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eye, n.1

Forms:  1. Singular.

α. Old English æg- (in compounds), Old English æge, Old English eag- (in compounds), Old English eage, Old English eagh- (in compounds), Old English eahge (rare), Old English eg- (in compounds), Old English ege, Old English egh- (in compounds), Old English ego (Northumbrian), Old English egu (Northumbrian), Old English eug- (in compounds, rare), Old English heah- (in compounds, rare), Old English iege (rare), Old English–early Middle English eaga (rare), Old English–early Middle English eah- (in compounds), Old English–early Middle English eh- (in compounds), late Old English eægæ, late Old English eagæ, late Old English egæ, early Middle English eæȝe, early Middle English eaȝe, early Middle English ech- (in compounds), early Middle English echȝe, early Middle English eȝæ- (in compounds), early Middle English eȝhe, early Middle English hege, Middle English e (northern and north midlands), Middle English eegh, Middle English eeye, Middle English eȝe, Middle English egȝe, Middle English egh, Middle English eghe, Middle English egth, Middle English egthe, Middle English ehe, Middle English eige, Middle English eiȝe, Middle English eigh, Middle English eighe, Middle English eih, Middle English eihe, Middle English eyeghe, Middle English eyȝe, Middle English eygh, Middle English eyghe, Middle English eyh, Middle English eyhe, Middle English ȝe, Middle English ȝee, Middle English haye, Middle English he, Middle English hee (northern, north midlands, and East Anglian), Middle English heghe, Middle English heh- (in compounds), Middle English hei, Middle English heie, Middle English hey, Middle English heye- (in compounds), Middle English heyȝe, Middle English high, Middle English hye, Middle English hyee, Middle English hyȝe, Middle English hygh, Middle English ieae, Middle English iȝe, Middle English iȝee, Middle English igh, Middle English ighe, Middle English yȝe, Middle English yghe, Middle English yhe, Middle English (northern and north midlands) 1500s– (poetic) ee, Middle English (1600s poetic) eyen, Middle English–1500s ei, Middle English–1500s iee, Middle English–1500s iey, Middle English–1500s ihe, Middle English–1500s iye, Middle English–1500s ye, Middle English–1500s yee, Middle English–1500s yie, Middle English–1500s yye, Middle English–1600s eie, Middle English–1600s ie, Middle English–1700s ey, Middle English– eye, 1500s eaye, 1500s eey, 1500s i, 1500s yae, 1500s yei, 1500s yeie, 1500s yey, 1600s oÿ; English regional 1700s– ee, 1800s– e (northern), 1800s– e'e (Lancashire), 1800s– oye (Essex); Scottish pre-1700 eae, pre-1700 eee, pre-1700 ei, pre-1700 eij, pre-1700 ey, pre-1700 he, pre-1700 ie, pre-1700 pre-1700– eye, pre-1700 1700s– ee, pre-1700 1700s– eie, pre-1700 1800s e, 1700s– e'e; N.E.D. (1894) also records forms late Middle English eae, late Middle English hyghe; also Irish English 1700s iee.

β. Old English eagenes (genitive, rare).

γ. Middle English nee, Middle English neghe, Middle English nehe, Middle English nei, Middle English ny, Middle English–1600s nye, 1500s–1700s nie, 1600s neye; N.E.D. (1894) also records forms Middle English nie, late Middle English ney.

2. Plural.

α. Old English æagan (chiefly late), Old English agene (genitive, probably transmission error), Old English eaga (transmission error), Old English eagan, Old English eagean, Old English eagen (chiefly late), Old English eago (transmission error), Old English eagon, Old English eagun, Old English eahena (genitive, rare), Old English eaxan (probably transmission error), Old English egan, Old English ego (Northumbrian), Old English egu (Northumbrian), late Old English ægon, late Old English eægæn, late Old English eagæn, late Old English eagam, late Old English eahgan, late Old English egæn, late Old English–Middle English egen, early Middle English æȝen (south-west midlands), early Middle English eaȝæn, early Middle English eaȝan, early Middle English eaȝean, early Middle English eaȝen, early Middle English eȝan, early Middle English eȝean, early Middle English eiȝæn, Middle English eeȝen, Middle English een (chiefly northern and north midlands), Middle English eeyen, Middle English eeyn, Middle English eȝen, Middle English egȝen, Middle English eȝhe, Middle English eghen, Middle English eȝhen, Middle English eghien, Middle English eghn, Middle English eghun, Middle English eghyn, Middle English eȝin, Middle English egthen, Middle English egyn, Middle English ehin, Middle English ehtyn, Middle English eiȝe, Middle English eiȝen, Middle English eighen, Middle English eiȝyen, Middle English eihen, Middle English eithen, Middle English eiyn, Middle English en, Middle English enn, Middle English eon, Middle English exyn, Middle English eye, Middle English eyeyn, Middle English eyȝe, Middle English eyȝen, Middle English eyghen, Middle English eyȝin, Middle English eyȝyn, Middle English eyhe, Middle English eyhen, Middle English eyien, Middle English eyiȝen, Middle English eyin, Middle English eyon, Middle English eyyn, Middle English ȝeen, Middle English ȝeȝen, Middle English ȝen, Middle English ȝien, Middle English he, Middle English heen, Middle English heȝe, Middle English hegehen, Middle English heȝhen, Middle English heien, Middle English heyghen, Middle English heyȝyn, Middle English heyin, Middle English heyn, Middle English hiȝen, Middle English hyen, Middle English ieen, Middle English ieghen, Middle English iȝe, Middle English iȝen, Middle English ighen, Middle English jen, Middle English jyn, Middle English yeen, Middle English yeȝen, Middle English yeghen, Middle English yehen, Middle English yeyn, Middle English yȝe, Middle English yȝen, Middle English yghen, Middle English yhen, Middle English yon, Middle English yyn, Middle English (1600s poetic and archaic) eyn, Middle English–1500s ain, Middle English–1500s eien, Middle English–1500s ein, Middle English–1500s ien, Middle English–1500s iyen, Middle English–1500s yen, Middle English–1500s yien, Middle English– eyen (now archaic and poetic), 1500s eyn; English regional (chiefly northern and north midlands) 1700s– een, 1800s heen (Lancashire), 1800s uyn (Somerset), 1800s– eyen, 1800s– eyn; Scottish pre-1700 en, pre-1700 eyn, pre-1700 1700s–1800s ein, pre-1700 1700s– een, 1700s eeen, 1700s eien, 1700s– e'en, 1800s eyen; also Irish English 1800s ein (Wexford), 1800s ieen (Wexford), 1800s– een (northern and Wexford); N.E.D. (1894) also records a form early Middle English ehȝen.

β. Old English eagenum (dative, rare), Old English egna (Mercian, rare), late Old English eagene, late Old English eagne (dative), late Old English eagnum (dative), late Old English eahne, early Middle English eaȝnen (dative), early Middle English ehhne ( Ormulum), Middle English eeyne, Middle English eȝene, Middle English eȝenen, Middle English eghene, Middle English eghne, Middle English eȝhne, Middle English eghnes, Middle English eghyne, Middle English eȝne, Middle English ehene, Middle English ehne, Middle English ehnen, Middle English eiene, Middle English eiȝene, Middle English eighne, Middle English eiȝne, Middle English eiine, Middle English einen, Middle English ene, Middle English enghne (perhaps transmission error), Middle English enyn, Middle English eyeghen, Middle English eyȝene, Middle English eyghne, Middle English eyȝne, Middle English eyȝnen, Middle English eygnyn, Middle English eyhene, Middle English eyhne, Middle English eynen, Middle English eynes, Middle English eynez, Middle English eynin, Middle English eynon, Middle English eynyn, Middle English eynys, Middle English ȝene, Middle English hæȝene, Middle English heghne, Middle English heiene, Middle English hene, Middle English heyne, Middle English heynen, Middle English heynyn, Middle English hynon, Middle English iȝene, Middle English ine, Middle English inee, Middle English iyene, Middle English yene, Middle English ygne, Middle English ynee, Middle English yyne, Middle English (1800s Irish English (Wexford)) eene, Middle English–1500s eyene, Middle English–1500s yne, Middle English–1600s (1800s– archaic) eyne, 1500s–1600s eine, 1600s aine; English regional (northern and north midlands) 1800s– eyne; Scottish pre-1700 eene, pre-1700 eine, pre-1700 ewine, pre-1700 eyine, pre-1700 1800s ene, pre-1700 1800s eyne, 1900s– eens.

γ. Middle English eȝes, Middle English eiez, Middle English eiȝes, Middle English eyeȝ, Middle English eyese, Middle English eyȝes, Middle English eyys, Middle English hyes, Middle English yeȝ, Middle English yȝes, Middle English yis, Middle English yys, Middle English 1600s eys, Middle English–1500s ees, Middle English–1500s yes, Middle English–1600s eies, Middle English– eyes, late Middle English iis (in a late copy), 1500s ayes, 1500s eeys, 1500s ies, 1500s iyes, 1500s yeis, 1500s yies, 1500s 1700s yees; English regional 1700s yees, 1700s– ees (now northern and north midlands), 1800s aies (Devon), 1800s– e'es (Yorkshire); Scottish pre-1700 eais, pre-1700 eeis, pre-1700 eis, pre-1700 eiyes, pre-1700 eyeis, pre-1700 eyis, pre-1700 1700s– eyes, pre-1700 1800s ees, 1900s– ehs (Dundee), 1900s– ehz (Dundee).

δ. late Middle English nehene, late Middle English nene, late Middle English nyen, late Middle English nynon, 1500s–1600s nyes, 1600s neen (English regional (Yorkshire)), 1600s neyes, 1600s n'eyes, 1600s n'yes; N.E.D. (1894) also records a form late Middle English nyon.

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Frequency (in current use):  Show frequency band information
Origin: A word inherited from Germanic.
Etymology: Cognate with Old Frisian āge  , āch  , Old Dutch ouga   (Middle Dutch ōghe  , ōge  , Dutch oog  ), Old Saxon ōga   (Middle Low German ōge  ), Old High German ouga   (Middle High German ouge  , German Auge  ), Old Icelandic auga  , Swedish öga  , Old Danish øghæ   (Danish øje  ), Gothic augo   < a Germanic base apparently ultimately < the same Indo-European base as classical Latin oculus   eye (see oculus n.).
Further etymology.
Derivation from the same Indo-European base as classical Latin oculus   eye (see oculus n.) is widely accepted but not phonologically straightforward, since forms in the Germanic languages indicate derivation from a base with the diphthong au-  , and not the expected a-   seen in e.g. Old High German ac-siuni   appearances, and also (with regular development of ag-   to aw-   before stressed palatal vowels) in e.g. Old High German awi-zoraht   openly, Old English ēawan  , Old Frisian auwia  , āwia  , Gothic augjan   to show (see atew v.). Several explanations for this have been suggested, such as a hybrid form (aug-  ) arising from the existence of different stem types within the paradigm, or alteration as a result of association with the Germanic base of ear n.1   (compare Gothic auso   at that entry).
Form history.
In Old English usually a weak neuter (ēage  ). Although not shown by the spelling, the original velar consonant would have undergone palatalization in the nominative and accusative singular (before a front vowel) while remaining unchanged elsewhere (although subject to analogical levelling as indicated by inflected forms such as eagean).
In Middle English there was a divergent development. In some parts of the midlands and south, long close ē   in combination with a palatal gave a diphthong (/ei/); in others (probably the central and south-east midlands and central south) the vowel was raised to ī   before the palatal plus vowel, resulting in such forms as ie, iye, ye, and (monophthongized) i   (i.e. /iːə/, //), ultimately, after the Great Vowel Shift, giving the modern standard pronunciation (although the standard spelling eye   comes from varieties where the long ē   was not raised). By contrast, in the north midlands and north and in Older Scots, long close ē   maintained both its length and quality before the intervocalic palatal, and (after early loss of final -e  ) developed into a diphthong with long first element ( /eːi/) which was subsequently monophthongized; compare the form e   (i.e. //), the antecedent of the modern northern English and Scots form ee   ( /i(ː)/).
The forms at Forms 1γ.   and 2δ.   show metanalysis (see N n.).
The weak -n   plural is usual in Middle English, and survives into the developing early modern English standard (see Forms 2α. ); the form een   remains current in regional varieties (chiefly in Scots and northern English).
The forms at Forms 2β.   show the development of a double plural with a second inflectional ending added to the already inflected form. The additional ending is typically weak, although occasional examples with the strong -s   ending are found in later Middle English. Instances of such double plural forms are rare in Old English, but become more widespread in Middle English; compare also the Old English hybrid genitive singular form eagenes   at Forms 1β.   (showing a mixture of weak and strong endings), which occurs once in the interlinear gloss to the mid 11th-cent. Stowe Psalter. Later β.   plural forms such as aine, eine, eyne, etc. may alternatively show spellings of α.   plural forms (after final -e   ceased to be pronounced).
The -s   plural (now standard) is first attested in the late 14th cent. (see Forms 2γ. ).
Notes on specific senses.
Earlier currency of sense 1c   is implied by Old English glæsenēage   (adjective) having eyes the colour of glass, grey-eyed ( < glazen adj.   + Old English ēage   eyed < ēage  eye n.1   + -e  , suffix forming adjectives; compare Old Saxon glesinōgo  , Old High German glesīnougi  ).
With sense 10b(b)   in botany compare French œil   in the sense ‘part of a fruit opposite the stem’ (c1393 in Middle French).
In sense 10d   in geology after German Auge (1838 in Augengneiss  , or earlier: compare augen n.).
In sense 12a   (in biblical contexts) directly or ultimately rendering Hebrew ʿayin spring, source of a spring, frequently identified by European authors with Hebrew ʿayin eye (compare quot. 1583). In the eye of Jacob at sense 12a   ultimately after Hebrew ʿayin Yaʿaqoḇ (Deuteronomy 33:28), in uncertain sense, perhaps ‘the abode of Jacob’, or perhaps ‘Jacob's fountain’.
In sense 17a   in architecture after French œil (1547 in Middle French in oeuil de la Volute  ), Italian occhio (1536 in †ochio della Voluta  , or earlier), themselves after classical Latin oculus volutae (Vitruvius).
With sense 18a   in typography compare French œil size of printed characters (1690 in this sense).
 I. Senses relating to visual perception.
 1. The organ of sight.

 a. Either of the paired globular organs of sight in the head of humans and other vertebrates.The basic components of the vertebrate eye are a transparent cornea, an iris with a central (circular or slit-like) pupil, a lens for focusing, and a sensitive retina lining the back of the eye. Light entering the eye is focused by the lens to form an image on the cells of the retina, from which nervous impulses are conveyed to the brain.hand–eye: see the first element.

eOE   Laws of Ine (Corpus Cambr. 173) lix. 116   Oxan tægl bið scillinges weorð, cus bið fifa; oxan eage bið V pæninga weorð, cus bið scillinges weorþ.
OE   West Saxon Gospels: Matt. (Corpus Cambr.) v. 29   Gyf þin swyðre eage þe æswicie, ahola hit ut.
OE   Ælfric Old Eng. Hexateuch: Gen. (Claud.) Pref. 80   God gesceop us twa eagan & twa earan, twa nosðyrlu, twegen weleras, twa handa & twegen fet.
c1175   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 9393   Ȝiff þatt tin eȝhe iss all unn hal.
a1225  (?OE)    MS Lamb. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1868) 1st Ser. 23   Þet beoð þes monnes eȝan, and his fet, and his hondan.
c1330  (?c1300)    Speculum Guy (Auch.) (1898) l. 388   Þe sunne haþ brihtnesse muche..Hit greueþ euere mannes eiȝe..on hire to se For hire grete clerte.
a1400  (a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Fairf. 14) l. 3780   In slepe a ladder him þoȝt he seyghe fra þe firmament riȝt to his eyghe.
a1425  (?a1300)    Kyng Alisaunder (Linc. Inn) (1952) 1100   His eyȝnen [c1400 Laud eiȝen] out of his hed sterte.
1486   Bk. St. Albans sig. bjv   The yolow be twene ye Beke & ye yeghen.
a1529   J. Skelton Poems against Garnesche in Poet Wks. (1843) I. 117   Your ien glyster as glasse, Rowlynge in yower holow hede.
1587   Queen Elizabeth I in W. B. Scoones Four Cent. Eng. Lett. (1880) 31   Paine in one of my yees was only the cause.
c1600   Diurnal of Remarkable Occurrents (1833) 179   Ane monstrous fische..havand greit ene in the head thairof.
1602   T. Dekker Satiro-mastix sig. G2v   And there stucke a nose and two nyes in his pate.
1605   W. Camden Remaines i. 125   Piercing the king of Scots through the eie, as Hector Boetius fableth.
1674   D. Brevint Saul & Samuel 116   To set new Eies..instead of those that were bored out.
1679   J. Dryden Troilus & Cressida iii. ii. 31   Do you leer indeed at one an other! do the neyes twinkle at him!
1704   R. Steele Lying Lover v. 58   Till its pretty Nies be all blubber'd.
1725   I. Watts Logick ii. v. i. §7   The Distance at which these Glasses are placed from the Eye.
1774   O. Goldsmith Hist. Earth IV. 192   The orbits of the eyes were deeper.
1809   S. T. Coleridge Three Graves in Friend 21 Sept. 96   A little Sun, No bigger than your ee.
1831   D. Brewster Treat. Optics xxxv. §166. 286   The human eye is of a spherical form with a slight projection in front.
1856   B. Brodie Psychol. Inq. (ed. 3) I. v. 182   The eye of an eagle is nearly as large as that of an elephant.
1858   C. Kingsley Red King 37   His eyne were shotten, red as blood.
1879   Pop. Sci. Monthly May 99   It follows that the rods and cones of the vertebrate eye are modified epidermic cells.
1908   Westm. Gaz. 17 Oct. 12/2   The eyes of the chameleon..appear to be mounted on ball-sockets, that act in a swivel-like manner.
1957   O. Barfield Saving Appearances iii. 22   In..the production of a rainbow..the eye plays a no less indispensable part than the sunlight.
1989   B. Alberts et al. Molecular Biol. Cell (ed. 2) xix. 1129   Each eye in a mammal such as a human or a cat sees almost the same visual field, and the two views are combined in the brain to provide binocular stereoscopic vision.
2012   S. Blake et al. Technol. & Young Children v. 92/1   When the eye is looking directly at the light, the reflection of the light will appear to be in the center of the pupil.

eOE—2012(Hide quotations)


 b. spec. The eye and eyelid considered together (and so including expressions relating to the opening and closing of the eye); the region of the face surrounding (and including) the eye.Cf. black eye n. 2, and also with one's eyes shut at Phrases 4m, to open one's eyes at open v. 3b, etc.

OE (Northumbrian)   Lindisf. Gospels: John ix. 6   Leuit [read linuit] lutum super oculos eius : ahof..þæt lam ofer ego [OE Rushw. egu] his.
OE   tr. Pseudo-Apuleius Herbarium (Vitell.) (1984) xvi. 62   Wiþ eagena sar..genim þysse ylcan wyrte seaw & smyre ða eagan þærmid.
lOE   St. Nicholas (Corpus Cambr.) (1997) 94   Þa geseah he þa iunge men sittan on heora cneowan & heora eahne wæron gebundene.
a1225  (?OE)    MS Lamb. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1868) 1st Ser. 121 (MED)   Summe þer weren þet his eȝan bundan.
c1275  (?c1250)    Owl & Nightingale (Calig.) (1935) 426 (MED)   He wolde þat he iseȝe Teres in evrich monnes eȝe.
a1325  (c1280)    Southern Passion (Pepys 2344) (1927) l. 2068   Hare eyen openede & him knewe.
c1405  (c1387–95)    G. Chaucer Canterbury Tales Prol. (Hengwrt) (2003) l. 10   Smale foweles maken melodye That slepen al the nyght with open Ihe [c1415 Lansd. yhe].
1486   Bk. St. Albans sig. bij   An hauke that is broght vp vnder a Bussard..hath wateri Eyghen.
c1515   Ld. Berners tr. Bk. Duke Huon of Burdeux (1882–7) xlvii. 157   The pyrates..bounde his handes..and iyen.
1554   J. Christopherson Exhort. to All Menne sig. U.viiv   The clothe wherwith they couered his eyes, when they bette him.
1605   Z. Jones tr. P. le Loyer Treat. Specters ix. f. 93   To some also it hath bin inioyned for a punishment and torment..to gaze vpon the glorious light of the Sunne, without being suffered to wincke and shutte his eyes.
1675   T. Hobbes tr. Homer Odysses xvi. 11   Kisses his head and hands, and both his eyne.
1751   T. Smollett Peregrine Pickle II. lxxvi. 306   These gummy eyes, lanthorn jaws, and toothless chaps.
1840   E. Howard Jack Ashore I. ix. 178   That kindly looking gentleman, that's blushing up to the eyes.
1860   A. Wynter Curiosities of Civilisation III. 106   The wart hog,..which wallows up to its eyes in slush and mire.
1911   K. L. Bosher Miss Gibbie Gault vi. 70   She wiped her eyes resentingly.
1959   V. S. Naipaul Miguel St. x. 111   Black up their eye and bruise up their knee And then they love you eternally.
2008   A. Davidson Gargoyle (2009) iii. 56   Her eyes opened wide, as if I had inserted a key into a secret lock.

