Language: Old English
Origin: eage


1 noun
eye1 S1 W1

for seeing with

HBH [countable] one of the two parts of the body that you use to see with:
He's got brown eyes and a cheerful smile.
There were tears in her eyes as she listened to the story.
Ow! I've got something in my eye!
Jessica's eyes sparkled with excitement.
close/shut your eyes
He yawned, closed his eyes again, and turned over.
Emily opened her eyes.
drop/lower your eyes (=to look down)
have/keep etc your eyes glued to something (=to be watching something with all your attention)
Winifred sat with her eyes glued to the television screen.
Clark's eyes narrowed as he saw the man approaching.
Louise's eyes widened.
All eyes were immediately turned on (=everyone looked at) Henry.
I've got an eye test (=a test to check how well I can see) tomorrow.

way of seeing/understanding

[countable usually singular] a particular way of seeing, judging, or understanding something:
Go through your shopping list with a critical eye for foods with a high fat content.
with the eye of somebody
The magazine combines the accuracy of the scientist with the eye of the artist.
to somebody's eye(s)
The picture quality, to my eye, is excellent.
through the eyes of somebody (=from the point of view of a particular person)
The story is told through the eyes of a refugee child.
in the eyes of somebody (=according to a particular person or group)
Carl could do no wrong in the eyes of his parents.

keep an eye on something/somebody

to look after someone or something and make sure that they are safe:
Mary will keep an eye on the kids this afternoon.
We keep a watchful eye on our elderly neighbors.

have/keep your eye on somebody

to carefully watch everything that someone does, especially because you do not trust them:
We want Taylor in jail where we can keep an eye on him.

eye contact

when you look directly at someone at the same time as they are looking at you:
People who are lying tend to avoid eye contact.
In a formal interview, try to maintain good eye contact with the interviewers.

keep/have one eye/half an eye on somebody/something

to be watching someone or something at the same time that you are doing something else:
Louise was stirring the soup with half an eye on the baby.

have your eye on something

to want something that you think might become available:
He has his eye on the bigger apartment next door.

the naked eye

if you can see something with the naked eye, you can see it without using any artificial help such as a telescope or microscope
with the naked eye
It's just about possible to see the planet with the naked eye on a clear night.
visible/invisible to the naked eye
Dust mites are tiny creatures, invisible to the naked eye.

before your very eyes

also (right) in front of your eyes especially spoken if something happens before your very eyes, it happens where you can clearly see it:
The murder had apparently taken place before our very eyes.

can't take your eyes off somebody/something

to be unable to stop looking at someone or something, especially because they are extremely interesting or attractive:
She looked stunning. I couldn't take my eyes off her all evening.

under the (watchful/stern etc) eye of somebody

while being watched by someone who is making sure that you behave properly or do something right:
We went to dances, but only under the watchful eye of our father.

run/cast your eye over something

to look at something quickly:
She cast her eye over the front page of the paper.

set/lay/clap eyes on somebody/something

spoken to see something or meet someone, especially for the first time:
I loved that house from the moment I clapped eyes on it.

keep an eye open/out (for something)

to watch carefully so that you will notice when someone or something appears:
Keep an eye out for rabbits in the field.

with an eye to (doing) something

if you do something with an eye to doing something else, you do it in order to make the second thing more likely to happen:
Most novels are published with an eye to commercial success.

close/shut your eyes to something

to ignore something or pretend that you do not know it is happening:
Most governments know that we're heading for an environmental catastrophe but they shut their eyes to it.

have a (good) eye for something

to be good at noticing a particular type of thing, especially something attractive, valuable, of good quality etc:
Ernest has an eye for detail.
She's definitely got a good eye for a bargain.

keep your eyes peeled/skinned

spoken to watch carefully and continuously for something
keep your eyes peeled/skinned for
She stumbled along, keeping her eyes peeled for a phone box.

with your eyes open

knowing fully what the problems, difficulties, results etc of a situation might be:
I've no-one to blame but myself - I went into this deal with my eyes open.

can do something with your eyes shut/closed

to be able to do something very easily:
Believe me, you could run that place with your eyes closed.

make eyes at somebody/give somebody the eye

informal to look at someone in a way that shows you think they are sexually attractive:
Don't look now, but that guy over there is really giving you the eye.

an eye for/on/to the main chance

if you have an eye for the main chance, you will take advantage of any possible opportunity to get what you want - used to show disapproval

one in the eye for somebody

British English spoken something that will annoy someone or give them a disadvantage - used especially when you think this is a good thing:
This latest judgement will definitely be one in the eye for the fast food corporations.

an eye for an eye

the idea that if someone does something wrong, you should punish them by doing the same thing to them:
An eye for an eye is no way to run a civilised justice system.

for somebody's eyes only

used to say that something is secret and must only be seen by one particular person or group:
The information is for police eyes only.

have eyes in the back of your head

to know what is happening all around you, even when this seems impossible:
We'll have to be really careful - old Jonesey has eyes in the back of his head.

get/keep your eye in

British English informalDS to practise or to continue practising an activity so that you become good at it

have eyes like a hawk

to notice every small detail or everything that is happening, and therefore be very difficult to deceive:
We never got away with anything in Mrs. Podell's class - she had eyes like a hawk.

have eyes popping (out of your head)

British English especially spoken to be very surprised, shocked, or excited by something you see

be up to your eyes in something

British English informal to be very busy doing something:
He's up to his eyes in paperwork.

have eyes bigger than your belly

DF spoken used to say that you have taken more food than you are able to eat

only have eyes for somebody

if someone only has eyes for someone, they love and are interested in that person only

my eye!

old-fashioned spoken used to say that you do not believe something

all eyes are on/watching/fixed on etc

a) used to say that everyone is looking at someone or something:
All eyes were on the speaker, and nobody noticed me slip into the hall.
b) used to say that a lot of people are paying attention to a particular person or situation:
For the time being, all eyes are on the White House.

in a pig's eye!

American English spoken used to show that you do not believe what someone is saying


[singular] the eye of the camera is the way that you appear in photographs:
Fashion models are completely comfortable with the eye of the camera.


DLH [countable] the hole in a needle that you put the thread through

for fastening clothes

[countable] a small circle or U-shaped piece of metal used together with a hook for fastening clothes


DN [singular] the calm centre of a storm such as a hurricane


[countable] a dark spot on a potato that a new plant can grow from
bird's-eye view, black eye, Catseye, private eye, red eye

; ➔ the apple of somebody's eye

at apple (2)

; ➔ not bat an eye

at bat2 (2)

; ➔ turn a blind eye (to something)

at blind1 (3)

; ➔ see something out of the corner of your eye

at corner1 (8)

; ➔ the evil eye

at evil1 (5)

; ➔ give somebody the glad eye

at glad (6)

; ➔ look somebody in the eye/face

at look1 (7)

; ➔ in your mind's eye

at mind1 (40)

; ➔ here's mud in your eye

at mud

; ➔ open somebody's eyes (to)

at open2 (17)

; ➔ in the public eye

at public1 (4)

; ➔ make sheep's eyes at

at sheep (4)

; ➔ a sight for sore eyes

at sight1 (14)

; ➔ in the twinkling of an eye

at twinkling

; ➔ keep a weather eye on

at weather1 (5)

; ➔ pull the wool over somebody's eyes

at wool (4)

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