over, check out, gawp at, size up, keep a beady eye on, keep tabs on, keep a tab on
British informal have/take a butcher's at, have/take a dekko at, have/take a shufti at, clock
North American informal eyeball
literary behold
rare twig, surveil
1.1 (eye someone up) informal Look at someone in a way that reveals a particular, especially sexual, interest: Margot saw the women eyeing up her boyfriend
More example sentences
  • So when this outgoing, funny, handsome man from the New York office joined our department briefly, I eyed him up with some interest.
  • That means they are eyeing you up for credit value before naming their price.
  • I was there one night with my friend Tracy, we were a bit of an icon in those days, and Dave and his mate were eyeing us up, but we both fancied his friend.



all eyes are on ——

Used to convey that a particular person or thing is currently the focus of public interest: over the next few weeks all eyes will be on the pound
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 in front of or under) one's (very) eyes

Right in front of one (used for emphasis): 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.

cannot take one's eyes off

Be unable to stop looking at someone or something because they are so interesting, attractive, etc. I’m telling you, I couldn’t take my eyes off him
More example sentences
  • Nestling comfortably in their little cardboard cellophane-wrapped homes, they're like an accident you can't take your eyes off.
  • Carlos has incredible charisma onstage; you can't take your eyes off him.
  • The best review I ever got read, "You can't take your eyes off the screen."

clap (or lay or set) eyes on

informal See: I’d never clapped eyes on the guy before
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, observe, notice, spot, sight, have sight of, spy, catch sight of, glimpse, catch/get a glimpse of, make out, discern, perceive, pick out, detect
literary behold, espy, descry
see, spot, observe, regard, notice, catch sight of, view, perceive, discern, spy
informal clap/set eyes on, clock
literary behold, espy, descry

close (or shut) one's eyes to

Refuse to acknowledge (something 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 retaliation in kind is the appropriate way to deal with an offence or crime: other people took his wife, he took the wives of others—it was an eye for an eye
With biblical allusion to Exod. 21: 24
More 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 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
More 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 direction stated: ‘Eyes front!’ he screamed at the men before him
More 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.

eyes out

NZ informal As fast or as hard as possible: the whole team went eyes out from the start If you’re going eyes out, watch out for those struggling to keep the pace
More example sentences
  • I had often watched the pair going eyes out across-country.
  • We were going "eyes out", all three shoulder to shoulder.
  • It was a case of going eyes out from start to finish and may the best horse win.

eyes out on stalks

Used to emphasize the extreme degree of someone’s eager curiosity: when I read about his arrest my eyes popped out on stalks
More example sentences
  • I never expected such a big man to move so quickly, and I must have looked a sight with my jaw on the ground and my eyes out on stalks.
  • I felt like my eyes were out on stalks.

a ——'s-eye view

A view from the position or standpoint of a ——: seeing a story from a child’s-eye view 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.

for your (or his, her, etc.) eyes only

Intended to be seen by a particular person or group of people only; confidential: a secret coded message for your eyes only
More example sentences
  • The other universities provide their doctoral examining criteria in the form of a pro forma for examiners' eyes only.
  • She wished she could write for her eyes only for the rest of her life.
  • He acts as if my original piece was for his eyes only.

get (or keep) one's eye in

British Become (or remain) able to make good judgements about a task or activity in which one is engaged: I’ve got my eye in now; I’m landing them just where I want them
More example sentences
  • Once he got his eye in, he rarely put a foot wrong and got his hands working well, the top hand always in control.
  • A batsman can never really get his eye in on such pitches, and there is always the chance of a mean delivery springing up suddenly.
  • It's nice to feel wanted by a club, it gets my eye in playing again and I intend to make the most of it.

give someone the eye

informal Look at someone with clear sexual interest: 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 judgements 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, discernment, discrimination, taste, judgement, recognition, consciousness, knowledge, understanding, comprehension, cognizance, feeling, sensitivity, instinct, intuition, nose

have (or keep) one's eye on

Keep under careful observation: I’ve got my eye on you—any nonsense and you’re for it!
More example sentences
  • And we know you keep your eye on that very carefully.
  • According to Rutherford, the team had its eye on young center Matthew Stajan in the second round.
  • Others saying that it felt good to be home, but they're keeping a very watchful eye on Rita.
(have one's eye on)18.1 Hope or plan to acquire: there was a vacant bishopric which the Dean had his eye on
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.
19.1Consider (or be considering) prudently: 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: 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.

have eyes bigger than one's stomach (or belly)

Have 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: you need to have eyes in the back of your head to cope with a two-year-old
More 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 in the eye (or between the eyes)

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 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.

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: keep your eyes peeled for a phonebox
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.

make eyes at someone

Look at someone with clear sexual interest: Doyle was making eyes at the girl, who was extremely pretty
More 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 (or all my eye and Betty Martin)

British informal, dated Used to indicate surprise or disbelief.
Said to be originally nautical slang

one in the eye for

A disappointment or setback for (someone or something): this success for Manchester is one in the eye for London
More example sentences
  • It is certainly one in the eye for the Yorkshire Cricket Academy that a 26-year-old League player should be preferred to either of two cricketers who have both come through Yorkshire's finishing school.
  • It's my parent's 43rd wedding anniversary today, which is one in the eye for those who said it wouldn't last.
  • I have a proposal that will be one in the eye for those Fat Cats.

open someone's eyes

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

Be in full agreement: the boss 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, be in sympathy, sympathize, be united, think as one;
be on the same wavelength, get on, get along, feel a rapport

a twinkle (or gleam) in someone's eye

Something that is as yet no more than an idea or dream: the scheme is only a gleam in the developer’s eye
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.’

up to the (or one's) eyes (in)

Extremely busy: I’m up to my eyes this morning
More example sentences
  • What we want is the people who aren't up to their eyes to step forward and take it on.
  • At least that's the ambitious aim of the team behind the biggest children's event in the South East, who on their own admission are ‘up to their eyes’ in finalising their preparations.
  • While they appreciate that he is up to his eyes, they know that he will still find time to help.
very busy, fully occupied;
overwhelmed, inundated, overloaded, overburdened, overworked, overtaxed, under pressure, hard-pressed, harassed, rushed/run off one's feet, with one's back to the wall
informal pushed, up against it, up to here
34.1Used to emphasize the extreme degree of an unpleasant situation: the council is up to its eyes in debt
More example sentences
  • There's no point in reminding you that right now you are probably up to your eyes in freshly calved cows, stubborn heifers, loud calves (with all their problems) and a farmyard with an ever increasing daily workload to contend with.
  • There is nothing worse than lying awake at night sick with worry because, despite doing your best to work hard, to raise your children and pay your bills, you are up to your eyes in final reminders that you cannot pay.
  • It may be the season to be jolly, but most of us are just up to our eyes in debt, run off our feet and completely partied out.

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: /ˈʌɪləs/
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

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Line breaks: eye

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