OE—2008(Hide quotations)


 c. Modified by an adjective (as blue, brown, etc.) denoting the colour of the iris and applied to the whole organ (sometimes as a distinguishing characteristic of a person, etc.). Also in extended use. Cf. black eye n. 1.

c1275  (?c1250)    Owl & Nightingale (Calig.) (1935) 75   Þin eȝene [a1300 Jesus Oxf. eyen] boþ colblake & brode.
c1330  (?a1300)    Guy of Warwick (Auch.) p. 442   He loked on þe wiþ wrake Sternliche wiþ his eyȝen blake.
?c1350   Ballad Sc. Wars 22 in A. Brandl & O. Zippel Mitteleng. Sprach- u. Literaturproben (1917) 137   His hegehen war gret and grai.
?a1475  (?a1425)    tr. R. Higden Polychron. (Harl. 2261) (1865) I. 145   That region hathe peple with white heire, peyntede eien and ȝelowe [L. oculis pictis et glaucis].
▸ ?a1513   W. Dunbar Poems (1998) I. 172   Eyn of ar maid of blew asure.
1587   L. Mascall Bk. Cattell: Horses (1627) 167   The Fleabitten, with a thinne crest, hauing blacke eyne.
a1637   B. Jonson tr. Horace Art of Poetrie 52 in Wks. (1640) III   With faire black eyes, and haire; and a wry nose.
1687   A. Lovell tr. J. de Thévenot Trav. into Levant i. 39   They reckon Women with big black Eyes, and red Cheeks, to be the greatest Beauties.
1713   A. Pope Windsor-Forest 15   He turn'd his azure Eyes Where Windsor-Domes and pompous Turrets rise.
1773   M. Browne Pisc. Eclog. viii. 117   'Twas there gay Phylla..Glanc'd the soft passion from her sky-blue eye.
1820   Blackwood's Mag. Nov. 155/1   Ye're conceited o' your bonnie blue een.
1891   S. J. Duncan Amer. Girl in London 191   Mr. Pratte had very blue eyes with a great deal of laugh in them.
1907   D. K. Ranous tr. M. Serao Conq. Rome xvii. 255   ‘Ill?’ asked the Romagnan of the frank brown eyes.
1930   A. Christie in Story-teller May 241/2   ‘Oh, no!’ Jane opened her blue eyes very wide.
1969   L. A. Murray Weatherboard Cathedral 71   Dazzling blue eyes Of winter stare from the box-trees The shadows of barns are thin with frosted straw.
2005   J. Weiner Goodnight Nobody xxvi. 223   Her hazel eyes were shining. She looked as proud as a kid who's brought home her first A paper.

c1275—2005(Hide quotations)


 d. A representation of an eye, esp. in art.

?1573   L. Lloyd Pilgrimage of Princes f. 125   A Skilfull Painter beholding an exceeding fayre Image wanting onelye eyes and handes, thought to shew his cunning therein, and taking his pencell in hande to paint handes and eyes correspondent vnto the other members.
1664   G. Havers tr. T. Renaudot et al. Gen. Coll. Disc. Virtuosi France xcvi. 557   So, painting an Eye upon a Scepter, which signifi'd God, they intimated also his properties, by the Scepter his Omnipotence, and by the Eye his Providence.
1765   H. Fuseli tr. J. J. Winckelmann Refl. on Painting & Sculpt. Greeks 13   The large eyes of all the heads on Greek coins and gems.
1871   Once a Week 29 Apr. 435/2   The gaily painted boats, with large eyes in their prows, danced towards us on the swell.
1925   Boys' Life Mar. 36/2   When you are satisfied with the general form of your duck, put in the wings, eyes and bill with the pointed end of your wooden tool.
1996   Daily Mirror (Nexis) 20 Aug. 11   Scott..thought the billboard posters would only feature demonic eyes behind a curtain.
2012   H. Graham Uninvited ii. 44   He'd read that the Mona Lisa's eyes seemed to follow her viewers.

?1573—2012(Hide quotations)


 e. Any of various visual or light-detecting organs in invertebrates.Eyes that are capable of focusing light to form an image (as distinct from eyespots simply capable of detecting light) are present in several phyla, including cnidarians, annelids, arthropods, and molluscs, though they vary widely in structure. Many arthropods, including insects, have both simple eyes (ocelli) and compound eyes (containing numerous ommatidia). Cf. compound eye at compound adj. 2d.

1601   P. Holland tr. Pliny Hist. World I. 327   There bee Insects with little hornes proaking out before their eyes.
1665   R. Hooke Micrographia 178   Each of these Pearls [sc. in a drone-fly]..is a perfect eye.
1700   T. Brown Amusem. Serious & Comical viii. 87   Their Collections of Rarities exceeds that of John Tradusken, for here are..the Eyes of Oysters.
1713   W. Derham Physico-theol. viii. iii. 401   Insects clean their Eyes with their Fore-legs, as well as Antennæ.
1774   O. Goldsmith Hist. Earth VIII. iii. 37   It still, however, remains a doubt, whether the insect sees objects singly, as with one eye; or whether every facet is itself a complete eye, exhibiting its own object distinct from all the rest.
1841   T. R. Jones Gen. Outl. Animal Kingdom xv. 278   The individual eyes or ocelli, as we shall term them.
1878   Encycl. Brit. VIII. 816/1   The compound eye..consists essentially of a series of transparent cone-like bodies, arranged in a radiate manner against the inner surface of the cornea.
1934   T. Wood Cobbers xii. 153   The octopus..goggled his eyes and oozled his slimy, restless-writhing arms.
1958   J. E. Morton Molluscs ii. 33   The strombids have large eyes mounted on optic tentacles and are the quickest and most alert of all bottom gastropods.
1971   R. E. Pfadt Fund. Appl. Entomol. (ed. 2) Gloss. 660   Dorsal ocellus, the simple eye in adult insects and in nymphs and naiads.
2010   New Scientist 21 Aug. 65/3   Members of genus Histioteuthis..a group of squid.., are unique in the animal kingdom as their left eye is two to three times the size of the right.

1601—2010(Hide quotations)


 2. With reference to its function: the eye as possessing the power or faculty of sight. Cf. ear n.1 2a.

OE   Beowulf (2008) 1781   Þæs sig metode þanc..þæt ic on þone hafelan heorodreorigne ofer eald gewin eagum starige.
OE   tr. Pseudo-Apuleius Herbarium (Vitell.) (1984) xci. 134   Wiþ eagena dymnysse genim ðysse sylfan wyrte leaf.
lOE   King Ælfred tr. St. Augustine Soliloquies (Vitell.) (1922) i. 22   Ða cwæð heo: hweðer geleornodest þu: þe myd þam eagum, þe mid þam ingeþance [L. sensibusne percepisti an intellectu]?
c1175  (▸OE)    Homily: Hist. Holy Rood-tree (Bodl. 343) (1894) 6   Ic wolde beon ȝyrnende..þæt ic mid mine eaȝen iseon moste þæt þæt ic to þe wilniæn wolde.
a1225  (c1200)    Vices & Virtues (1888) 119   Adam mid his eiȝene iseih ðat wastme of ðe treuwe.
?a1300  (c1250)    Prov. Hendyng (Digby) xix, in Anglia (1881) 4 194 (MED)   Þat eye ne seeþ, herte ne reweþ.
c1390  (a1376)    W. Langland Piers Plowman (Vernon) (1867) A. v. l. 200 (MED)   Þen dimmede his eiȝen.
a1475   Bk. Curtasye (Sloane 1986) l. 323 in Babees Bk. (2002) i. 308   Gase not on walles with þy neghe.
a1522   G. Douglas tr. Virgil Æneid (1957) iii. x. 12   Al his solace for tynsell of hyss e.
1584   H. Llwyd & D. Powel Hist. Cambria 31   Let them belieue no more but what they see with their Eies.
1651   T. Hobbes Leviathan ii. xxv. 136   Many eys see more then one.
1738   J. Swift Compl. Coll. Genteel Conversat. 199   They say, Hedges have Eyes, and Walls have Ears.
1796   J. Lauderdale Coll. Poems Sc. Dial. To Public p. iv   Paying an unobserved strick [sic] attention with both eye and ear.
1820   J. Keats Eve of St. Agnes in Lamia & Other Poems 102   There are no ears to hear, or eyes to see.
1871   D. G. Rossetti Dante at Verona in Poems xxxiii   Thou hast beheld, past sight of eyne.
1913   A. C. Ray On Board Beatic vi. 66   Aileen's quick eyes saw him wince and draw back a little.
1960   W. Harris Palace of Peacock vii. 81   His penetrating trained eye saw every rock.
2005   R. Horsfall Dancing on Thorns xxvi. 407   Her dark, bright eyes watched Michel's reflection in the mirrored wall.

OE—2005(Hide quotations)


 3. Chiefly with of or in the genitive. The eye regarded as an attribute of the heart, the mind, etc., imagined to possess powers of perception corresponding to sight; insight, awareness; recollection. Also the eye of faith (also reason, etc.) .mind's eye (also eye of the mind): see mind n.1 19b(a). Cf. also heart n. 5b.

OE   Crist III 1328   Nu we sceolon georne gleawlice þurhseon usse hreþercofan heortan eagum, mnan [read innan] uncyste.
OE   tr. Chrodegang of Metz Regula Canonicorum (Corpus Cambr. 191) lxxix. 321   Þæt ge..hebbon æfre ætforan eowres modes eagum and eac eowres lichaman [L. ante mentis et corporis oculos], hwæt we and ge syn.
lOE   King Ælfred tr. St. Augustine Soliloquies (Vitell.) (1922) i. 27   Þa cwæð heo: wite þæt erest gewiss þæt ðæt mod byð þære sawle æge.
a1225  (?OE)    MS Lamb. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1868) 1st Ser. 157 (MED)   Þe rihtwise Mon..mid þe eȝene of his horte bihalt in to houene and sicð þe muchele blisse þet he is to ileðed.
1340   Ayenbite (1866) 81   Al þet þe eȝe of herte yzyþ.
c1425   Bk. Found. St. Bartholomew's (1923) 11   Beholdyng..thynges to cumme..with the yis of his soule.
?c1500   Mary Magdalene (Digby) l. 1124   Þer xall þey se me..with here carnall yye.
1564   R. Fills tr. M. Luther Treat. Medit. Trew & Perfect Consol. i. v. f. 16v   The eye of our hart is not pure enough, wherewith wee should see how great the misery and ignomini of man is.
1600   W. Shakespeare Midsummer Night's Dream iii. iii. 23   Sleepe..sometimes shuts vp sorrowes eye .  View more context for this quotation
a1698   F. Sheppard Cal. Reform'd in Duke of Buckingham et al. Misc. Wks. (1704) 234   This it is to want the Eye of Faith.
1703   W. Burkitt Expos. Notes New Test. Mark vi. 6   A Spiritual Eye can discern Beauty in an humbled and abased Saviour.
1750   C. Smart On Eternity of Supreme Being 12   Let reason thro' the eye of faith View Him with fearful love.
1830   J. F. W. Herschel Prelim. Disc. Study Nat. Philos. ii. vi. 166   To witness facts with the eyes of reason.
1882   F. W. Farrar Early Days Christianity I. 454   To the eyes of the unilluminated heart the region in which Faith lives and moves is a dark cavern.
1958   French Rev. 31 386   Both dramatists tend to see life through the eyes of innocence.
1997   C. Carson Star Factory (1998) 274   Antiquated slo-mo newsreel footage or the eye of memory.

OE—1997(Hide quotations)

 4. In singular and plural.

 a. With reference to the direction or movement of the eye(s) in looking, glancing, or gazing (see cast v. 7a, lift v. 5a, etc.).

eOE   tr. Bede Eccl. Hist. (Tanner) iii. iii. 164   Ða heo þa weotan þas word gehyrdon, þa gecerdon heo heora eagan & heora ondwlitan ealle to him [L. ad ipsum ora et oculi conuersi].
OE   West Saxon Gospels: Matt. (Corpus Cambr.) xvii. 8   Ða hig hyra eagan upphofon, ne gesawon hig nænne.
?c1225  (?a1200)    Ancrene Riwle (Cleo. C.vi) (1972) 44   Eue þi moder leop efter echnen. from þe echȝe to þe appel. From þe appel iparais dun to þen eorðe.
c1384   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Douce 369(2)) (1850) John vi. 5   Whanne Jhesu hadd lyft vp the yȝen.
a1400  (?a1325)    Medit. on Supper of our Lord (Harl.) (1875) 643 (MED)   To hys fadyr he kast hys yen.
▸ 1435   R. Misyn tr. R. Rolle Fire of Love 23   A treu lufer nouþer to þe warld dresses his ee.
1535   Bible (Coverdale) Ecclus. xxvii. 1   He that seketh to be riche turneth his eyes asyde.
1598   W. Shakespeare Henry IV, Pt. 1 i. iii. 141   On my face he turn'd an eie of death.  View more context for this quotation
1620   I. C. Two Merry Milke-maids i. iii. sig. C2v   The Duke passing by, cast his eye vpon them, and with it, I beleeue, his fancie.
1679   J. Dryden Troilus & Cressida iii. ii. 39   Nor dare I lift an eye On him I have offended.
1748   S. Richardson Clarissa VI. cxxiii. 391   Just then, turning my eye to the door, I saw a pretty genteel lady.
1798   S. T. Coleridge Anc. Marinere iii, in W. Wordsworth & S. T. Coleridge Lyrical Ballads 20   Each..curs'd me with his ee.
1848   C. Dickens Dombey & Son xiii. 123   He cast his eyes full on Mr. Dombey with an altered and apologetic look, abased them on the ground, and remained for a moment without speaking.
1891   T. Hardy Group of Noble Dames 85   Lifting her eyes as bidden she regarded this human remnant, this ecorché, a second time.
1915   St. Nicholas June 677/1   Jacopo turned his wide dark eyes on the man, wondering if he too would reprove him because of his picture-making.
1958   M. Spark Robinson v. 51   ‘Pas devant,’ said Tom Wells, casting his eyes towards the child.
1973   P. O'Brian HMS Surprise ix. 233   Now cast your eye to old slowbelly in the rear, setting his topgallants and sagging to leeward something cruel.
1992   C. Sprawson Haunts of Black Masseur (1993) v. 149   He continued in a state of deep meditation, till at last he lifted up his eyes to the sun.

eOE—1992(Hide quotations)


 b. Modified by adjectives expressing the feeling or disposition of the observer. Now chiefly in plural.

OE   Ælfric Catholic Homilies: 1st Ser. (Royal) (1997) iv. 212   Þæt þæt we mid gitsiendum eagum agylton, þæt we nu mid wependum eagum behreowsiað.
lOE   King Ælfred tr. Boethius De Consol. Philos. (Bodl.) (2009) I. v. 247   Þa þæt mod þa þillic sar cweðende wæs.., se wisdom þa & seo gesceadwisnes him bliðum eahum[eOE Junius eagum; L. vultu placido] on locodon.
a1393   J. Gower Confessio Amantis (Fairf.) i. l. 140   With yhen wrothe.
a1425  (?a1400)    G. Chaucer Romaunt Rose (Hunterian) (1891) l. 4264   If oon be full of vylanye Another hath a likerous ighe.
?1531   tr. Plutarch Howe One may take Profite of Enmyes f. 12v   He whom hate blyndeth not so, but that he may iuge hym, whom he hateth, & also may loke with indifferent eies, bothe vpon his lyfe, and his maners.
1556   tr. J. de Flores Histoire de Aurelio & Isabelle sig. F   Chaste and shamefaste ees.
1611   Bible (King James) Prov. xxii. 9   Hee that hath a bountifull eye, shall bee blessed.  View more context for this quotation
a1689   A. Behn Widdow Ranter (1690) iii. i. 30   I see she regards thee with kind Eyes, Sighs and Blushes.
1734   A. Pope Epist. to Arbuthnot 199   View him with..jealous eyes.
1820   J. Keats Eve of St. Agnes in Lamia & Other Poems 100   Those sad eyes were spiritual and clear.
1849   T. B. Macaulay Hist. Eng. I. 161   Bowls, horseracing, were regarded with no friendly eye.
1901   W. B. Yeats Let. 14 Nov. (1994) III. 119   I shall watch the adventure with the most friendly eyes.
1976   Church Times 12 Mar. 5/2   He turned loving eyes on the tormenting thugs.
1990   Trav. & Life Dec. 34/2   Signorina X takes note with a baleful eye.
2004   A. Levy Small Island i. 21   The man sucked his teeth and flashed angry eyes in my face.

OE—2004(Hide quotations)


a. With in, into, out of. Range of vision, field of view. Cf. public eye n. at public adj. and n. Compounds 1b, view n. Phrases 1a. Obsolete.In quot. OE   in plural with at.

OE   Seasons for Fasting (transcript of damaged MS) 172   Ne mæg he [sc. higesynnig man] þæs inne ahwæt scotian gif he myrcelrs [read myrcels] næfþ manes æt egum, ac he on hinder scriþ.
1541   T. Elyot Image of Gouernance vi. f. 13   Thynges..that be frequent and often in eye, be lyttell regarded.
1567   J. Jewel Def. Apol. Churche Eng. iv. xvi. 459   Franciscus Petrarcha was made Poete in the Capitol, and keapte Laura his Concubine in the eie of the Pope.
1599   Warning for Faire Women ii. 770   A very bloudy act..committed in eye of court.
1604   W. Shakespeare Hamlet iv. iv. 6   We shall expresse our dutie in his eye .  View more context for this quotation
a1656   Bp. J. Hall Shaking of Olive-tree (1660) ii. 125   He fights in the eye of his Prince.
1665   R. Boyle Occas. Refl. v. ii. sig. Kk1v   Ill manag'd Persecutions of Doctrine..bring them into every body's Eye.
1670   C. Cotton tr. G. Girard Hist. Life Duke of Espernon i. ii. 82   He was no sooner remov'd out of his Eye, than that confidence began to stagger.
1677   A. Yarranton England's Improvem. 38   A Harbour..in the very Eye of France.
1711   R. Steele Spectator No. 113. ⁋4   She helped me to some Tansy in the Eye of all the Gentlemen in the Country.
1740   T. Lediard German Spy (ed. 2) xxi. 190   A Crime,..committed in the Eye of the Public, and of the highest Nature.
1900   J. K. Jerome Three Men on Bummel i. 17   Mr. Pertwee asked me if I had a skipper in my eye.

OE—1900(Hide quotations)


 b. The action or function of perception by the eyes; the sense of seeing or observing, sight. Frequently with the. Also in plural.

c1475  (?c1400)    Apol. Lollard Doctr. (1842) 50   Þat for a tym desceyuiþ and iapiþ þe ȝee, but þis biggiþ þe vnderstonding perpetual.
1508   J. Fisher Treat. Penyt. Psalmes sig. gg.iv   All thynges be naked and open to his [sc. God's] eyen.
1567   A. Golding tr. Ovid Metamorphosis (new ed.) ix. f. 112   Too hyde this blemish from the eye.
1600   W. Shakespeare Much Ado about Nothing iv. i. 72   Is this face Heroes? are our eies our owne?  View more context for this quotation
a1616   W. Shakespeare Macbeth (1623) iii. i. 126   Masking the Businesse from the common Eye .  View more context for this quotation
1653   A. Marvell Let. 28 July in Poems & Lett. (1971) II. 305   Demonstrating to the Ey which way we ought to trauell.
1728   J. Cowper tr. W. Dunkin Τεχνηθυραμβεια 6   A thousand various Arts we try To 'scape the watchful Porter's Eye.
1783   Monthly Rev. Oct. 316   The specimen is so truly novel and original, that we cannot withhold it from the eye of the learned.
1849   T. B. Macaulay Hist. Eng. II. 207   The conflict in the royal mind did not escape the eye of Barillon.
1908   Field & Stream May 693/1   Legrand..was said to have a cross of Indian blood, just enough to cause him to detect signs which escape the common eye.
1955   ‘N. Shute’ Requiem for Wren (1956) 95   For a moment they stood staring, unable to believe the evidence of their eyes.
1997   A. Sivanandan When Memory Dies i. viii. 87   People were lined up along the streets as far as the eye could see.

c1475—1997(Hide quotations)


 c. The facility by which a working sheepdog controls sheep with its eyes or gaze (rather than by its bark, etc.). Cf. eye dog n. at Compounds 4.

1933   L. G. D. Acland in Press (Christchurch, N.Z.) 21 Oct. 15/7   Force..is different from eye, the dog's control of sheep by staring them in the face.
1938   J. H. McCulloch Sheep Dogs ii. 11   The most striking characteristic of the Border Collie is the one which shepherds refer to as ‘The Eye’, or the power of the dog to control sheep with its eyes.
1966   P. Newton Boss's Story 188   Plain-eyed: Most of our heading dogs show what is known as ‘eye’, i.e. when working a few sheep they ‘set’ them much as does a setter or pointing dog setting game.
1985   N. Rennie Working Dogs 37   When a heading dog first begins to eye sheep it is important to break the eye by calling it so that it looks at you.
2007   T. Williams Working Sheep Dogs i. iii. 33   The amount and type of eye a dog uses is vital in its effectiveness as a working dog.

1933—2007(Hide quotations)


 a. A person or animal whose power of vision is used by another person (frequently a blind person). Also in extended use. Cf. seeing eye adj. 1. Also in plural.

1340   Ayenbite (1866) 237 (MED)   Vor hi [sc. the clergy] bieþ þe eȝe of holy cherche.
a1382   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Douce 369(1)) (1850) Job xxix. 15   An eȝe I was to blinde.
1588   A. King tr. P. Canisius Cathechisme or Schort Instr. 173   I haue been ane Ee to ye blind.
1667   J. Milton Paradise Lost iii. 650   The seav'n Who..are his Eyes That..Bear his swift errands.  View more context for this quotation
1689   E. Hickeringill Ceremony-monger Concl. iv. 121   The Bishop's great Eye, (Mr. Arch-deacon) is getting himself a Stomach to his Dinner.
1781   T. Bever Hist. Legal Polity Rom. State iv. i. 428   These instruments of power..are the eyes by which he sees the state of his dominions.
1807   W. Wordsworth Ode in Poems II. 153   Thou best Philosopher,..thou Eye among the blind.  View more context for this quotation
1893   Perkins Inst. & Mass. School for Blind Ann. Rep. 223   This girl led her mother and tried to be eyes for her, describing the things that she saw.
1921   Messenger of Peace Dec. 429   'Tilda herself went with Uncle Allie to be eyes for him on the voyage. She had to..lead him about the deck and find his napkin for him at table.
2004   Digital Photographer No. 24. 60/1   A stylist is an essential part of any fashion shoot. He or she acts as the eyes of the end user.

1340—2004(Hide quotations)


 b. A person positioned so as to be able to view or monitor a situation and relay information. Cf. eyeball n. 2b.Frequently in military and intelligence contexts.

1837   B. D. Walsh in tr. Aristophanes Comedies I. 17 (note)    The King of Persia had certain officers who were called ‘his Eyes’.
1918   Rotarian Mar. 107/3   ‘The use of the submarine,’ says Secretary Roosevelt, ‘has so changed naval warfare that more “eyes” are needed on every ship in order that a constant..lookout may be maintained.’
1968   Conf. Agric. Res. Priorities Econ. Devel. Afr. III. 82   They [sc. farmers] are our eyes in the field. They form an essential link between the livestock keeper and the researcher in the laboratory.
2009   J. F. Casey Bridge at Ban Bak vii. 64   We need to get some eyes on the ground... Three or four covert teams..ought to do the job.
2013   S. Pearsall Focus 71   Kitch then introduced Jay to the secretary, commenting, ‘Jay is our eye on the Congo’.

1837—2013(Hide quotations)


 c. slang (originally U.S.).  (a) (A name for) the Pinkerton National Detective Agency (see Pinkerton adj. and n.); a member of this (now rare);  (b) (more generally) a detective or a detective agency, esp. a private one; a private eye (also occasionally the eye of the law );  (c) a lookout man (rare).In its earliest sense, originally more fully the eye that never sleeps (and variants), the motto of the Pinkerton detective agency (also ‘we never sleep’), which was often printed around the image of an eye.Later use is predominantly in sense 6c(b), esp. as a shortening of private eye n.; cf. also PI n. at P n. Initialisms.

1874   Inter Ocean (Chicago) 13 June 12/3   The great American Detective Bureau has succumbed to the sell of the period; the eye that ‘is always open’ has been found unable to see through a mill-stone with a hole in it.
1880   Decatur (Illinois) Daily Rev. 17 Feb.   It may seen a wonder how such an institution as Pinkerton's can pass investigation... The ‘eye that never sleeps’ is open for more purposes than the public generally is aware of.
1900   ‘J. Flynt’ & ‘F. Walton’ Powers that Prey iii. 21   Old 'Frisco Slim touched up one o' the big joolry places not knowin' that it was in the Eye's dead-line.
1901   J. Flynt World of Graft 138   ‘The eye of the law’ oversteps the boundaries of his jurisdiction and compromises himself.
1914   L. E. Jackson & C. R. Hellyer Vocab. Criminal Slang 31   Eye (the),..The Pinkerton Detective Agency; an operative of the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Example: ‘Blow this joint; it's protected by the Eye.’
1936   J. G. Brandon Pawnshop Murder x. 90   As the existence of this watcher had been known for some considerable time to Inspector McCarthy..that astute young gentleman gave the ‘eye’ no chance to weigh upon him.
1955   Publ. Amer. Dial. Soc. No. 24. 141   The [Pinkerton Detective] agency is called the eye, from its trademark, the all-seeing eye.
1964   H. Kane Snatch Eye iii. 34   I want you to meet this eye, but never alone, because this is an eye with an eye for the broads.
1996   M. Coleman Net Bandits vii. 82   An eye! A private eye! I bet that's what it stands for!

1874—1996(Hide quotations)


 d. In plural. Frequently in Marketing. The audience or viewers of a visual medium, as a television programme or website, esp. regarded as a source of potential revenue. Also: the readership of a printed medium. Cf. eyeball n. 2a.

1919   Advertising & Selling 27 Sept. 28/2   Great feature films..were made and exhibited, reaching more eyes than any other pictures in the history of the screen.
1938   Corsicana (Texas) Semi-Weekly Light 15 July 8/6 (advt.)    There are 100,000 eyes waiting each day to read their ‘Home Town Newspapers’ about the things they want to know about.
1975   S. H. Chaffee & M. J. Petrick Using Mass Media xi. 129   Television..can deliver more eyes per dollar, and hence is a better buy from the sales viewpoint.
2007   Creative Rev. (Nexis) 1 Apr. 25   The video had a feverish viral run on the net, reaching half a million eyes in a single day.

1919—2007(Hide quotations)


 7. With reference to the eye as a means of estimation by visual inspection, as contrasted with precise measurement, the use of instruments, etc.; also in extended use. Frequently in by eye (formerly chiefly by the eye). Formerly also in †with eye. Cf. by rack of eye at rack n.5 6.

a1550  (c1477)    T. Norton Ordinal of Alchemy (Bodl. e Mus.) f. 33v   Our stone departe ye shall in partes tweyne full egallye, with subtill balaunce and not with eie.
1576   H. Gilbert Disc. Discov. New Passage Cataia viii. sig. G.jv   For that he iudged by the eye onely, seeinge wee in this out cleare ayre doe accompt 20 myles a ken at Sea.
1614   T. Lodge tr. Seneca Of Naturall Questions iii. xxviii, in tr. Seneca Wks. 826   If a man measure by the eye the crest of the highest mountaines, hee shall finde that the sea equalleth them in heighth.
1671   J. Brown Descr. & Use Trianguler-quadrant 14   The hundredth thousand part is alwayes to be estimated by the eye in all Instruments whatsoever.
1719   J. Richardson Art Crit. 188   It does not appear to have been done by any other help than the Correctness of the Eye.
1741   Chambers's Cycl. (ed. 5) I. sig. 2O/1   Chain... Draw a rough sketch of the place by eye.
1774   M. Mackenzie Treat. Maritim Surv. 88   Estimate by the Eye the Distance of C from A.
1804   W. Tennant Indian Recreat. II. 38   Boiled down to a proper consistence, which they guess by the eye, and by the touch.
1860   F. Nightingale Notes on Nursing (rev. ed.) xiii. 161   Several..hospital ‘sisters’,..could, as accurately as a measuring glass, measure out all their patients' wine and medicine by the eye.
1869   O. S. Fowler Pract. Phrenologist 141   Excel in judging of property where bulk and value are to be estimated by eye.
1906   A. E. Knight Compl. Cricketer iv. 146   Rightly judged by the eye, a catch should drop into the hands.
1921   Spectator 26 Feb. 268/2   When you start your wall there seems by eye very little or nothing wrong with it, but when you have got it up some thirty or forty feet the out-of-trueness is appalling.
1965   J. Needham Sci. & Civilisation in China IV. ii. 48   In modern engineering parlance ‘a Chinese copy’ means a copy of a machine or of some component part made by eye, measurement, or tradition, without any diagram or drawings.
2001   J. Blurton Scenery i. vi. 49/2   It is extraordinarily difficult to accurately measure a pipe ‘by eye’..so don't bother.

a1550—2001(Hide quotations)


 8. The faculty of appreciation or judgement of visual objects (also situations, etc.), either in a particular context or for a specific quality. Usually with of, for, or modifying word. Cf. ear n.1 6.See also to have an eye for the main chance at main chance n. 2.

1597   E. Hoby tr. B. de Mendoza Theorique & Practise Warre 108   There must be a speciall care taken in viewing by experience, & the eye of a soldior, the scituation which the enimie occupyeth.
1649   tr. R. Descartes Disc. Method i. 5   Looking on the divers actions and undertakings of all Men, with the eye of a Philosopher, there is almost none which to me seems not vain and useless.
1657   R. Austen Spirituall Use of Orchard (new ed.) 93   These buds..shew clearely (to a discerning eie).
1666   G. Harvey Morbus Anglicus xix. 86   The case appears quite in another dress to the eye of a Physician.
1715   J. Richardson Ess. Theory of Painting 150   He has a Good Eye on the Sense, as one is said to have a Good Ear for Musick.
1783   J. Beattie Diss. Moral & Crit. 119   If we have any thing of a painter's eye, we are struck with the waving lines that predominate so remarkably in his figure.
1855   T. B. Macaulay Hist. Eng. IV. 433   He had not..the eye of a great captain for all the turns of a battle.
1871   B. Jowett in tr. Plato Dialogues III. 3   An eye for proportion is needed.
1932   P. G. Wodehouse Hot Water xii. 207   House-broken husband though he was, he still had an eye for beauty.
1998   X Files Jan. 9/2   The movie is best remembered for its hyperkinetic roller-blading scenes, which amply demonstrate that the director certainly has an eye for big-screen action.

1597—1998(Hide quotations)

 II. Something resembling the eye in function, appearance, shape, or relative position.
 9. A hole or aperture.

 (a) The hole or aperture in a needle through which the thread passes.

eOE   Bald's Leechbk. (Royal) (1865) i. lxxxviii. 156   Wiþ þon ilcan [sc. an elfshot horse] nim tobrecenre nædle eage, stinge hindan on þone byrlan.
a1400   tr. Lanfranc Sci. Cirurgie (Ashm.) (1894) 36   A nedle þre cornerid, whos iȝe schal be holid on boþe sidis.
1575   G. Turberville Bk. Faulconrie 277   Thruste the eye of the needle beeing threeded, into the greater parte of the feather towardes the quyll.
1598   tr. L. B. Alberti Hecatonphila x. f. 33v   Though a needle haue two, three eyes or more, by reason whereof it carries as many threds with it, yet it makes but one entrance.
a1661   T. Fuller Hist. Worthies Eng. (1662) London 190   A Pin is a Blind Needle, a Needle a Pin with an Eye.
1714   A. Pope Rape of Lock (new ed.) ii. 17   Wedg'd whole Ages in a Bodkin's eye.
1833   J. Holland Treat. Manuf. Metal (Cabinet Cycl.) II. 358   The formation of the gutters and the piercing of the eye.
1882   S. F. A. Caulfeild & B. C. Saward Dict. Needlework 197/1   Embroidery needles..for canvas work..are short, thick, and blunt, and the eye is wide and long.
1911   Encycl. Brit. XXIV. 744/1   The foundation of machine-sewing was laid by the invention of a double-pointed needle, with the eye in the centre.
1970   A. L. Simon & R. Howe Dict. Gastron. 239/1   Larding needle, a long steel needle with a large eye into which narrow strips of pork fat or larding bacon are threaded.
2004   Quilter's Newsletter Mag. Nov. 40/3   By doing a ‘double travel’—turning the needle over between the layers and pushing eye end first—you will reach a spot further away than one needle length would reach.

eOE—2004(Hide quotations)


 (b) In extended use: a minute opening or space; chiefly in similative phrases alluding to or echoing Matthew 19: 24 (see quot. c1384; also Mark 10:25, Luke 18:25). Frequently in to pass through the eye of a needle (also a needle's eye) and variants. Cf. it is easier for a cable to go through the eye of a needle at cable n. 1d, needle eye n. at needle n. Compounds 2.

OE   West Saxon Gospels: Matt. (Corpus Cambr.) xix. 24   Ic eow secge þæt eaðelicre byð þam olfende to ganne þurh nædle eage [L. per foramen acus] þonne se welega on heofona rice ga.
?c1335   in W. Heuser Kildare-Gedichte (1904) 91 (MED)   Hit is as eþe forto bring A camel in to þe neld is ei, As a rich man to bring In to þe blisse þat is an hei.
c1384   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Douce 369(2)) (1850) Matt. xix. 24   It is liȝter, or eysier, a camel for to passe thorwȝ a nedelis eiȝe.
c1450  (c1440)    S. Scrope tr. C. de Pisan Epist. of Othea (Longleat) (1904) 54   A chamelle shuld souner passe throwe an nedelles ye.
1533   tr. Erasmus Enchiridion Militis Christiani xxxiv. sig. Rvijv   It is more easy for a camell to crepe thrugh the eye of a nedle than a ryche man to entre in to the kyngdome of heuen.
1579   S. Gosson Schoole of Abuse f. 9   Euery one of them may..daunce the wilde morice in an needles eye.
1609   W. Shakespeare Troilus & Cressida ii. i. 82   So much wit..As will stop the eye of Hellens needle.
1622   C. Fitzgeffry Elisha 46   He had learned also how to make the Camell passe through the needles eye, namely, by casting off the bunch on the back.
1668   W. Davenant Man's the Master i. i   The invisible rogue threaded a lane as narrow as a needle's eye.
1720   C. Shadwell Sham Prince ii, in Five New Plays 139   My Circumstances are as narrow as the Eye of a Needle.
a1739   C. Jarvis tr. M. de Cervantes Don Quixote (1742) II. ii. ii. 99   I have heard say of these masters, that they can thrust the point of a sword through the eye of a needle.
1828   D. M. Moir Life Mansie Wauch ix. 78   Me and the minister were just argle-bargling some few words on the doctrine of the camel and the eye of the needle.
1872   W. Besant & J. Rice Ready-money Mortiboy I. xiii. 234   A single-hearted..rich man, for whom the needle's eye is as easy to pass, as for the poorest pauper.
1925   A. Huxley Those Barren Leaves i. i. 11   Those roaring lions at Lady Trunion's..had no hope of passing through the needle's eye.
1940   V. W. Brooks New Eng. xx. 414   People solemnly chewed their food very fine and slowly to be slender enough to pass through the eye of the needle.
2012   Church Times 23 Nov. 40/5   There is an aldermanic tomb in a church..that declares that its owner, being both laden with goods and charitable, passed through the eye of a needle.

OE—2012(Hide quotations)


 b. A small hole or hollow in cheese, sometimes regarded as a fault in production. Also: a similar hole in bread, a stone, etc. Cf. bull's-eye n. 12. N.E.D. (1894) interpreted quot. a1387   as belonging to sense 10c, but the context suggests the reference is to a porous stone.

a1387   J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden Polychron. (St. John's Cambr.) (1872) IV. 7   A litel stone wiþ yene [L. lapidem oculatum].
a1398   J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomaeus Anglicus De Proprietatibus Rerum (BL Add. 27944) (1975) II. xix. lxxv. 1334   Chese y-yȝed and yrosted [MS yrestored] is nouȝt so euel as chese wiþ many yȝen and holes.
a1450  (?a1300)    Richard Coer de Lyon (Caius) (1810) l. 2654   Stones..rubbyd, as they wer wood. Out off the eye ranne red blood.
1528   T. Paynell tr. Arnaldus de Villa Nova in Joannes de Mediolano Regimen Sanitatis Salerni sig. E ij   Chese..not to tough..nor to full of eies.
1593   J. Eliot Ortho-epia Gallica ii. vi. 49   This Parmesan is well gathered, and fresher then that Holland cheese, which is full of eies.
1607   E. Topsell Hist. Foure-footed Beastes 623   Cheeses made of their [sc. sheep's] milke is..full of eyes and holes.
1649   W. Blith Eng. Improver xix. 112   A Mudde or Sludg..which is very soft, full of Eyes and Wrinckles.
1688   R. Holme Acad. Armory iii. v. 244   Bad cheese..full of Eyes, not well prest.
1723   J. Clarke tr. Rohault's Syst. Nat. Philos. I. i. viii. 29   Those large Spaces which we call the Eyes of the Bread.
1788   R. Briggs Eng. Art Cookery i. 19   If [thin Gloucester cheese]..is full of eyes and pale, or very yellow, it is poor.
1811   W. Aiton Gen. View Agric. Ayr 455   Whey-springs or eyes, are seldom met with in the cheeses of Ayrshire.
1837   Penny Cycl. VII. 15/1   The smaller and rounder the eyes, the better the cheese is reckoned. They should contain a clear salt liquor, which is called the tears.
1879   G. F. Jackson Shropshire Word-bk. (at cited word)   I like bread full of eyes, cheese without any.
1955   J. G. Davis Dict. Dairying (ed. 2) 192   The holes or ‘eyes’..are the result of the propionic acid fermentation in the cheese.
2010   Sci. Amer. (U.K. ed.) Aug. 33/2   The characteristic holes, cheese makers call them ‘eyes’—arise from inconsistent pressing during production and have historically been a sign of imperfection.

a1387—2010(Hide quotations)

 c. slang.

 (a) The anus. Frequently with preceding adjective; cf. brown eye n. at brown adj. Additions.

c1405  (c1390)    G. Chaucer Miller's Tale (Hengwrt) (2003) l. 664   Absolon hath kist hir nether Iye.
1788   St. G. Tucker Poems (1977) 134   He..Takes Robin's pipe from off the shelf..And to the stranger's nether eye The taper point he doth apply, And shoves it in, up to the bowl, So well he understood the hole.
1969   B. Frechtman tr. J. Genet Funeral Rites 22   I loved the violence of his prick,..the back of his neck, and the dark, ultimate treasure, the ‘bronze eye’, which he did not grant me until very late, about a month before his death.
1990   C. Shafer in F. E. Abernethy Bounty of Texas 203   Eye, rectum.
2007   W. Mosley Killing Johnny Fry (2008) 83   Her anus was small and pink... I ran my tongue around the puckered eye and she gasped.

c1405—2007(Hide quotations)


 (b) The urethral opening of the penis.

?a1450   J. Arderne in 17th Internat. Congr. Med. (1914) xxiii. 119 (MED)   The smallere heed [of the clyster] that is tofore schalbe putte into the ye of the mannes yerd.
?1889   ‘C. Deveureux’ Vénus in India I. 162   This splendid weapon..slightly tapered until it reached its head, where it suddenly widened again only to taper quickly off to a rounded blunt point, where its ‘eye’ was.
1922   J. Joyce Ulysses iii. xviii. 711   When I unbuttoned him and took his out and drew back the skin it had a kind of eye in it.
1979   R. L. Rowan Men & their Sex (1982) 13   The small opening..is called the external urinary meatus, or the ‘eye of the penis’.
2007   R. Sheppard Solitary Confinement 46   A pipe had been inserted into the eye of my penis to carry excess fluid into the bag.

?a1450—2007(Hide quotations)


 d. A hole pierced in a tool or implement, for the insertion of a handle or some other object.

1554   in T. Wright Churchwardens' Accts. Ludlow (1869) 57   For makynge the iee of the clapper [of a bell]..xiiijd.
1679   J. Moxon Mech. Exercises I. ix. 161   Put the Eyes of the Hindges over the Pins of the Hooks.
1747   W. Hooson Miners Dict. sig. Ejb   When the Miner haums a Pick, there is always Some of the Haum comes through the Eye.
1796   G. Pearson in Philos. Trans. (Royal Soc.) 86 445   Its [sc. the axe's] length from eye to edge was seven inches.
1827   J. F. Cooper Prairie I. ii. 26   He buried his axe to the eye, in the soft body of a cotton-wood tree.
1867   W. H. Smyth & E. Belcher Sailor's Word-bk. 284   Eye of an anchor, the hole in the shank wherein the ring is fixed.
1881   F. J. Britten Watch & Clockmakers' Handbk. (ed. 4) 33   The eye should be made close to the end of the spring, which should be rounded.
1951   Pop. Mech. Apr. 196/1   The cable is not attached directly to the eye of the anchor, but is simply lashed to the shank at the eye with a short length of strong cord.
2008   J. DeLaRonde Blacksmithing Basics for Homestead x. 114/1   Return the axe to the fire and bring the back of the eye to a good yellow heat.

1554—2008(Hide quotations)


 e. An opening or passage for the introduction or withdrawal of material (as in a kiln or furnace), or for exit or entry (as in a mine or a fox's earth).In the context of furnaces, cf. sense 19, with which some confusion may occur.

1584   in J. D. Marwick Extracts Rec. Burgh Edinb. (1882) IV. 370   Ilk stayn..beand of..twelf inche in the eye and ten inche in the hem.
1664   H. Power Exper. Philos. iv. 180   Sometimes, if the Damp draw towards the eye of the pit, then they set it into Motion by throwing down of Cole-sacks.
1686   Bp. G. Burnet Some Lett. conc. Switzerland v. 288   He comes out at the eye of the Milne all in Wafers.
1736   Compl. Family-piece ii. i. 215   Having found a Fox's Earth, cause all his Holes you can find to be stopt (except the main Hole or Eye that is most beaten).
1780   A. Young Tour Ireland (ed. 2) I. 257   He burns it in arched kilns, with several eyes.
1812   Ann. Reg. 1811 Chron. 5/2   When the men employed at the lime-kiln..went to their work, they found a man and a woman lying dead on the edge of its eye.
1843   Jrnl. Royal Agric. Soc. 4 i. 27   The main drain opens into the ditch at a spot called the ‘eye’.
1884   E. H. Knight Pract. Dict. Mech. Suppl. 605   A damsel on the spindle..causes the grain to dribble into the eye of the runner.
1922   T. E. Thorpe Dict. Appl. Chem (rev. ed.) IV. 50/1   The hearth bottom thus formed slopes from the back to the open eye of the furnace and serves as a filter to separate the lead from the slags.
1954   U.S. Patent 2,669,420 3   The impeller comprises a disc having a series of impeller blades, and defining with the casing an inlet passage or eye and a discharge passage.
1963   Gloss. Mining Terms (B.S.I.) ii. 10   Eye, the top or mouth of a shaft.
1969   Business Hist. Rev. 43 25   The ‘banksman’ in charge of the ‘eye’ of the pit; the ‘check’ (where distinct from the banksman), his underground counterpart.
1998   R. F. Dalzell & L. B. Dalzell Geo. Washington's Mount Vernon App. 230   Bell-shaped ‘eyes’, or tunnels, ran through the [brickmaking] kilns from end to end, with the number of eyes depending on the size of the kiln.

1584—1998(Hide quotations)

 10. A spot resembling an eye.
 a. In an animal organism.

 (a) Any of the colourful eye-like spots near the tips of the tail feathers in a male peacock, used in display; a depiction or image of this. Cf. Argus n. 1b.

a1398   J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomaeus Anglicus De Proprietatibus Rerum (BL Add. 27944) (1975) I. xii. xxxii. 638   Þe pecok hath..a tayle ful of eyen.
1556   tr. J. de Flores Histoire de Aurelio & Isabelle sig. G7   Delectabler..then seamethe vnto the pecocke his tale chargede with ees.
1601   P. Holland tr. Pliny Hist. World I. 396   They make a shew of the eyes appearing in Peacockes tailes.
1661   T. Blount Peacham's Compl. Gentleman (new ed.) xiv. 163   A skie coloured mantle..wrought with gold and Peacocks eyes.
1738   J. Barber Tom K—g's iii. 49   So have I seen a gaudy Peacock plume Her Argus Eyes in the reflecting Sun.
1788   W. Cowper On Mrs. Montague's Feather-hangings 4   The Peacock sends his..starry eyes.
1840   Penny Cycl. XVII. 334/1   In this last [variety] the eyes or circlets of the train [of the peacock] are shadowed out.
1860   E. B. Browning Christmas Gifts viii, in Poems before Congress 48   The eyes in the peacock-fans Winked at the alien glory.
1903   Times 18 July 12/1   Whistler painted for Mr. Leyland the famous ‘Peacock Room’—a wonderful scheme of decoration, peacock's eyes on a gold ground, the whole leading up to a fantastic full-length picture.
1989   K. Dunn Geek Love iii. xxi. 258   Chick came and sat beside me with an exotic-bird coloring book.., whiling away his free hour by filling in the eyes on the peacock's tail with slow, painstaking blue.
2003   J. E. Rodgers Sex (new ed.) i. 13   A team of scientists clipped the ‘eyes’ from some peacocks' magnificent tail feathers and learned that males missing as few as 20..eyes per tail experienced a dramatic drop in their mating games.

a1398—2003(Hide quotations)


(b) A dark spot visible in a developing bird's egg, representing the germinal point on the yolk. Obsolete.

1653   W. Harvey Anat. Exercitations xvi. 85   And from this Resemblance we call it Oculum Ovi, the Eye of the Egge.
1741   Chambers's Cycl. (ed. 5) I. at Egg   About the middle, between the chalazæ, on the side of the yelk, and in the membrane thereof, is a little vesica, or bladder, not unlike a vetch, or lentil, called the cicatricula, and by some the eye of the egg.
1895   Pearson's Weekly 18 May 712   The yolk of one average-sized hen's egg (from which the ‘eye’ has been removed).

1653—1895(Hide quotations)


 (c) An eyespot on the wing of a butterfly or moth; an ocellus (ocellus n. 2).

1658   J. Rowland tr. T. Moffett Theater of Insects in Topsell's Hist. Four-footed Beasts (rev. ed.) ii. xiv. 959   She hath four great wings, every one of them having eyes of divers colours.
1720   E. Albin Nat. Hist. Eng. Insects Tab. IV   On the 6th of July came Forth a beautiful Butter-fly with Eyes in his Wings.
1752   J. Hill Gen. Nat. Hist. III. 75   The Papilio, with roundish brown wings, with three eyes under the primary ones, and five under the others.
1860   W. S. Coleman Brit. Butterflies vi. 72   The ‘eyes’ are velvety black.
1876   Encycl. Brit. IV. 596/2   Tropæa luna,..with wings of a lemon colour, each with a ‘transparent eye’.
1959   L. H. Newman Looking at Butterflies 78   The centre of the eye is black and wine-red... The hind-wings also carry large eye-spots.
2006   M. Golley Compl. Garden Wildlife Bk. (2007) 57   Eyed Hawkmoths will, when disturbed, gently wiggle to and fro, exposing the eyes on the wing.

1658—2006(Hide quotations)


 (d) Either of two small dark spots visible in the egg of a fish (or insect), representing the eyes of the embryo and indicating proximity of hatching. Cf. eye v. 7.

1840   J. Shaw Exper. Observ. Salmon-fry 5   These two dark spots, however, ultimately turned out to be the eyes of the embryo fish.
1863   F. Buckland in G. C. Bompas Life F. Buckland (1885) vii. 125   No eyes yet in the [trout's] eggs.
1908   L. Rhead Bk. Fish & Fishing xii. 299   When trout eggs are within a week or so of hatching they are called eyed ova, the eyes of the embryo fish being distinctly visible through the shell of the egg.
2007   Proc. Royal Soc. B. 274 862/2   The [salmon] eggs..were incubated in the hatchery until eyes were visible (‘eyed eggs’).

1840—2007(Hide quotations)

 b. In a plant or a part of a plant.

 (a) A bud, (now) esp. one on a potato. Also: a recess on a potato in which a bud forms.potato eye: see the first element.

▸ ?1440   tr. Palladius De re Rustica (Duke Humfrey) (1896) iii. l. 688 (MED)   His eyon [L. oculos] sowe, of cutte as is the reed.
1572   L. Mascall tr. D. Brossard L'Art et Maniere de Semer in Bk. Plant & Graffe Trees 54   For to graffe a subtill way, take one oylet or eye of a graffe, slyt it round, aboue and beneath, and then behind downe right, then wreath him of, and set him vpon another cion..then dresse him as is aforesaide.
1618   W. Lawson New Orchard & Garden x. 28   Let your graffe haue three or foure eyes, for readines to put forth.
1673   N. Grew Idea Phytol. Hist. ii. i. 56   Potato's [root], where the eyes of the future Trunks lie inward.
1728   E. Chambers Cycl.   Oculi, Eyes, in botany, the gemmæ, or buds of a plant just putting forth.
1787   G. Winter New Syst. Husbandry 157   Six scotch potatoes, cut into thirty-three sets, with two eyes each.
1858   E. Lankester & W. B. Carpenter Veg. Physiol. (new ed.) §121   The points commonly known as the eyes of the Potato.
1882   Garden 18 Mar. 183/2   Vine eyes from Spain..make better and stronger Vines than those propagated from eyes produced in this country.
1929   H. A. A. Nicholls & J. H. Holland Text-bk. Trop. Agric. (ed. 2) ii. iii. 154   Cacao... at the base of the stalk of the pod there is a little swelling, called the eye, and it is from this part that the flowers for the next crop will come out.
1967   A. E. Cox Potato ii. 38   Redskin... Round, pink skin, white flesh, moderately deep eyes.
1999   BBC Good Food July 11/1   To hull strawberries, use the pointed end of a potato peeler to dig out the stalks, like you do when you take the eyes out of potatoes.

?1440—1999(Hide quotations)


 (b) A circular or oval structure or marking on a fruit or seed; spec.  (a) the remains of the calyx, persisting in some fruits on the end opposite to the stalk;  (b) the hilum of a bean or other seed;  (c) the small opening at the end of a fig, through which pollinating fig wasps gain entry.

1587   T. Dawson Good Huswifes Iewell (new ed.) f. 45   To keepe Apples, they lay them on straw strowed, the eye of the Apple downwards, and not the stemme.
1693   J. Evelyn tr. J. de La Quintinie Compl. Gard'ner ii. v. vii. 92   The best situation for Pears, their Figure being Pyramidal, is to be plac'd upon the Eye, with the Stalk upwards.
1703   W. Dampier Voy. New Holland 152   Another sort of small, red, hard Pulse, growing in Cods also, with little black Eyes like Beans.
1766   Ann. Reg. 1765 152/1   The peasants, therefore, every morning, visit their wild fig-trees and their garden fig-trees; and carefully examine the eye of the fig.
1838   T. Thomson Chem. Org. Bodies 961   Near that part of the lobes which is contiguous to what is called the eye of the bean, there is a small round white body [sc. the radicle].., which comes out between the two lobes.
1858   E. Lankester & W. B. Carpenter Veg. Physiol. (new ed.) §586   By the remains of the calyx..the eye of the gooseberry is formed.
1944   R. Matheson Entomol. for Introd. Courses xxi. 531   The adult female is winged and it enters the ‘eye’ of the caprifig in order to oviposit in the ‘gall flowers’.
2002   J. Morgan & A. Richards New Bk. Apples 178/2   Nevertheless, many varieties do display very characteristic features, such as the wide open eye of a Blenheim Orange, or the tightly closed eyes of Worcester Pearmain and McIntosh.
2012   J. Ray Seed Underground 53   The color [of crowder peas] often concentrates around the hilum, or eye.

1587—2012(Hide quotations)


 (c) An area (typically of a distinct colour) at the centre of a flower.

1597   J. Gerard Herball ii. cclxii. 641   In the middle or eie of the flower, it is of a whitish or pale colour.
1629   J. Parkinson Paradisi in Sole xxxiiii. 235 (heading)    The murrey Cowslip without eyes.
1682   S. Gilbert Florists Vade-mecum 49   The double deep Philomot, lightning towards the bottom into Lemmon colour to the white of the eye, large flower and indeed a fine one.
1766   Compl. Farmer at Auricula   The eye of the flower should be large, round, and of a good white or yellow.
a1777   S. Foote Nabob (1778) ii. 30   For pip, colour, and eye, I defy the whole parish..to match 'em [sc. polyanthuses].
1819   J. Taylor Naturales Curiosæ 129   Adonis—Red Morocco... Its flowers are of a bright scarlet, with a black spot or eye at the bottom.
1870   J. D. Hooker Student's Flora Brit. Islands 268   Corolla minute, pale blue with a white eye.
1904   Gardeners' Chron. 30 July 77/1   The [Dianthus] flowers are pure white with a narrow crimson eye.
1974   S. Clapham Greenhouse Bk. xi. 93   The ray florets, which resemble petals and form the showy part of the complete flower-head; and the disc florets which form the flattish centre or ‘eye’.
2009   Birmingham Post (Nexis) 24 Dec. 21   The cheery golden eye at the centre of each [bedding primrose] flower will put a smile on your face.

1597—2009(Hide quotations)


 (d) Any of the three dark spots or germination pores at one end of a coconut. Also: a similar structure in the fruits of other palms.

1779   J. P. Fabricius Tamiḻum aṅkilēcum māyirukkiṟu akarāti: Malabar & Eng. Dict. 108/1   The three eyes or holes in a coconut-shell.
1807   F. Buchanan Journey from Madras III. xiv. 50   The coconuts are placed, at one cubit's distance from each other, and buried so as just to be covered above the eyes.
1865   E. B. Tylor Res. Early Hist. Mankind vi. 131   The diviner..will spin a cocoa-nut, and decide a question according to where the eye of the nut looks towards when at rest again.
1994   Biol. Conservation 68 12/1   The yellow fleshy fruits [of Attalea crassispatha] are 32–45 mm long with sweet and mucilaginous fibers enclosing a nut with three eyes (basal pores), a characteristic of palms closely related to the coconut.
2005   A. Tawhai Festival of Miracles 164   A man knocked a nail through the eye of one of the husk-covered shells, and her son was able to dribble the fresh coconut milk into his mouth.

1779—2005(Hide quotations)


 c. gen.

1681   N. Grew Musæum Regalis Societatis iii. 277   The Crowned Ocular Coral... In this, which is also white, to the eyes on the sides, are added little Heads crowned or radiated round about.
1719   Philos. Trans. 1717–19 (Royal Soc.) 30 970   Next under the three Coal Veins is the Peaw Vein, so denominated because the Coal is figured with Eyes resembling a Peacock's Tayl.
1817   W. M. Craig tr. G. de Lairesse Treat. Art of Painting x. v. 165   Light marble is various; one sort entirely white, another bluish, a third flesh-colour, &c... They are all good when free from spots or eyes, and appear well against proper grounds.
1863   J. C. Robinson Catal. Special Exhib. Wks. of Art South Kensington Museum (rev. ed.) xiv. 294   The piece is grounded with an imbricated or scale pattern on blue, and is diapered with rosettes in turquoise, with dark blue and mulberry central spots or eyes.
1870   J. Roskell in Eng. Mech. 18 Mar. 647/2   When the button of melted copper..assumes a bright colour, and the centre, which the essayer calls the eye, being dark, the front brick is..drawn aside.
1913   J. Alexander in W. A. Davis & S. Sadtler Allen's Commerc. Org. Anal. (ed. 4) VIII. 606   A brush-full of the glue solution is mixed with little aniline or other colour, and painted out on a piece of white paper, when spots or ‘eyes’ appear roughly proportionate to the amount of grease present.
1986   D. A. Napier Masks, Transformation, & Paradox vi. 201 (caption)    Pupillary reactions to eyespot patterns. Experimenters have discovered that subjects have the strongest emotional response to two spots or ‘eyes’ set horizontally.

1681—1986(Hide quotations)


 d. Geology. In a rock, esp. gneiss: a large lens-shaped mineral grain or body having a texture different from that of the groundmass. Cf. augen n.eye structure: see Compounds 4.Recorded earliest in eye gneiss.

1862   Canad. Naturalist & Geologist 7 3   Of the many varieties of gneiss, one deserves special notice; it has been called Porphyroid gneiss, and differs from the characteristic gneiss in containing lenticular-shaped aggregations of feldspar in a fine schistose matrix. It is this variety which has sometimes been called Eye gneiss.
1866   P. H. Lawrence tr. B. von Cotta Rocks Classified ii. ii. 233   Usually it [sc. orthoclase] occurs only in small grains, sometimes larger crystals or lentil-shaped masses so called, swellings or eyes (Schwielen, Augen), with the regular twin growth peculiar to orthoclase (porphyritic gneiss, augen-gneiss).
1898   Summary Progress Geol. Surv. U.K. 1897 37   Besides the bands and streaks of pegmatite there are many ‘eyes’ of felspar.
1954   Q. Jrnl. Geol. Soc. 109 299   Each eye is either a single potash-felspar crystal or, sometimes, an aggregate of several felspar crystals.
1972   B. S. Jangpangi in A. G. Jhingran et al. Himalayan Geol. II. 365   The foliated biotite gneisses of Darjeeling Hills..contain lenticles and ‘eyes’ of calc-silicate rocks.
2010   C. Owen et al. Earth Lab (ed. 3) v. 104 (caption)    Dramatically foliated and folded gneiss with some eyes, but not quite enough to call it an augen gneiss.

1862—2010(Hide quotations)


 a. Chiefly poetic and in literary contexts. The sun (also heaven) as the source of light, conceived as an eye or as possessing eyes.Similarly eye of day (also eye of heaven, eye of the world, etc.); eyes of heaven: the stars, esp. seen in the night sky; eye of night: the moon.

a1398   J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomaeus Anglicus De Proprietatibus Rerum (BL Add. 27944) (1975) I. viii. xvi. 484   Þe sonne is þe yȝe of þe worlde.
?a1450  (c1385)    G. Chaucer Troilus & Criseyde (St. John's Cambr. L. 1) (1894) ii. l. 904   The dayes honour and the heuenes eye, The nyghtes fo al this clepe I the sonne.
1571   T. Fortescue tr. P. Mexia Foreste i. xvii. f. 46   The Sunne..possesseth as his Kingdome, the middle or fourth Spheare, called of auncient Astrologians, the fountaine of all Light, the eye of the Earth, Kinge of the Planetes.
1590   E. Spenser Faerie Queene i. iii. sig. C2   Her angels face As the great eye of heauen shyned bright.
a1616   W. Shakespeare King John (1623) iii. i. 5   The glorious sunne..Turning with splendor of his precious eye The meager cloddy earth to glittering gold.  View more context for this quotation
1652   T. Manley tr. P. Fisher Veni, vidi, Vici 70   A cloud obscures that eye of Night, The sun withdrawing his, she gives no light.
1738   J. Wesley Coll. Psalms & Hymns (new ed.) cxlvii. 2   All ye sparkling Eyes of Night.
1765   T. Zouch Crucifixion 21   Soon the eye of day Darts his all-cheering radiance.
1820   W. Scott Monastery II. vi. 204   The eye of day hath opened its lids.
1880   W. Watson Prince's Quest 61   Whereat the eyes of heaven wox thundrous-dim.
1931   Boys' Life Dec. 12/3   The bright eye of day barely dipped below the horizon, swinging in a great arc around the sky.
1971   J. Gardner Grendel vii. 91   Balance is everything, riding out time like a helmless sheep-boat, keel to hellward, mast upreared to prick out heaven's eye.
2008   D. Keck Time of Treason 267   The old Eye of Heaven had sunk low enough to slide through the west windows.

a1398—2008(Hide quotations)


 b. Applied (frequently as a conventional epithet) to a city, country, etc., which is likened to an eye, variously imagined as a shining or pre-eminent exemplar or as a channel through which a place sees or is seen.

1534   tr. L. Valla Treat. Donation vnto Syluester sig. Dv   He..shulde depriue himselfe of one of the .ii. eyes of the empier.
1572   W. Malim tr. N. Martinengo True Rep. Famagosta Ded. sig. Aiij   The eyes of the Realme, Cambridge, and Oxforde.
1602   L. Lloyd Stratagems of Ierusalem ii. x. 195   Athens, the schoole of learning, and the eye of Greece.
1622   R. Harris Gods Goodnes 16   If goodnesse must be acknowledged there, must it not in England, the face of Europe; in London, the eye of England?
1671   J. Milton Paradise Regain'd iv. 237   Athens the eye of Greece.  View more context for this quotation
1730   Magna Britannia V. 280/1   Ipswich, as it is called the Eye of this Shire, and was really the most eminent for Trade and Buildings.
1761   Life & Extraordinary Hist. J. Taylor II. v. 55   England has two Eyes, Oxford and Cambridge. They are the two Eyes of England, the two intellectual Eyes.
1845   R. W. Hamilton Inst. Pop. Educ. vii. 165   Massachusetts..is the eye of the States.
1878   R. B. Smith Carthage 355   Corinth the eye of Greece.
1913   N. B. Allen Industr. Stud.: Europe 142   If St. Petersburg is the eye of Russia, Moscow is the heart.
1988   E. Hoagland Arabia Felix in Balancing Acts (1992) 213   Aden became known as ‘the Eye of Yemen’, because it was the Yemenis' sole opening to the Western world.
2011   R. Heikell Greek Waters Pilot (ed. 11) 132/1   The Venetian fort guarded the shipping route around the Peloponnisos and Methóni, along with Koroni, was called ‘the eye of the Republic’.

1534—2011(Hide quotations)


 c. (A name for) a natural feature, such as a hill or island, esp. one which is prominent or resembles an eye in form.Examples include Ireland's Eye, an uninhabited island north of Howth Harbour, Dublin, and the Eye of Quebec, the Manicouagan Reservoir and its lake island in central Quebec.

1600   P. Holland in tr. Livy Rom. Hist. xxi. 421   Mansalla, a citie in Sicilie, and a cape there, called the Eye of Sicily.
a1650   G. Boate Irelands Nat. Hist. (1652) v. 48   There lie also severall Rocks neer the little Ilands of Dalkee and Irelands-Eye.
1762   P. Murdoch tr. A. F. Büsching New Syst. Geogr. I. 284   From its convenient situation it [sc. Gottland] has justly acquired the name of the Eye of the Baltic.
1837   Penny Cycl. IX. 165/2   Ireland's Eye, a rocky picturesque island of thirty acres.
1891   J. M. Dixon Dict. Idiomatic Eng. Phrases at Eye   The eye of the Baltic—Gothland, or Gottland, an island in the Baltic.
1904   Daily Chron. 14 Sept. 5/1   A low rugged hill, nicknamed ‘Kuropatkin's eye’.
1959   W. Johnson in tr. A. Strindberg Vasa Trilogy 239   Lake Siljan, one of the most attractive lakes in all Sweden, has been called ‘the eye of Dalarna’.
2010   W. S. Olsen Never Land 152   My eyes cannot pass Lake Manicouagan, in Quebec, a lake that looks like a circular river, narrow but round... The Eye of Quebec, it's been called. An easy landing.

1600—2010(Hide quotations)


 12.  (a) In biblical contexts: a fountain, (the source of) a spring; also the eye of Jacob (in Deuteronomy 33:28; see quot. 1535   and note in etymology). Obsolete.  (b) An opening through which water wells up. Cf. well-eye n. at well n.1 Compounds 3.

1535   Bible (Coverdale) Deut. xxxiii. E   The eye of Iacob shalbe vpon ye londe where corne and wine is, heauen also shal droppe with dewe.
1583   A. Golding tr. J. Calvin Serm. on Deuteronomie cxcviii. 1233/1   The Hebrewes call Fountaines Eyes, because the springes of the water (if yee marke them) haue the shape of the eye in a mans body.
1609   Bible (Douay) I. Deut. xxxiii. 28   The eie of Jacob in the land of corne and wine.
1625   S. Purchas Pilgrimes II. v. i. 894   Some Eyes of water haue beene seene that vnder ground goe into the Sea.
1703   tr. A. de Ovalle Hist. Relation Chile i. vii. 16/1   But 'tis impossible to paint all the Variety of Objects produced by these several Motions and Compositions of Streams and Fountains: I cannot leave them without mentioning one called the Eyes of Water.
1799   W. Somerville Narr. E. Cape Frontier (1979) 43   In the Eye of the fountain a substance of metallic appearance is found resembling the ore of Lead.
1842   Penny Cycl. XXII. 290/2   The place where the river re-appears is called Los Ojos de Guadiana (the eyes of the Guadiana).
1857   D. Livingstone Missionary Trav. S. Afr. vi. 111   A hollow, which anciently must have been the eye of a fountain.
1883   J. Mackenzie Day-dawn in Dark Places 70   There are three separate wells or ‘eyes’ to this fountain.
1933   W. Macdonald Romance of Golden Rand 124   The few isolated habitations of the..Voortrekkers, each situated at the fountainheads, or ‘eyes’, of the numerous sparkling streams which flowed north and south from the Rand.
1985   J. Mitchell Church Ablaze 135   Sheets of iron covered this fountain eye to prevent the cattle trampling the mud and closing the eye.
2003   National Geographic Oct. 92/1   At high tide the off-shore caves expel fresh water, which bubbles at the surface. Local residents call these fountains ojos de agua, eyes of water.

1535—2003(Hide quotations)


 a. A loop, usually of metal, through which something may be threaded or passed, typically in order to secure it.screw eye: see screw n.1 Compounds 6.

1548   in J. B. Paul Accts. Treasurer Scotl. (1911) IX. 215   Ȝallo bukram and reid to ryggyn my lord governoures pavileounnes, and..leddes to mak the eyeis thairof.
1611   R. Cotgrave Dict. French & Eng. Tongues   Piton,..an Eye for a curtaine rod [etc.].
1698   W. Derham in Philos. Trans. (Royal Soc.) 20 2   On the Top I left an Eye in the Wire.
1715   J. T. Desaguliers tr. N. Gauger Fires Improv'd 130   Two Iron Eyes for the ends of the Axis to play in.
1785   W. Marshall Minutes in Rural Econ. Midland Counties (1790) II. 80   I prepared a bottom thimble, with a clasp to take the hartree, and with an eye at each corner.
1832   D. Brewster Lett. Nat. Magic x. 247   Having..made it [sc. the rope] pass through a fixed iron eye.
1880   W. C. Russell Sailor's Sweetheart (1881) II. iv. 201   A couple of scuttlebutts lashed..to eyes in the bulwarks.
1926   Pop. Sci. Monthly Sept. 101/1   Slip the round rod through the eyes of the four pieces and fasten it with a cotter pin through each end.
1947   Life 22 Sept. 138/2   The screw eyes..are inserted in all door posts and window frames and the tapes threaded through the eyes and knotted.
1987   R. Working Resurrectionists 100   Steel rods planted in the beam stuck out another two feet over the river, and a cable was threaded through the eyes at the end.
2011   Independent 3 June (Viewspaper section) 7/3   It might be worth considering welding eyes to the corners of cars and clamping these to concrete hardstands.

1548—2011(Hide quotations)


 b. Paired with hook (or occasionally clasp): the wire (or occasionally thread) loop on which the hook catches in a hook-and-eye fastening (see hook and eye n.).

1576   in J. Arnold Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd (1988) 144/2   A Dublett Jerkenwise of russett satten cutt & drawne welted with white vellat lyned with white sarceonett with canvas hookes & eyes.
1587   in D. Yaxley Researcher's Gloss. Hist. Documents E. Anglia (2003) 75   xxij claspes & eyes ijs. jd.
1599   J. Minsheu Percyvall's Dict. Spanish & Eng. at Hevilla   Hooks and eies of siluer.
1672   E. Ashmole Inst. Order of Garter vii. 211   The Collar was usually fixed, an Hook and eye of Gold; for the surer fastning it about the shoulders.
1763   H. S. J. Giral del Pino Dict. Spanish & Eng. I   Máchos y hémbras, hooks and eyes.
1841   Dollar Mag. Oct. 289/1   There are hooks and eyes placed at the edges of each breast..to close it.
1895   S. Klug Art of Dressmaking xv. 49/1   Some seamstresses prefer to sew the hooks on one side and the eyes on the opposite edge.
1956   Good Housek. Home Encycl. (ed. 4) 185/2   One side must be left open,..press fasteners or hooks and eyes being used to close it.
2003   Piecework July 6/3   It had..a pocket for a tape measure and scissors, another for hooks and eyes and snaps, [etc.].

1576—2003(Hide quotations)


 c. A loop of cord or rope; esp. (Nautical) one at the top end of a shroud or stay.

1584   R. Scot Discouerie Witchcraft xiii. xxix. 337   Put the eie of the one [cord] into the eie or bowt of the other.
1627   J. Smith Sea Gram. v. 21   Slings are made of a rope spliced at either end into it selfe with one eye at either end, so long as to bee sufficient to receiue the caske.
a1642   W. Monson Naval Tracts (1704) iii. 345/2   An Eye or two, and a Wall-knot.
1769   W. Falconer Universal Dict. Marine sig. D3v   Collet d'étai, the eye of a stay placed over a mast-head.
1797   Ld. Nelson in Dispatches & Lett. (1845) II. 324   Two pair of main-shrouds cut in the eyes.
1867   W. H. Smyth & E. Belcher Sailor's Word-bk. 275   Elliot-eye..is an eye worked over an iron thimble in the end of a hempen bower-cable, to facilitate its being shackled to the chain for riding in very deep water.
1867   W. H. Smyth & E. Belcher Sailor's Word-bk. 283   Flemish eye, particularly applied to the eye of a stay, which is either formed at the making of the rope; or by dividing the yarns into two equal parts, knotting each pair separately and pointing the whole over after parcelling.
1882   G. S. Nares Seamanship (ed. 6) 9   The eyes of the rigging.
1900   Amer. Naturalist 34 433   The beckets in the Australian Museum..are of plaited cord, with an ‘eye’ at one end and an ‘overhand’ knot, or a ‘grummet head’, at the other.
1937   Pop. Sci. Monthly July 89/3   The lanyards or lashings rove through eyes seized in ends of rope.
1987   I. Dear & P. Kemp Pocket Oxf. Guide to Sailing Terms 134/2   Rattle down, to, secure the ratlines to the shrouds with a series of clove hitches round each shroud except the forewardmost and aftermost, where the ratline is seized to the shroud through an eye.

1584—1987(Hide quotations)


 14. A gastrolith of a crayfish or crab; = crab's-eye n. 1. Usually in plural. Now historical and rare.

1561   J. Hollybush tr. H. Brunschwig Most Excellent Homish Apothecarye f. 37v   Or els geue him the eyes of Crabbes made to pouder to drinke with wine.
1639   O. Wood Alph. Bk. Physicall Secrets 30   Take the eyes of Crabs, powder them, infuse them in Wine vinegar warme, some Parmacitty melt therein, take of this every morning fasting till you be well.
1661   R. Lovell Πανζωορυκτολογια, sive Panzoologicomineralogia 190   The eyes or stones [of the crab] coole, dry, cleanse, discusse, breake the stone.
1747   R. James Pharmacopœia Universalis iii. ii. 485/2   The Stones or Eyes are cooling, drying, abstergent and discutient;..they are also proper for cleansing the Teeth.
1753   J. Hanway Hist. Acct. Brit. Trade Caspian Sea I. xv. 98   These eyes [of crawfish] are sent into turkey..to be used in medicines.
1811   A. T. Thomson London Dispensatory ii. 77   The concretions, called eyes, are found in the stomach, one on each side, before the fish casts its shell in July, at which time the inner coat of the stomach also is renewed.
1994   L. Brockliss in A. La Berge & M. Feingold French Med. Culture 19th Cent. ii. 96   These looked suspiciously similar to the bouillons which formed the normal diet, except that they were made from calves' feet, the eyes of crayfish, and a grander selection of herbs.

1561—1994(Hide quotations)


 a. A slight tinge or shade (of colour); (also more generally) a small amount, a touch or hint. Obsolete.

1567   in F. G. Emmison Essex Wills (1983) (modernized text) II. 161   12 lb. of sheep's wool with an eye of blue therein.
a1616   W. Shakespeare Tempest (1623) ii. i. 60   Ant. The ground indeed is tawny. Seb. With an eye of greene in't.  View more context for this quotation
a1642   J. Suckling Goblins iii. 25 in Fragmenta Aurea (1646)    None of these Beards will serve, There's not an eye of white in them.
a1661   T. Fuller Hist. Worthies Eng. (1662) Wales 13   This..name seemeth to have in it an Eye or Cast of Greek and Latine.
1677   R. Plot Nat. Hist. Oxford-shire 279   A true blue dye, having an eye of red.
1699   J. Evelyn Kalendarium Hortense (ed. 9) 67   A natural Earth, with an Eye of Loam in it.

1567—1699(Hide quotations)


 b. The transparency and lustre of a pearl or precious stone; = water n. 28. Obsolete.

1699   A. Boyer Royal Dict. at Oeil   Perles qui ont un bel Oeil (ou une belle eau), Pearls that have a fine Eye or Water.
1736   N. Bailey et al. Dictionarium Britannicum (ed. 2)    Eye, the lustre and brilliant of pearls and precious stones, more usually call'd the water.

1699—1736(Hide quotations)


a. A pair of spectacles. Cf. glass eye n. 1a. In later use only in plural. Obsolete.

1568  (?a1518)    W. Kennedy Poems (2008) 4   In thy bag thow beir thyne Ene.
1663   J. Wright tr. H. Grotius in Sales Epigrammatum 108   You hardly with your pocket eyes do see: Lay them a side, and you stark blind will be.
1699   A. Boyer Royal Dict. (at cited word)   Eyes, (or Spectacles) Yeux, ou Lunettes. If I will read, I must take my Eyes, Si je veux lire, il faut que je prenne mes yeux.
1786   A. M. Bennett Juvenile Indiscretions I. 62   I must put on my eyes..yes, I see I was mistaken.
1853   T. Shone Jrnl. 23 July (1992) 177   I left my eyes at Bathurst; I was obliged to go back. Mrs Nelson gave me my eyes and my stick.

1568—1853(Hide quotations)


 b. An imitation of a natural eye, esp. one made of glass; = artificial eye n. at artificial adj. and n. Compounds 2. Cf. false adj. 13d, glass eye n. 2. See also cat's-eye n. 5.

[1567   G. Fenton tr. M. Bandello Certaine Tragicall Disc. f. 296v   A visarne or false beard of blacke heare curled like the Mauretyne, with a paire of counterfaite eyes of glasse.
1630   M. Drayton Muses Elizium vi. 61   A piece of Silke, wherein there lyes For the decay'd, false Breasts, false Teeth, false Eyes.]
1750   tr. C. N. Le Cat Physical Ess. Senses 219   The Bottom of this Eye was extended on a transparent Paper perfectly plain.
1819   Encycl. Londinensis XVI. 601/1   When the legs and head are stuffed, the cavity of the skull filled with very dry moss, and the eyes fixed, wires are to be passed through the inside of the body.
1860   All Year Round 21 Apr. 35   A laborious class Who earn painful bread by fashioning dolls' eyes.
1896   Glass & Pottery World Mar. 8/1   The processes used in manufacturing eyes for stuffed animals are far more simple than those employed in the manufacture of artificial human eyes.
1908   C. K. Reed & C. A. Reed Guide to Taxidermy (new ed.) ii. 65   The eyes that you want for a jay are No. 6 brown.
1965   W. H. Billman Cent. in Hot Water 54   In the midst of one burst of applause Joey's eye fell out.
2010   Bangor (Maine) Daily News (Nexis) 27 July c5   When she sold her first pair of eyes and received positive feedback from the buyer she knew she had a product other crafters wanted.

1750—2010(Hide quotations)


 a. Architecture. The central section of a design, esp. of a volute.

1611   R. Peake tr. S. Serlio 4th Bk. Archit. f. 34v   When the Capitall of this Ionica is made, you must make the Volutes, which shall bee made by the line..: and when you leaue the Abacus vnderneath foure parts, then the first part shall be for the eye.
1664   J. Evelyn tr. R. Fréart Parallel Antient Archit. i. xxiv. 58   Where the Cymatium encounters the List of the Scroul make a perpendicular line so as it may pass through the very Center of the Eye of this Voluta.
1728   E. Chambers Cycl.   Eye of the Volute, in Architecture, is the Centre of the Volute, or that Point wherein the Helix, or Spiral, whereof it is form'd, commences.
1774   T. Skaife Key Civil Archit. xxxviii. 172   The..last consideration is the falling of the twist from the streight rail to the eye of the scroll, which must be done in such a manner that it shall appear with ease and beauty.
1842   J. Gwilt Encycl. Archit. Gloss. 971   Eye, a general term signifying the centre of any part: thus the eye of a pediment is a circular window in its centre. The eye of a dome is the horizontal aperture on its summit. The eye of a volute is the circle at the centre, from whose circumference the spiral line commences.
a1878   G. G. Scott Lect. Mediæval Archit. (1879) II. 262   The dome [of the Baptistery at Florence] had formerly an eye, like the Pantheon, but now has a lantern turret.
1919   H. L. Warren Found. Classic Archit. v. 344   The eye of the volute, which is sunk, probably contained a bronze boss.
2001   G. J. Champoux tr. J. Borella Secret of Christian Way vi. 112   This dome is often pierced with an opening, the ‘eye of the dome’, which represents a veritable celestial doorway through which the ray of Divine Grace descends.

1611—2001(Hide quotations)


b. Conchology. The umbilicus or apex of a gastropod shell. Obsolete. rare.

1755   Gentleman's Mag. Jan. 32/1   Volute, is that twist of spirals which winds round the axis or columella, diminishing by degrees, and ending in a point called the eye.
1755   Gentleman's Mag. Jan. 34/1   The eye [of the shell] is perfectly white, and shaped like a nipple.

1755—1755(Hide quotations)


a. Typography. The part of a piece of type which has the form of the letter; = face n. 21a. In quot. 1730   also: the size of a printed character. Obsolete.

1611   R. Cotgrave Dict. French & Eng. Tongues   Matrice, a..letter-founders, Matrice; the mould or forme for the eyes of their markes, or letters.
1730   N. Bailey et al. Dictionarium Britannicum   Eye, (with Printers) is sometimes used for the thickness of the types or characters used in Printing; or more strictly the graving in relievo on the top or face of letter.
1766   Monthly Rev. Mar. 180   The new oils..adhere so firmly to the types, that it is not easily dissolved by the alkaline ley, and consequently the eye of the letter is soon clogged up.

1611—1766(Hide quotations)


 b. The enclosed space surrounded by the form of certain letters, as d, e, o, etc.

1676   J. Moxon Regulæ Trium Ordinum 22   In the Parallel of 23 draw a line for the Eye, from the inside of e to the outside on the right hand.
1877   E. V. Kenealy Trial Sir Roger Tichborne III. 91/2   The letter ‘e’ is like the letter ‘i’, and it is his habit in writing to close the eye of the letter ‘e’.
1900   Irish Times 19 May 6/3   Handwriting... Don't break your words on any account. Make the eye of the letter e larger.
2002   B. Dekeyzer in B. Cardon et al. Als Ich Can I. 454   In a book of hours conserved in Vienna, the representation is in the eye of the letter D.

1676—2002(Hide quotations)


c. Advertising. An eye-catching line at the top of a printed advertisement. Obsolete. rare.

1924   J. McKechnie Rational Bk.-keeping viii. 111   In advertising, the line at the top is called the ‘eye’ of an advertisement.

1924—1924(Hide quotations)


 a. A central depression or recess in the middle of a furnace where the heat is likely to be greatest; the hottest part at the centre of a furnace.Cf. sense 9e.

1727   P. Shaw & E. Chambers tr. H. Boerhaave New Method Chem. 63   A quantity of very pure gold being placed in the eye of a glass-furnace, wherein was a very great flame.
1802   Anti-Jacobin Rev. & Mag. Feb. 113   We know nothing that resembles the sun more than an Argand's lamp, or the eye of a blast-furnace.
1902   N. Amer. Rev. June 734   It glowed like the eye of a furnace.
1920   Brit. Patent 143,125 1   A glasshouse furnace... The eye may be tapered so that its diameter at the siege is smaller than at the bottom.
1983   Poetry Dec. 155   He smelled like ash in the blast furnace's eye.

1727—1983(Hide quotations)


b. The bright area inside a furnace that can be viewed through a sight hole. Obsolete. rare.

1884   W. H. Greenwood Steel & Iron vii. 126   A small slide containing a glass or mica plate, through which the state of the furnace may be observed; the bright spot thus seen is known as the ‘eye of the furnace’.
1904   G. F. Goodchild & C. F. Tweney Technol. & Sci. Dict. 213/2   Eye of a furnace, the bright red spot in the hearth of a blast furnace seen through the nose of a tuyère by means of a mica-faced sight hole.

1884—1904(Hide quotations)


 20. The centre of an eddy or vortex. Also †to open its eye : (of a cloud) to break around its centre (obsolete). Now chiefly in the eye of the storm (also hurricane) at Phrases 3g.

1758   J. Adams tr. A. de Ulloa Voy. S.-Amer. II. ii. iii. 213   The cloud..begins, according to the sailors phrase, to open its eye, i.e. the cloud breaks, and the part of the horizon where it was formed becomes clear.
1852   F. P. B. Martin Mem. Equinoctial Storms i. 13   These two Steamers must have been nearly midway in the central Storm's-eye on the 28th.
1867   F. Francis Bk. Angling v. 144   The eye of the stream..is always the most favourable spot for fish. By the eye I mean the first good eddy on the inside of any stream after it commences its shoot.
1961   N.Y. Times 17 June 20/3   The king who looks into the whirlpool's eye.
1989   C. Martin & G. Parker Spanish Armada (1999) iii. xii. 219   The true sequence of events was revealed in 1968 when the wreck of the Santa Maria was located in deep water at the eye of the tide race.
2010   P. O'Brien Hurricanes & Tornadoes 14   The plane loses altitude and is tossed about before it reaches the calmness of the eye.

1758—2010(Hide quotations)


 21. Nautical. In plural. The extreme forward part of the bows of a ship or boat, where the hawse-holes are located; (also occasionally) the hawse-holes themselves. Chiefly in the eyes of the ship (also the eyes of her , etc.).

1780   Boyer's Dictionnaire Royal (rev. ed.) II. 239/2   Eyes of a ship, parties du vaisseau qui sont voisines des écubiers.
1836   J. F. Cooper Homeward Bound II. vii. 108   Paul..seated himself directly in the eyes of the boat, with a leg hanging down on each side of the cutwater.
1840   F. Marryat Poor Jack xxii. 156   Being right in the eyes of her..we could [etc.].
1878   D. Kemp Man. Yacht & Boat Sailing 343   Eyes of her, the extreme fore end of the ship near the hawse pipes, which are the ‘eyes of her’.
1890   W. C. Russell Ocean Trag. II. xix. 134   Sleeping as he did, right in the ‘eyes’, he got the very full of the motion.
1908   Westm. Gaz. 29 Apr. 4/1   There was also a man in the look-out—at what was called the eyes of the ship.
1919   Gettysburg (Pa.) Compiler 14 June 4/3   Now, this striper takes me up in the eyes and shows me a little gadget, where all you had to do was press a doohickey, turn over a gimick, and blooey—it would sink every tin fish within a mile.
1969   F. Mowat Boat who wouldn't Float (1976) xi. 123   Hanging in the eyes of the ship, like a modern version of a baronial coat-of-mail, was Jack's steel and elastic corset.
2001   R. Gambee Nantucket Impressions ii. 34/2   The catboat..is purely an American design, with its mast far forward in the ‘eyes’ of the boat.

1780—2001(Hide quotations)


 a. The centre of a target; = bull's-eye n. 7. Also in figurative contexts.

1818   Asiatic Jrnl. & Monthly Reg. Mar. 237/1   No arrow was accounted a shot, but that which dislodged the eye from the target.
1839   J. H. Ingraham Captain Kyd I. i. i. 26   The shaft, loosened from the string, cut the air and buried itself in the very centre of the golden eye of the target.
1875   E. H. Knight Amer. Mech. Dict. II. 819/1   Eye,..8. The center of a target. A bull's-eye.
1954   PMLA 69 786   ‘The arrow of the word is launched, the sharp winged arrow of the word that whirs through the air’ and pierces the eye of the target.
2009   H. Mantel Wolf Hall iii. ii. 253   Using his height, the beautiful trained muscles of his arms, shoulders and chest, he sends his arrows snapping straight to the eye of the target.

1818—2009(Hide quotations)


 (a) In plural. Mining. A reserve of ore left in a mine to be worked at a later date (as when other ore is becoming scarce or inaccessible). Chiefly in to pick the eyes out and variants: to remove such a reserve; (also) to remove all the extractable ore during the initial working, leaving no reserve; to remove ore that is most easily extracted or of the highest quality.

1839   H. T. De la Beche Rep. Geol. Cornwall 561   The ores thus left in various places are often termed the eyes of the mine; and when it may be necessary, in abandoning the mine,..to remove them, it is termed, picking out the eyes of the mine.
1854   Mining Mag. 3 254   In the latter stage of the old workings little more appears to have been done than picking the eyes out of the mine.
1855   J. R. Leifchild Cornwall: Mines & Miners 148   By thus picking out the eyes, and sending them to market, a fictitious value is sometimes imparted to shares.
1870   Van Nostrand's Eclectic Engin. Mag. Mar. 290/1   We ‘pick out the eyes of our mines’, to use a Cornish expression, at the close of every shipping season.
1939   Jrnl. Land & Public Utility Econ. 15 26/1   A prospector who finds a small deposit will develop and exploit it as rapidly as possible to obtain a grubstake... He appears to give the most frequent example of..what the American engineers more expressively term ‘gutting’ or ‘picking the eyes out’ of a deposit.
1997   Afr. Econ. Hist. No. 25. 152   By granting long term concessions to large companies, the mining policy of the Congo ensured that the deposits would not be wasted by the short term practice of high-grading or ‘picking the eyes of the mine’.

1839—1997(Hide quotations)


 (b) Australian and New Zealand. A desirable portion of a piece of land. Frequently in to pick (also take) the eyes out of (or from) .

1865   Ararat Advertiser (Victoria) 13 June   Sections were taken up and the ‘eye picked from the area’.
1865   Australasian 23 June   The great prizes—the allotments which were the eyes of the runs.
1891   R. Wallace Rural Econ. Austral. & N.Z. i. 24   The original settlers..had in colonial phraseology ‘picked the eyes out of the country’ in making their selection.
1945   S. J. Baker Austral. Lang. iii. 56   The word eye became the epitome of all that was choice in land.
1975   X. Herbert Poor Fellow my Country 786   The general idea is they'll pick the eyes out of the land, and that you're helpin' 'em.
2005   R. Siemon Eccentric Mr Wienholt iii. 48   This usually brought instant taunts about his being a member of the squattocracy whose family picked the eyes out of the country.

1865—2005(Hide quotations)


c. The dense central mass of a shoal of fish. to break the eye : to cause a shoal to break up when fishing with nets. Obsolete.

1864   Intellect. Observer 5 371   The net being drawn through a ‘scull’ or shoal of the fish, breaks what is called the eye of the fish.
1867   W. H. Smyth & E. Belcher Sailor's Word-bk. 284   Eyght, the thickest part of a scule of herrings; when this is scattered by the fishermen, it is termed ‘breaking the ey’.
1882   Glasgow Herald 21 July 8/6   Into a creek in the bay of Brevig..there came an ‘eye’ or shoal of saithe fish so great as to afford simply miraculous hauls.
1907   N. Munro Clyde xxi. 178   Two skiffs combine to run a net round the shoal or ‘eye’ of fish.

1864—1907(Hide quotations)


 d. The principal mass of lean meat in a rasher of bacon, cutlet, etc.

1904   Ann. Rep. Live Stock Assoc. Ont. 94 in Ann. Rep. Dept. Agric. Ont. (1905) II   The carcass showed an exceptionally large ‘eye’ of lean meat.
1951   S. Bull Meat for Table vii. 77   The eye is more tender than the remainder of the bottom round and may be fried.
1959   Times 30 Mar. 10/7   The eye of lean on the all important..back rasher was good in both breeds.
1966   Guardian 22 July 10   The noisettes of lamb are..the small circular eye of meat in the cutlet.
1995   Gourmet Mar. 152/1   For this recipe, the rack of lamb is frenched all the way down to the eye of the meat.
2006   New Yorker 1 May 47/3   This was the meat encased by the first four ribs, the ‘eye’ of the chops.

1904—2006(Hide quotations)


 23. Any mechanical or electrical device resembling an eye in function or appearance. Cf. electric eye n., magic eye n.

1858   Notices Proc. Royal Inst. Great Brit. 2 462   In other words, is the photographic eye more sensitive than the living eye?
1899   Westm. Gaz. 17 Jan. 5/2   Various experiments are being carried out in order to provide these vessels with ‘eyes’, and notably with an apparatus known as the periscope.
1933   Pop. Sci. Monthly Sept. 11/3   Batteries of the television eyes are likely to take their places alongside the microphones of radio announcers at sports events.
1955   Sci. News Let. 15 Oct. 243/1   Humans are still needed to direct the plane until the 15-mile limit, when its radar ‘eyes’ spot the attacking bomber.
1974   H. Harrison Men from P.I.G. & R.O.B.O.T. 91   The viewscreen, using the robot's eyes as pickups, was filled with the angry face of the newcomer.
2002   N.Y. Times Mag. 7 July 32/1   His main project..was a robot eye attached to the Internet, which visitors from afar could control. It was one of the first-ever Webcams.

1858—2002(Hide quotations)


 24. Painting, Sculpture, etc. The rounded sweep along the lower edge of a loose fold in drapery. Now rare.

1859   T. J. Gullick & J. Timbs Painting 201   ‘Eyes’, as the abrupt terminations of the longitudinal division of folds are named.
1904   G. W. Rhead Treatm. Drapery in Art ii. 9 (caption)    Showing arrangement of the planes round the eyes of the drapery.
1940   B. Putnam Sculptor's Way x. 254   Try pinning up a cloth in various ways, and sketching the various folds, accentuating the ‘eyes’ as most of the old masters did in their studies of drapery.

1859—1940(Hide quotations)



 P1. Prepositional phrases.

 a. at first eye: at first sight. In early use †at eye. Now rare.

1548   W. Patten Exped. Scotl. sig. H.j   Our Captains that wear behinde, perceyuinge at eye that..they were not able to ony aduauntage to mainteine this onset.
a1605  (c1471)    Hist. Arrival King Edward IV (1838) 38   It appered to every mann at eye the sayde partie was extincte.
a1682   Sir T. Browne Let. to Friend (1690) 5   A weak Physiognomist might say at first eye, This was a Face of Earth.
1832   Freeman's Jrnl. (Dublin) 24 Oct.   I gained the interior of a cabin. I at first eye was below the level of its surface.
1986   New York 6 Jan. 113/4 (advt.)    It was love at first eye, but no overtures were made because we were otherwise engaged.

1548—1986(Hide quotations)


 b. before one's eyes: see before adv., prep., conj., and n. Phrases 4a.


(a) by the eye: in unlimited quantity, without stint. Obsolete.

a1500  (?a1400)    Tale King Edward & Shepherd (Cambr.) (1930) l. 477 (MED)   This cuppe hit hat Lonycoll..Fill it be þe ee, i þe pray.
?1521   Bk. Ghoostly Fader sig. B.ivv   Unreasonably to drynke wyne and ale With hey howe fyll the pot by the eye And this is called euery good company.
c1592   C. Marlowe Jew of Malta iii. iv   Thou shalt have broth by the eye.
1613   F. Beaumont Knight of Burning Pestle ii. sig. D2   Here's mony and gold bi'th eie my boy.

a1500—1613(Hide quotations)


 (b) by eye (also by the eye): see sense 7.

 d. Phrases with in.

 (i) in the eye(s) of : in the opinion, estimation, or judgement of (a person, group, etc.); formerly also with †on, †to. Similarly in the eyes of the world.in the public eye: see public adj. and n. Compounds 1b.

OE (Northumbrian)   Lindisf. Gospels: Matt. xxi. 42   A domino factum est istud et est mirabile in oculis nostris : from drihtnen was ðis & is wundurlic in egum usum [OE Rushw. in egum urum, OE Corpus Cambr. on urum eagum].
OE   Wærferð tr. Gregory Dialogues (Corpus Cambr.) (1900) i. v. 47   Þonne hi [sc. þa eadmodan] geseoð hi sylfe yfellice on þara manna eagum, hi þæs þonne gefeoð, forþon þe hi witon, þæt hi wile God geseon, þeah hi men forseon.
a1450  (c1410)    H. Lovelich Hist. Holy Grail xviii. l. 71   The stones weren so preciowse to his eye.
a1500  (c1340)    R. Rolle Psalter (Univ. Oxf. 64) (1884) Prol. 3   The psalmes..kyndils thaire willes..makand thaim..faire and lufly in cristi eghen.
1547   J. Harrison Exhort. Scottes Pref. sig. a.ijv   A Ciuill warre..: a thyng..pernicious to the parties, and no lesse straunge in the iyes of reasonable men.
1597   W. Shakespeare Richard III iii. vii. 112   Some offence, That seemes disgracious in the Citties eies.  View more context for this quotation
1645   E. Udall Serm. 37 in J. Shute Judgem. & Mercy   To his sad disconsolate wife, mourning too too much, in his eye [etc.].
1659   B. Harris tr. J. N. de Parival Hist. Iron Age ii. i. xviii. 206   The King..became more considerable in the eyes of the World, then any of his predecessors.
1766   O. Goldsmith Vicar of Wakefield II. ix. 128   No other marriage of his shall ever be legal in my eye.
1882   W. Ballantine Some Exper. Barrister's Life xix. 185   He was a man of mark in the eyes of my family.
1901   N. Amer. Rev. Feb. 212   This patricide policy will appear unpardonable in the eyes of future generations.
1944   J. Mockford Here are South Africans 93   In the eyes of Paul Kruger..these gold grabbers were uitlanders, outlanders, foreigners.
2007   Independent 28 Feb. 17/1   The North Face of the Eiger ranks alongside Mt Everest as one of the two big ticks in mountaineering, at least in the eyes of the public.

OE—2007(Hide quotations)


 (ii) in the eye(s) of the law : according to the terms or rules of the law; in the law's regard; also †in the eye of law. Similarly in the eye of logic, in the eyes of common sense, etc.

?1538   Inst. Lawes Eng. sig. Giv   An action of det, an action of accompte of couenaunt or of trespace: these and suche lyke be in the eye of the lawe manumissions.
1628   E. Coke 1st Pt. Inst. Lawes Eng. f. 58   Court baron..in the eye of Law it hath relation to the Freeholders, who are Judges of the Court.
1761   D. Hume Hist. Eng. II. xxxvi. 286   Persons not lying under..attainder were innocent in the eye of the law.
1814   S. T. Coleridge Lett. II. 635   Jack, Tom, and Harry have no existence in the eye of the law, except as included in some form or other of the permanent property of the realm.
1869   E. A. Freeman Hist. Norman Conquest III. xiii. 281   In the eye either of logic or of sound morals, his fabric was but as a house of cards.
1907   Standard 21 Mar. 8/2   He is paranoic, and while insane, he is not insane in the eyes of the law, for, strictly speaking, he knows the nature and quality of his acts.
1958   R. K. Narayan Guide x. 199   He had absolved many a public swindler in the public eye and in the eye of the law.
1995   Homiletic & Pastoral Rev. Jan. 23/1   Women will never be equal to men in the eyes of the law until and unless women possess the right to become unpregnant.

?1538—1995(Hide quotations)


 (iii) beauty is in the eye of the beholder and variants: beauty is not judged objectively, but according to personal estimation; (more generally) something which one person finds attractive or admirable may not appeal to another. Hence of other qualities: to be in the eye of the beholder .  [Compare Hellenistic Greek ἠ̂ γὰρ ἔρωτι πολλάκις..τὰ μὴ καλὰ καλὰ πέφανται ‘for in the eyes of love that which is not beautiful often seems beautiful’ (Theocritus Idyll 6. 18)] .

1630   Bp. J. Hall Occas. Medit. xxxviii. 94   Outward beauty is more in the eye of the beholder, then in the face that is seene.
1652   W. Jenkyn Expos. Jude: 1st Pt. vi. 508   Outward evils are but appearing, and opinionative, and all their deformity is in the eye of the beholder.
1733   P. Shaw tr. F. Bacon Disc. War with Spain in Philos. Wks. II. 187   The old Observation is true, that the Spaniards Valour lies in the Eye of the Looker on; but the English Valour lies about the Soldier's Heart.
1774   O. Goldsmith Hist. Earth II. 265   Beauty seems a very uncertain charm; and frequently is less in the object, than in the eye of the beholder.
1847   C. Brontë Jane Eyre II. ii. 45   Most true is it that ‘beauty is in the eye of the gazer’.
1883   Life 25 Jan. 37/2   The editor explained to him that as beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, so does praise in the recipient's ear.
1917   Camera Craft Apr. 151   I know too well the old retort that modesty and indecency are all in the eye of the beholder.
1989   Forbes (Nexis) 21 Aug. 44   Value, as any metaphysicist knows, is in the eye of the beholder.
2012   Sunday Times (Nexis) 30 Dec. 7   Many people like the look of wind turbines—beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

1630—2012(Hide quotations)


(b) in one's eye : = in one's mind's eye at mind n.1 19b(a). Obsolete.

?1567   Def. Priestes Mariages 257   More happie is he, whose nature, grace hath reformed, to haue God alone alwaies in his eye.
1600   P. Holland tr. Livy Rom. Hist. vi. 228   How could they chuse, but have still in their eie the armie of the Gaules, clambring up the Cliffe Tarpeia?
c1680   W. Beveridge Serm. (1729) I. 411   He must always have it in his eye.
1713   G. Berkeley in Guardian 14 May 1/1   The Sages whom I have in my Eye speak of Virtue as the most amiable thing in the World.
1726   G. Leoni tr. L. B. Alberti Architecture II. 55 b   Some had nothing in their eye, but adorning that which was to contain the body.
1791   ‘G. Gambado’ Ann. Horsemanship To Rdr. p. iv   Having the safety of man's neck in my eye.

?1567—1791(Hide quotations)


(c) in the eye: in appearance. Obsolete.

1598   F. Meres Palladis Tamia f. 200   Those kingdoms & cities which the diuell shewed to our Sauiour Christ vpon the mountaine, were not true riches, but fantasticall and sightly in the eye.
a1622   J. Randall 29 Lect. of Church (1631) ix. 142   The Church was distinguished in it selfe in many respects, the last whereof was this, in regard of the outward state of it in the eye and appearance to the World.
1684   R. Howlett School Recreat. 117   Mark out the Head of your Pond, and make it the highest part of the Ground in the eye, tho' it be the lowest in the true Level.

1598—1684(Hide quotations)


 e. through the eye(s) of : from the viewpoint or perspective of; as seen or viewed by (a particular person or group). Cf. with the eye(s) of at Phrases 1h(b).In later use esp. with reference to the narrator or protagonist of a book or film.

1685   M. Bryan Certainty Future Judgm. asserted & Proved 17   The Judge..is to proceed secundum allegata & probata, according to the Evidence, whether true or false, for he sees through the eyes of others: and so every one may not have Justice done him.
1794   T. Packer Goliath Slain 21   Perhaps you intended this letter for your numerous followers only: it may suit those who have no eyes of their own, but must see through the eye of their leader.
1841   C. E. Lester Glory & Shame Eng. I. 209   In every instance the proprietors and overlookers, who led me round, wished me to look at every thing through their eyes.
1870   O. Logan Before Footlights (title page)   Exhibiting the ‘show world’ as seen from within, through the eyes of the former actress, as well as from without, through the eyes of the present lecturer and author.
1899   Daily News 26 Oct. 7/1   Looking..at the old Homeland through the eyes of Young Australia.
1916   Current Opinion Apr. 283/2   The ‘Spoon River Anthology’..portrays the life of a country town as seen through the eyes of a criminal lawyer.
1971   Chicago Daily Defender 16 Feb. 10/1   ‘Groovin’, a film depicting the dangers and motivations of ‘pot’ smoking as examined through the eyes of 14-18 year olds.
2003   A. Notaro Back after Break vii. 70   The idea was to try and see the world through their eyes and look at the pluses and minuses of being a gay man in Ireland in the new millennium.

1685—2003(Hide quotations)


 f. under (also beneath) the eye(s) of : under the observation or attention of; also with modifying adjective.

[?1596   J. Dickenson Shepheardes Complaint sig. A4   A Snake slilie creeping into the foolish birds late forsaken nest deuoured the sillie yonglings not garded as before with the warie Mothers watchfull eie.]
1641   J. Milton Animadversions 36   He..hath yet ever had this Iland under the speciall indulgent eye of his providence.
1668   P. Rycaut Present State Ottoman Empire (new ed.) i. xv. 68   The inhabited Cities..are immediately under the eye of a vigilant Commander.
1729   T. Prior List Absentees of Ireland 55   We have discover'd a long Scene of Running of Brandy, even in our Metropolis, where Officers abound, and are under the immediate Eye of the Commissioners.
1782   Lady's Mag. Jan. 45/1   So shall our babes in safety dwell Beneath thy watchful eye.
1824   T. Medwin Conv. with Byron (1832) I. 53   I had..fallen under the eye of the Government.
1886   Times 8 Feb. 7/4   His vigilance unmasked what..turned out to be slavery in all respects carried on under the very eyes of the British authorities.
1906   U. Sinclair Jungle v. 67   You might easily pick out these pace-makers, for they worked under the eyes of the bosses, and they worked like men possessed.
1953   D. Whipple Someone at Distance xxv. 219   There was only that glance at her mother to see if she would pass muster under the eyes of the Weston girls and the Mowbrays.
2006   N. Plakcy & S. Sakson Paws & Reflect 55   I grew up under the watchful eye of a sweet Kerry Blue Terrier.

1641—2006(Hide quotations)

 g. up to the (also one's) eyes .

 (a) With in: immersed or involved deeply or to the limit in; extremely busy with. Chiefly figurative.

1607   R. West Court of Conscience sig. F3   Vp to the very eyes in durt and mire, Bridewell hath often paid you for your hire.
1761   tr. Voltaire Crit. Ess. Dramatic Poetry 83   She was up to the eyes in love; and that's what has made her fortune.
1809   J. W. Croker in L. J. Jennings Croker Papers 12 Oct. (1884) I   I am..up to my eyes in business, the extent of which is quite terrific.
1859   J. Kavanagh Seven Years (1860) 309   The scrivener gravely asked for her mother, and found the good lady up to her eyes in soap-water.
1916   V. Bell Lett. (1993) 195   Clive doesn't write at all, only a line to say he's up to his eyes in politics.
1998   J. White Diary Darren Tackle p. xii   You read in the papers about how much we're pulling down and you think we're buried in cash, up to our eyes in wallop.
2006   I. Rankin Naming of Dead xvii. 249   ‘Profits made’, Rebus added, ‘from selling to dodgy dictators and spit-poor nations already up to their eyes in debt.’

1607—2006(Hide quotations)


 (b) Very much; completely, extensively; to the limit, to a very great degree. Frequently with preceding adjective. Occasionally without up. Cf. up to the hilt at hilt n. 3. painted up to the eyes: heavily made-up with cosmetics.

1672   J. Eachard Let. 22 in Mr. Hobbs's State Nature Considered   To eat Custards with spoons was abominably scandalous, but to be engag'd in Sack-possett up to the eyes, with Ladles, was Christian, Orthodox, and Brotherly.
1786   E. Sheridan Let. 2 July (1960) 91   Miss or Mrs McCartney who was sitting with her poor palsied head dress'd with flowers and painted up to the eyes.
1848   E. Ruskin Let. in W. James Order of Release (1948) v. 114   Lady Morgan who is..painted up to the eyes.
1866   A. Trollope Claverings (1867) I. viii. 97   All the Burtons are full up to their eyes with good sense.
1883   C. Reade in Harper's Mag. July 206/2   A neighbour's estate, mortgaged up to the eyes, was sold under the hammer.
1885   A. Dobson At Sign of Lyre 4   The ladies of St. James's! They're painted to the eyes.
1949   A. Wilson Wrong Set 89   Daisy's up to her eyes at the minute trying to jog the local party into action.
1966   G. Ryga Ballad Stone-picker 109   On Saturday night you can still hear him coming down the road from town, beered up to the eyes.
1993   R. Murphy Smash & Grab i. 14/1   Worby took a job as a lorry driver and at a transport café met the road girls, ‘painted up to the eyes’.

1672—1993(Hide quotations)


 (a) with all one's eyes (also with all the eyes in one's head , etc.): with an intense or keen gaze, intently; with full attention.

1483   W. Caxton tr. J. de Voragine Golden Legende f. cclxxviv/1   The good man receyued it [sc. a relic of St Augustine]..in grete reuerence, and honoured hit euery day deuoutely, and touched with all his eyen.
1548   N. Udall et al. tr. Erasmus Paraphr. Newe Test. I. Matt. Pref. f. iijv   Ought with all the iyen in their heades to watche.
1675   V. Alsop Anti-Sozzo iii. 203   Take the Book and read with all the Eyes you have, and can borrow, and there you shall find the clear contrary.
1694   L. Echard tr. Plautus Rudens ii. ii, in tr. Plautus Comedies 165   I've been searching with all the Eyes i'my Head, to find out my Master.
1769   H. Brooke Fool of Quality IV. xvii. 218   Homely gazed with all his eyes, and stood mute through astonishment.
1798   R. M. Roche Clermont I. ii. 25   She stared at him with all the eyes in her head, which perhaps drove him away.
1860   W. H. Russell My Diary in India 1858–9 II. xiii   I looked with all my eyes, but they failed to detect any difference.
1898   Argosy Sept. 290   The engineer, who was watching the advent of the storm with all his eyes.
1925   M. Leary Lifetime with Mark Twain 63   He set there all alone, where he could look at Miss Langdon with all his eyes.
1995   W. H. Turner Chesapeake Boyhood (1997) 227   I looked with all my eyes and I had my gun with me, and I shot right where I heard the noise and it shut right up.

1483—1995(Hide quotations)


 (b) with the eye(s) of : from the viewpoint or perspective of; as if one were (another person).

1596   ‘L. Pyott’ tr. A. Sylvain Orator 205   Behold the one or the other [of the children] with the eie of a mother in law.
1694   tr. G. P. Marana Lett. Turkish Spy VI. iii. viii. 214   I advise thee to read it with the Eyes of a Stoick; That is, whether it pleases thee or not, regard it not farther than it agrees with Reason.
1742   A. Pope New Dunciad 526   Self-conceit to some her Glass applies, Which no one looks in with another's eyes.
1819   Ld. Byron Don Juan: Canto I lxviii. 37   I can't tell whether Julia saw the affair With other people's eyes, or if her own Discoveries made.
1907   Fortn. Rev. Feb. 302   The ability to put himself in another's place, to look at things with another's eyes.
1973   G. M. Brown Magnus vii. 139   If..we could look with the eye of an angel on the whole history of men..it would have the brevity and beauty of this dance at the altar.
2007   Alcalde (Univ. Texas) Mar.–Apr. 19/1   I..try to see it with the eyes of a first-time visitor or freshman.

1596—2007(Hide quotations)

 P2. Phrases with verbs.

 a. to be all eyes : to watch attentively, be keenly observant; to be alert and vigilant. Cf. to be all ears at ear n.1 Phrases 2a. Also simply (as a command) all eyes.

a1616   W. Shakespeare Tempest (1623) iv. i. 59   No tongue: all eyes: be silent.  View more context for this quotation
1640   R. West in E. Chilmead tr. J. Ferrand Ερωτομανια sig. b8   Cupid is now turn'd Man; and is all eyes; Tis only hard to Love, and not be Wise.
1662   R. Codrington tr. G. Ruggle Ignoramus ii. v. sig. G4v   Tri. We will fright him hence; Be you but vigilant and lie close, and we shall doe well enough. Ant. I will be all eyes my Trico.
1762   W. Harris Hist. & Crit. Acct. Life O. Cromwell 422   Cromwell was all eyes. He saw every thing, he judged of every thing.
1800   A. Plumptre tr. A. von Kotzebue Sketch Life & Lit. Career 23   The curtain drew up: I was all eyes, all ears. Not a word, a look, or an attitude, escaped me.
1906   N.Y. Herald 21 Jan. (Comic section) 1   Nemo was all eyes and no ears and the result was a delightful excursion into the grandest region ever dreamed of.
2002   J. McGahern That they may face Rising Sun (2003) 173   When Patrick Ryan drew up in an expensive car that dropped him at the church gate he was all eyes.

a1616—2002(Hide quotations)


 b. to believe one's (own) eyes    [compare Middle French, French en croire ses yeux (end of the 12th cent. in Old French)] : to believe or accept what one is seeing. Chiefly in negative contexts. Cf. believe v. 3b.

1548   N. Udall et al. tr. Erasmus Paraphr. Newe Test. I. Luke xxiv. f. ccv   They did neither perfectly beleue theyr owne iyes, nor theyr eares, nor theyr handes.
1627   G. Hakewill Apologie iii. i. 155   Those which had seene him & knowne him before, could then scarce beleiue their owne eyes.
1764   T. Mortimer New Hist. Eng. I. vi. 482/1   Wallace, who narrowly watched all the motions of the English, could hardly believe his eyes when he saw them preparing to cross the river.
1807   C. Lamb Tales from Shakespear I. 200   Lear at first could not believe his eyes or ears, nor that it was his daughter who spoke so unkindly.
1877   Spirit of Times 24 Nov. 441/3   I could scarcely believe my eyes, as I saw him galloping over the hill out of sight.
1922   L. F. Perkins Sc. Twins 101   Jean was so astonished that for an instant she could not believe her own eyes.
2006   J. B. Quinn Smart & Simple Financial Strategies for Busy People vii. 170   Believe your own eyes. The research on index funds is right.

1548—2006(Hide quotations)

 c. to catch the (also a person's) eye .

 (a) Also to take (also strike, †fix) the eye . Of an object of attention: to become apparent to a person's sight, to attract someone's (esp. favourable) notice.to meet the eye: see meet v. 5b.

1585   Abp. E. Sandys Serm. To Rdr. sig. ¶3   Words spoken are soone come soone gon but written withall,..by striking aswell the eye of the reader..may perse his heart the better.
1608   B. Jonson Masque of Blacknesse in Characters Two Royall Masques sig. A4v   Which decorum made it more conspicuous, and caught the eye a far of with a wandring beauty.
1634   Bp. J. Hall Contempl. Hist. New Test. (STC 12640.7) 209   Deformities and infirmities of body do more easily both draw and fix the eye then an ordinary symmetry of parts.
1715   J. Richardson Ess. Theory of Painting 62   The Death of Ananias..immediately takes the Eye.
1716   A. Pope Epist. Jervas in J. Dryden tr. C. A. du Fresnoy Art of Painting (ed. 2) sig. A7   Thy well-study'd Marbles fix our Eye.
1754   D. Hume Great Brit. I. 136   On the revival of letters..this false glister catches the eye, and leaves no room..for the durable beauties of solid sense and lively passion.
1820   J. Lingard Hist. Eng. IV. iii. 171   Their [sc. the king's agents] success..was emblazoned to catch the eye of the public.
1883   Cent. Mag. Aug. 629/1   Ah graceful sky-swung hawks that took The eye with beauty's curve in air.
1961   P. G. Wodehouse Ice in Bedroom 41   Dolly Molloy unquestionably took the eye.
1988   B. Orser Orser: Skater's Life i. 28   Although I missed the podium, I did catch the eye of the Canadian Figure Skating Association.
1992   Sporting Life 9 Oct. 11/4   Kings Fountain, a tall, good-looking sort, took the eye in the paddock with his well-being.

1585—1992(Hide quotations)


 (b) Of a person: to meet the glance of another with one's own, either by chance or design.to collect eyes: see to collect eyes at collect v. 1g.

1748   W. Whitehead Youth & Philosopher in R. Dodsley Coll. Poems II. 254   The charioteer drew nigh, And, flush'd with hope, had caught his eye.
1813   J. Austen Pride & Prejudice I. iii. 21   He looked for a moment at Elizabeth, till catching her eye, [etc.].
1866   A. Trollope Belton Estate I. v. 106   Clara caught her cousin's eye and smiled.
1883   ‘G. Lloyd’ Ebb & Flow I. 11   Here he caught Pauline's eye and stopped.
1936   G. Greene This Gun for Hire i. 15   ‘Oh yes,’ she said, catching the eye of a dago in a purple suit through the pane.
2006   N. S. Dhaliwal Tourism v. 76   Afterwards he'd idle in the steam room, or in the jacuzzi, watching the men, hoping to catch the eye of a chubby-chasing hunk.

1748—2006(Hide quotations)


d. to change eyes (with) : (as a poetical conceit) to exchange amorous glances (with). Also to mingle eyes . Obsolete (archaic in later use).

a1616   W. Shakespeare Antony & Cleopatra (1623) iii. xiii. 159   Would you mingle eyes With one that tyes his points.  View more context for this quotation
a1616   W. Shakespeare Tempest (1623) i. ii. 444   At the first sight They haue chang'd eyes .  View more context for this quotation
1651   W. Davenant Gondibert vii. 207   She thinks that Babes proceed from mingling Eies.
1896   F. S. Boas Shakspere & his Predecessors x. 203   Romeo has but to change eyes with Juliet, and his love in idleness for Rosaline is annihilated, only to give place to a far more absorbing passion.

a1616—1896(Hide quotations)


 e. to close an eye : to shut one's eyes in sleep, to go to sleep; (also) to relax one's concentration; similarly †to put (also lay) one's eyes together : to get to sleep. Chiefly in negative contexts.

1580   A. Munday Zelauto ii. 95   I could not lay mine eyes together for the ioy I conceyued.
1608   R. Tofte tr. L. Ariosto Satyres i. 5   His Page that dares not close an eie, Vntill the Bergamiskes industriously, Beat on their anuils.
1633   T. James Strange Voy. 36   Not one of them put his eyes together all the night long.
1639   R. Davenport New Tricke to cheat Divell iii. i. sig. Ev   Frier Bernard's fast, he snores and sleepes as Snug as any Pigge in Pease-straw; but my selfe Cannot once close an eye.
1657   J. Davies tr. H. D'Urfé Astrea I. 110   He was so intent upon this new growing love, that he had not closed an eye all the night.
1707   J. Stevens tr. F. de Quevedo Comical Wks. 405   He could not lay his Eyes together.
1750   Hist. Charlotte Summers I. iv. 52   I could scarce lay my Eyes together for thinking of their unhappy Fate.
1751   T. Smollett Peregrine Pickle I. xx. 149   All night long he closed not an eye, but amused himself with plans of pleasure.
1814   D. H. O'Brien Narr. Captiv. & Escape 132   I never closed an eye. The night at length elapsed.
1886   L. Morris Gycia iv. ii. 145   I have not closed an eye for the last two nights.
1904   R. Leighton Hurrah! for Spanish Main iv. 43   Go thou, then, back to bed; yet close not an eye or an ear, but attend to all they say.
1954   M. Chase Bernadine 27   My old lady never closes an eye till I get in.
1990   B. Joyce Conqueror 157   I did not close an eye, nor did I take one step from my post. This I swear, and if I speak false, let God smite me as I stand.

1580—1990(Hide quotations)


 f. to cry (also †weep, etc.) one's eyes out : to weep bitterly or at length. Cf. cry v. 10b, to cry one's heart out at heart n., int., and adv. Phrases 6c(b), and to weep out one's eyes heart at weep v. 8a.

a1450  (?c1421)    J. Lydgate Siege Thebes (Arun.) (1911) l. 1002 (MED)   His eyen out he wepe.
1566   W. Adlington tr. Apuleius .XI. Bks. Golden Asse i. ii. f. 2v   With face and visage bloubered with teares, in suche sorte that she hath welny wept out both her eies.
1655   T. Fuller Church-hist. Brit. i. 36   So blubber'd with Teares, that she may seem almost to have wept her Eyes out.
1696   tr. J. Dumont New Voy. Levant xv. 189   He'll e'en let 'em cry their Eyes out, without deigning to take notice of 'em.
1738   J. Swift Compl. Coll. Genteel Conversat. 27   I can't help it, if I would cry my Eyes out.
1808   G. Colman Blue Devils 17   Poor little heart! she'll cry her sweet pretty eyes out.
1891   T. Hardy Tess of the D'Urbervilles II. xxi. 4   The poor maid—or young woman rather—standing at the door crying her eyes out.
1919   ‘K. Mansfield’ Let. 1 Nov. (1993) III. 63   A wooden tray holding a manuscript..which is all spattered over with drops of rain & looks as though some sad mortal had cried his pretty eyes out over it.
1964   M. Stewart This Rough Magic (1965) i. 12   I saw it at Stratford, the last performance, and cried my eyes out over the ‘this rough magic I here abjure’ bit.
2005   Aspire Apr. 73/1   I was once at a funeral, sobbing my eyes out, when some muppet approached me.

a1450—2005(Hide quotations)


 g. Chiefly U.S. colloquial and regional (southern). to cut one's eyes (also eye) (at a person) : to cast a glance or glances (at a person), esp. furtively or coldly; to catch (a person's) glance; (Caribbean) to glance at (a person), catching the eye, and then deliberately turn away, as an insult. Also †to cut eyes .

1803   Boston Weekly Mag. 22 Oct. 211/2   The girls kept cutting their eyes at me—that was'nt more than I expected—I liked that—but whispering I do detest.
1827   L. Dow Jrnl. (1850) 177/2   Went to New York, took steamboat to New Brunswick thence stage No. 7, strangers crossed words and cut eyes.
1837   Southern Literary Messenger 3 233   ‘Why, we thought about here’ said he ‘that you were cutting your eye at Miss Gatty.’
1885   ‘C. E. Craddock’ Prophet Great Smoky Mountains xv. 288   Ter see him cut his blazin' eye aroun' at ye, ye'd low ez he'd never hearn o' grace.
1938   M. K. Rawlings Yearling xi. 102   Look at him cut his eyes.
1961   F. G. Cassidy Jamaica Talk vii. 137   A cut-eye is the action of ‘cutting’ the eye at someone by way of insult—that is, catching the person's eye, then deliberately turning one's own away.
2006   P. Williams-Forson Building Houses out of Chicken Legs i. v. 148   I have been witness to black women in church kitchens cutting their eyes at one another or arguing about whether or not a dish should be cooked a certain way.
2007   A. Theroux Laura Warholic xlvii. 786   She cut her eyes at Jeff coldly now, making the narrow slits watchful.

1803—2007(Hide quotations)


 h. to do (a person) in the eye : to defraud, injure, humiliate (a person). Cf. one in the eye at one adj., n., and pron. Phrases 4a. Now rare.

1891   J. M. Dixon Dict. Idiomatic Eng. Phrases 92   The jockey did your friend in the eye over that horse.
1908   Punch 20 May 367/1   Done in the eye again. What on earth do you expect?
1922   F. M. Ford Let. 12 Feb. (1965) 138   I have just caught a publisher out, doing me in the eye flagrantly over concealed profits.
1941   G. de Poncins & L. Galantière Kabloona (1942) ii. i. 128   It was only after they got back to the igloo, that, each time, Utak saw he had once again been done in the eye by his wife.
1985   E. Wright Death in Old Country i. 54   I just like to do Maud in the eye sometimes, Charlie.

1891—1985(Hide quotations)


(a) to give good eye: to pay close attention to, watch attentively. Also to bear good eyes upon . Obsolete.

a1475   J. Russell Bk. Nurture (Harl. 4011) in Babees Bk. (2002) i. 151   Looke ye bere good yȝes Vppon oþur connynge kervers.
1564   H. Middlemore tr. Let. Frenche Gentilwoman sig. Dvijv   There were good eye geuen, that ther came nere him, no contempnor of God.
1587   J. Hooker tr. Giraldus Cambrensis Vaticinall Hist. Conquest Ireland i. xli. 26/2 in Holinshed's Chron. (new ed.) II   Maurice Fitzgerald..gaue good eie and watched the matter verie narowlie.

a1475—1587(Hide quotations)


 (b) to give an eye to : to give a share of one's attention to.

1543   J. Bale Yet Course at Romyshe Foxe sig. Giijv   Thys coude not my lorde reprehende had he not an eye geuen to wyckednesse.
1614   W. Raleigh Hist. World iv. iv. §6. 249   Eumenes was so ouer-laboured both in bodie and minde, that he could not giue an eye to euery place.
1775   F. Spilsbury Treat. Method curing Gout (ed. 3) viii. 163   All meats and drinks are but relatively good or bad with respect to circumstances, which are best determined by giving an eye to the temperaments and the causes of the diseases which afflict our patients.
1790   W. Marshall Rural Econ. Midland Counties I. 367   The only attention bestowed upon this class of stock being, to give an eye to the fences, the pasture, and the water.
1849   J. F. Cooper Sea Lions II. i. 6   You can continue to work the saw and the axes, but I will give an eye to strengthening the craft in-board.
1891   T. Hardy Tess of the D'Urbervilles I. xi. 137   Now, you sit there. That will keep away the damp. Just give an eye to the horse—it will be quite sufficient.
1922   Boys' Life Sept. 26/1   He overhauled his ship for himself, from keelson to truck, and gave an eye to all his crew.
1960   G. W. Target Teachers (1962) 48   She was a good sort, always willing to give a hand's turn. ‘I'll give an eye to her—she'll be all right.’
1987   E. Newby Round Ireland in Low Gear (1988) v. 70   ‘I will give an eye to the holiday houses,’ he said.

1543—1987(Hide quotations)


 (c) (one) would give one's eyes : (hyperbolically) one would (be prepared to) make a great sacrifice or be willing to give up anything (to be able to do a specified thing, or for something). Also (one) would give one's left (also right) eye . See similar phrases at give v. 9b, and (one) would give one's eyeteeth at eyetooth n. Phrases 1.

1609   W. Shakespeare Troilus & Cressida i. ii. 236   I warrant Hellen to change would giue an eye to boote.  View more context for this quotation
1639   T. D. Bloodie Banquet iv. i. sig. E2v   I'de give one eye to see her with the other.
1691   tr. G. P. Marana Lett. Turkish Spy III. ii. ii. 144   Our beloved Eunuch, can still converse with his Friends; which is a Privilege, the Deaf would almost give their Eyes to enjoy.
1705   C. Cibber Careless Husband iii. 24   I know you'd give your Eyes to make me Uneasie now.
1804   M. Edgeworth Manufacturers iii, in Pop. Tales II. 348   I am sure she is really and truly sorry; and would give her eyes to get me out of this scrape.
1857   A. Trollope Barchester Towers II. xiv. 273   Bertie would give his eyes to go with you.
1875   L. Troubridge Jrnl. in Life amongst Troubridges (1966) 120   I gave up directly with a very good grace, considering that I would have given my eyes to go.
1918   W. Faulkner Let. 19 Sept. in Thinking of Home (1992) 105   I'd give my right eye for some scrambled eggs and toast and Kraft cheese and jelly and fried chicken and peaches.
1957   R. Matthews tr. J.-J. Servan-Schreiber Lieutenant in Algeria i. ii. 64   The bastards, I'd have given my eyes to be there!
2008   R. Benway Audrey, Wait! xxvi. 229   There are twenty thousand girls who would give their left eye to be you right now.

1609—2008(Hide quotations)

 (d) to give (a person) the eye .

 (i) To look at (a person) in a threatening, antagonistic, or disapproving way; to direct a warning glance at.

1901   Current Lit. Jan. 99/1   If People did not Buy in a Hurry he would slam the Boxes around and be Lippy and give them the Eye.
1949   A. I. Bezzerides Thieves' Market xi. 108   He removed his cigar and spat down once, holding his eyes steadily on him. ‘Get him giving me the eye,’ the trucker said. ‘Go ahead, burn a hole in me.’
1977   Washington Post (Nexis) 28 Dec. b1   Say you walk into a delicatessen in New York and the counterman gives you the eye. Maybe you look too scruffy for the neighborhood.
2011   D. Precious Born under Lucky Moon 47   But Mom gave me the eye like she was at the end of her rope. We were taking the truck.

1901—2011(Hide quotations)


 (ii) To look at (a person) with obvious sexual interest or intent; to ogle.

1915   Sun (Baltimore) 8 Aug. (Mag. section) 3/3   A fat whisky salesman breezed in from the bar.., and gave her the eye. You couldn't really blame him.
1946   M. Mezzrow & B. Wolfe Really Blues ii. 19   I could see myself..strutting down the main drag blowing my sax while the chicks lined up along the curb, giving me the eye all the way.
1990   Catch Feb. 75/1   If I really fancied someone, I'd give him the eye, but I'd be subtle about it.
2005   P. Robinson Strange Affair (2006) 2   A couple of kids who didn't look old enough to drive stood smoking and playing the machines, giving her the eye as she walked past, staring at her breasts.

1915—2005(Hide quotations)


 (a) to have eyes to see and variants: to be observant or discerning; (also) to be able to see what is obvious.  [In quot. a1425   ultimately after Hebrew 'ăšer ʿēnayim lāhem lir'ōṯ, lit. ‘to whom there are eyes to see’ (Ezekiel 12:2).] In later use sometimes perhaps with allusion to Ezekiel 12:2.

a1425  (c1384)    Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Corpus Oxf.) (1850) Ezek. xii. 2   Sone of man, thou dwellist in mydil of an hous terrynge to wraththe, whiche han eyen for to see [L. qui oculos habent ad videndum], and seen not, and eris for to here, and heren not.
1533   J. Frith Bk. answeringe Mores Let. sig. A.7v   They open the misterie of all our mater to them that haue eyen to see.
1588   G. Withers View Marginal Notes Popish Test. Ep. Ded. sig. A3v   All that are wise, and haue eies to see, do perceiue, that in this maner of dealing, they do but vtter their owne shame.
1648   W. L. Sacramental Stumbling-block Removed 11   This is one obsticle in the way of great men, who if they had eyes to see, they might know that the service of God and his Church, is..the highest honour.
1789   Lady's Mag. Mar. 135/2   The influence of the fair sex over the men is great and universal... He that has eyes to see will be convinced of it in relation to others.
1829   N.Y. Mirror 12 Sept. 79/3   All who have eyes to see, have been struck with the bustling regularity with which they move.
1875   J. J. Stevenson Archit. Profession 25   What a wealth of architectural design he could have given us if we had eyes to see and heart to receive it.
1912   L. Strachey Landmarks Fr. Lit. vi. 228   To him who had eyes to see, there might be significance in a ready-made suit of clothes, and passion in the furniture of a boarding-house.
1939   E. M. Forster What I Believe 18   With this type of person knocking about, and constantly crossing one's path if one has eyes to see or hands to feel, the experiment of earthly life cannot be dismissed as a failure.
2008   Chicago Tribune 15 Feb. (Midwest Final ed.) i. 2/3   The mayor's buffers are well known to anyone with eyes to see. They roll in money.

a1425—2008(Hide quotations)


 (b) to have an eye to (also †in) : to look to, pay attention to; to have as one's object, have regard for; to have reference to. with an eye to: with a view to; with a design upon.to have an eye to the main chance: see main chance n. 1(a).

1425  (a1400)    Speculum Christiani (Lansd.) (1933) 149 (MED)   But euere to gode god hath is eye.
c1425   J. Lydgate Troyyes Bk. (Augustus A.iv) iv. l. 1108 (MED)   Ȝif þat we Koude han an eye in oure felicite.
1487  (a1380)    J. Barbour Bruce (St. John's Cambr.) xii. 306   I pray ȝhow..That nane of ȝow for gredynes Haf E till tak of thair Riches.
1526   W. Bonde Pylgrimage of Perfection iii. sig. AAiv   Some feareth synne and payne bothe, hauynge an eye and respecte to bothe, in maner indifferently.
1593   T. Nashe Strange Newes (new ed.) 67   Haue an eie to the maine-chaunce.
1612   F. Bacon Ess. (new ed.) 65   Men will Counsell with an eie to themselues.
1691   J. Evelyn Kalendarium Hortense (ed. 8) 86   Have still an eye to the weeding and cleansing part.
1713   R. Steele Englishman No. 11. 74   A Man will have an Eye to his first Appearance in Publick.
1756   C. Lucas Ess. Waters iii. 285   The gentlemen of the corporation..have..no small eye to gain.
1834   Indiana Jrnl. 14 June   All these buildings are of brick, and the materials were collected and the workmanship was done with an eye to the future.
1861   G. W. Thornbury Life J. M. W. Turner I. 358   He collects analytical diagrams of Dutch boats, with an eye to get nearer to Vandervelde.
1888   J. A. Froude Eng. in W. Indies 40   Gold and silver plate, he observed with an eye to business was..abundant.
1903   H. James Ambassadors iii. vii. 102   He was now so interested..that he had already an eye to the fun it would be to open up to her afterwards.
1943   Flying Jan. 44/1   But the Army has an eye to the future, too, and the process of taking more and more from the airlines..has stopped.
2005   N.Y. Rev. Bks. 12 May 6/3   She frames her plea with an eye to the prejudices of those she needs to convince.

1425—2005(Hide quotations)


 (c) to have eyes for and variants: to pay attention to; to be interested in or attracted to (frequently in contexts excluding all but one person or thing); (also in strengthened use) to desire or want badly.  [Compare French n'avoir d'yeux que pour   to have eyes only for (someone) (1626 in the passage translated in quot. 1657).]

1657   J. Davies tr. H. D'Urfé Astrea II. 95   They never observe anothers, have no eyes for any but for them they love [Fr. n'ayans des yeux que pour voir ce qu'ils aiment].
1783   tr. F. Algarotti Mod. Art of Love (new ed.) 68   Our lovers have eyes only for us [It. come in noi sole mirano i nostri vaghi].
1810   J. Porter Sc. Chiefs IV. xii. 357   Helen had eyes for none but Wallace.
1896   Argosy Mar. 541/1   Sue says that Ruth had eyes for nobody but the country buck.
1923   J. S. Huxley Ess. Biologist i. 56   To be so horrifiedly fascinated by it as not to have eyes for anything else.
1934   A. Dubin (title of song)    I only have eyes for you.
1948   New Yorker 3 July 28   Have you eyes for a sandwich?
1951   W. Sansom Face of Innocence xiii. 189   There's a gaz-and-pneu baron from Bormes has only eyes for her.
1971   D. Wells & S. Dance Night People ii. 29   Higgie threw a hand grenade at the boss's wife. (A hand grenade is a note saying, ‘I want to see you,’ or ‘I got eyes for you.’).
2004   Aspire Apr. 100/2   The Baked Alaskan Salmon traditional roast potatoes and sauce charon was the only thing she had eyes for.

1657—2004(Hide quotations)


 (d) Sport (Billiards, Shooting, Cricket, etc.). to have (also get) one's eye (also eyes) (well) in : to be or become able to judge distance and direction accurately, during a session of play (or other activity); to become accustomed to the pace of a game.

1865   J. Pycroft Cricketana xi. 216   As to his guess hits..we can only suppose..that he reserves them till his ‘eye is well in’, and he has observed the uniform break or rise of the ball.
1882   Bell's Life in London 1 July 4/6   Bannerman..though he must have fairly ‘got his eye in’, scarcely ever attempted to hit.
1884   Q. Rev. No. 316. 482   Their eyes were well in.
1912   A. Brazil New Girl at St. Chad's vii. 115   When you're in doubt, watch each ball carefully, till you get your eye in.
1918   Stars & Stripes 22 Mar. 6/1   They repair to the drill ground, upon which has been laid out a baseball diamond, and get their arms limber and their eyes ‘in’.
1957   R. Galton & A. Simpson Hancock's Half-hour (1987) 77   That's better, I've got my eye in now, I'm landing them just where I want them.
2006   Ace Tennis Oct. 38/4   They had time..to get their eye in and get used to the courts, balls and surroundings.

1865—2006(Hide quotations)


 (e) U.S. slang (originally Jazz). to have eyes and variants: to desire or want (to do something). Also no eyes: (as an interjection) indicating lack of interest or intent. Now rare.

1955   L. Feather Encycl. Jazz x. 346   Eyes, desire, ambition. (‘No eyes’—‘I'm not interested’.)
1961   R. Russell Sound i. 18   Think you'd have eyes to work with him?
1967   D. G. Taggart Reunion of 108th viii. 63   He looked like he's got eyes.
1970   T. Southern Blue Movie vi. 171   ‘I was wondering..if you'd fucked Angie yet.’.. ‘No, man,..I'm not sure I've got eyes.’
1986   J. Pietsch N.Y. City Cab Driver's Joke Bk. 133   A jazz musician's..son is plucking the petals from a daisy..saying ‘She digs me, got no eyes; digs me, got no eyes.’

1955—1986(Hide quotations)


 (f) to have (two) eyes in one's head and variants: to be able to see clearly; (also figurative) to be able to perceive, comprehend, or recognize something; to have good sense.  [In quot. 1579   with allusion to Ecclesiastes 2:14: ‘For a wise man hath his eyes in his head, but the foole goeth in darknesse’ (Bishops' Bible, 1568).]

1579   J. Stubbs Discouerie Gaping Gulf sig. E2   And I besech God graunt hir at that time to haue hir eyes in hir heade euen in that sence in which Salomon placeth a wise mans eyes in his head.
1600   F. Johnson Answer H. Iacob xii. 119   The case is so cleare, as if you have your eies in your head, you can not but see it.
1620   tr. G. Boccaccio Decameron I. iv. ii. f. 149   What? Haue you no eyes in your head? Can you not distinguish between mine, and these other common beauties?
a1726   M. Clarke Serm. on Several Occasions (1727) 13   You had need have your eyes in your Head, as the wise man has.
1781   J. Moore View Society & Manners Italy I. 66   ‘Have you eyes in your head, Sir!’ continued the connoisseur: ‘Don't you know St. John when you see him?’
1837   Bentley's Misc. May 483   The governor had two eyes in his head, and so he finds out the latitude of the thing.
1888   Advance 19 Apr. 243/3   Nobody with eyes in his head could have passed the week just ended in Berlin without recognizing that if a firebrand comes to the throne the materials are close crowded upon him for a terrible conflagration.
1917   Sun (Baltimore) 18 Nov. (Fiction section) 1/3   ‘Don't tell me you've tried,’ said Mrs. Devens angrily. ‘I've got two eyes in my head. It's my belief you are committed to that Vail girl in some way!’
1960   G. W. Target Teachers (1962) 29   Only I've heard one or two things listening to the sweethearts, and I've got eyes in my head as well as anyone else.
2008   C. Ozick Dictation 146   I was eighteen, with eyes in my head, beginning to know a thing or two.

1579—2008(Hide quotations)


 k. to hit (also strike, smack, etc.) (a person) between (also in) the eye(s) and variants: to strike (a person) (suddenly) as very obvious, impressive, noteworthy, etc.; to leap or stand out at (a person).

1886   R. Kipling Three & Extra in Civil & Mil. Gaz. 17 Nov. 3/4   It was a gorgeous dress... I can't describe it, but it was what they call ‘a Creation’, a thing that hit you straight between the eyes and made you gasp.
1899   Black & White 9 Dec. 834/1   One sentence jumped out in the middle of it and hit me in the eye, so to speak.
1935   Cumberland (Maryland) Evening Times 5 Apr. 20/3   The unusual feature that smacks you between the eyes as you watch the Boston Braves..is the fact that outside of four or five young'uns stumbling around on the field, there are no rookies in camp.
1952   Marriage & Family Living Nov. 361/1   There were three or four things that struck me between the eyes.
1985   Guardian (Nexis) 6 Feb.   It was one of the occasions when things went wrong that reality hit me in the eye.
2001   Independent 17 Jan. (City Plus section) 8/6   When I saw the technology in operation, it hit me between the eyes.

1886—2001(Hide quotations)

 l. Phrases with keep, often with have as a variant.

 (a) to keep (also have) an (or one's) eye on (also upon) : to keep watch upon, to observe carefully, esp. either to provide care and support or because of suspicion or mistrust; to be wary of; (hence also) to desire or intend to obtain; to approve of. Also with modifying word, as watchful, weather (see weather-eye n.). Cf. to keep (also have) an (or one's) eye after at Phrases 2l(b).

c1225  (?c1200)    St. Katherine (Bodl.) (1981) l. 40   Euer ha hefde on hali writ ehnen oðer heorte.
a1398   J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomaeus Anglicus De Proprietatibus Rerum (BL Add. 27944) (1975) I. vi. xvii. 316   A seruaunt..haþ ȝe and hond apon his lord to do what likeþ and plesiþ his lorde.
a1450   Generides (Pierpont Morgan) (1865) l. 3934 (MED)   Segryne had euer on him his eye.
1577   H. I. tr. H. Bullinger 50 Godlie Serm. II. iii. i. sig. Bb.iiiv/1   Let this be the rule for him to keepe his eye vpon in all businesse & affaires of his science.
1605   G. Chapman Al Fooles iii. i. sig. F 1   Rin. What would he be, If you should not restrayne him by good connsell? Gost. Ile haue an eye on him, I warrant thee.
1659   B. Harris tr. J. N. de Parival Hist. Iron Age ii. i. xviii. 211   It was supposed the Earle of Essex had an eie upon Oxford.
1778   J. R. Forster Observ. Voy. round World vi. 390   I..went where he called me, but kept an eye on O-Too's sister, who immediately seized two large ten inch spikes.
1800   J. Stuart in Marquess Wellesley Select. Despatches (1877) 569   An advertency to the former periods of history..ought to caution us to keep a watchful eye on this quarter.
1818   Cobbett's Weekly Polit. Reg. 33 64   I shall keep my eye upon them.
1877   Independent 23 Aug. 20/2   The Devil already controls Chicago, and we have heard it intimated that he has his eye on New York.
1900   H. James Notebks. (1947) 398   Chad has meanwhile continued to deny..that he has his eye on Mlle de Vionnet, that her mother has..hers on him.
1945   E. Bowen Demon Lover 92   I needn't exactly hurry. I just ought to keep an eye on the time.
1956   A. Wilson Anglo-Saxon Attitudes ii. ii. 319   You asked me to keep an eye on that Larrie Rourke.
2010   Independent 17 Aug. 33/3   My disabled mother lives with us so he keeps an eye on her, which is a definite help.

c1225—2010(Hide quotations)


 (b) to keep (also have) an (or one's) eye after : to maintain a covetous (also occasionally amorous) interest in; to keep a watchful eye on. Cf. to keep one's eye on at Phrases 2l(a).

1572  (a1500)    Taill of Rauf Coilȝear (1882) 695   I mon..eirnestly efter him haue myne E ay.
1641   R. Brathwait Penitent Pilgrim xxii. 117   One that had a dangerous leering eye after his Neighbours Wife.
1657   J. Dodington tr. C. Vialart Hist. Govt. France 527   The King having secured the Peace in Languedoc, Monsieur le Cardinal invited him to have an eye after the establishment of it in Provence.
1781   Parl. Reg. 1781–96 II. 39   It was hoped, he said, that the honourable gentleman had not himself an eye after the diamond.
1821   Life D. Haggart (ed. 2) 21   I soon observed, however, that he was keeping an eye after me, and he saw me go into my lodging.
1895   Caledonia 1 489   As she is very good-looking and clever, if not rich, she may have an eye after one of these young ministers who are coming to Linnburn on Thursday.
1917   T. C. Murray Sovereign Love in Spring & Other Plays 23   I want to have an eye after the little mare.
1980   National Assembly Official Rep. (Republic of Kenya) 52 845   We would like the Minister for Higher Education to keep an eye after the establishment of the bureau, particularly in the tendering section.

1572—1980(Hide quotations)


 (c) to keep (also have) one's eyes on the prize , to keep (also have) one's (also an) eye on (also †to) the prize and variants: to remain focused on the main aim of one’s activities or efforts. Similarly to turn one's eyes from the prize , etc.  [Probably originally in allusion to the prize mentioned by St Paul (e.g. Corinthians 9:24, Philippians 3:14), comparing the Christian life to a race (compare quot. 1618).]

[1618   E. Parr Plaine Expos. Epist. St. Paul to Romans 142   Our eye must be on the prize to ouercome.]
1628   Z. Boyd Last Battell Soule viii. 1174   Let neither the loue of life nor the feare of death turne his eyes from the prize of the high calling of God.
1658   T. Hall Pract. Comm. 3rd & 4th Chapters Latter Epist. Paul to Timothy 392   To incourage you, have an eye to the Prize, and the recompence of Reward.
1716   M. Hole Pract. Disc. Liturgy Church of Eng. IV. l. 426   Let us often think of the End of our Christian Course, and have an eye to the Prize of our high Calling in Christ Jesus.
1831   L. E. Landon Romance & Reality III. xviii. 302   The race is run without an eye to a prize.
1892   Milwaukee (Wisconsin) Sentinel 6 Oct. 3   The Milwaukee delegation caucused early this evening and reached the conclusion to support St. Louis for the next convention of real estate men, at the same time keeping an eye on the prize for 1894.
1920   Youth's Compan. 6 May 282/2   Obeying St. Paul, I fixed my eyes on the prize at the end of the race and was oblivious of passing events.
1967   Financial Times 11 Nov. 10/8   The North American toy industry also has its eyes on the prize.
2013   Sun (Nexis) 10 Sept. 2   Keep your eye on the prize. Connect what you're doing today, with where you want to be tomorrow.

1628—2013(Hide quotations)


 (d) to keep (also have) an eye (also one's eye, one's eyes) open (for) and variants: to be watchful or observant (for).

1651   Hermeticall Banquet ii. 40   'Tis necessary that you keep an Eye open upon the Stomaticall Magazin, and see that Memory forget not her self to charge all the Lady Sences to be vigilant in this action.
1654   J. Trapp Comm. Minor Prophets (Hosea xiv. 8) 181   God hath a quick ear in such a case; He hath also an eye open to the supplications of his servants, in all that they call upon him for.
1697   G. Stanhope tr. P. Charron Of Wisdom II. iii. ii. 354   That Diffidence, I mean, which consists in keeping ones Eyes open, ones Mind in suspence, suspecting and providing against every thing.
1736   S. Wesley Poems 220   This wicked London, Where heedless Youth may Bitter meet, In rashly vent'ring after Sweet, Unless their Eyes they open keep, And look right well before they leap.
1766   Gentleman's Mag. Feb. 71/1   The merchant always gives the preference to the steady trader, who..keeps his eye open to throw every collateral advantage that does not affect himself, into his customers hands.
1829   Monthly Repos. Mar. 183   We shall have an eye open for merits as well as for defects.
1834   C. Darwin Let. 30 Mar. in Corr. (1985) I. 378   We shall soon Sail to the river of Santa Cruz: it must be from the account of the Indians an immense one: I will keep my eyes open for Nutias.
1889   St. Paul (Minnesota) Daily News 6 May 3/1   I have heard of you an' I've got an eye open, and if you know what's good for you, you'll keep yourself out of my way.
1917   E. C. Middleton Glorious Exploits Air (1918) xii. 177   Their business is to patrol the..home-waters, always having a wary eye open for enemy submarines.
1921   Z. Grey Call of Canyon (1924) vi. 146   I knowed we'd meet some day. I can't say I just laid for you, but I kept my eyes open.
2004   Wanderlust June 50/3   Along the way, I kept an eye open for some of Hong Kong's rarest wildlife.

1651—2004(Hide quotations)


 (e) Originally U.S. to keep (also have) an eye out : to be very alert or watchful. Also with modifying word as sharp, weather, etc. Frequently with for (occasionally with †on).

1833   N.-Y. Spectator 17 Oct. 1/4   We've got a rale sharp little fellow to keep an eye out on Squire Biddle, and got him in the Bank too.
1875   Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Weekly Times 11 Nov.   Keep your eye out for that air sign across South Commercial Street as that directs you to..the new Boston One Price Clothing House.
1889   ‘M. Twain’ Connecticut Yankee 33   I moved away,..keeping an eye out for any chance passenger in his right mind.
1925   Cent. Mag. Jan. 409/2   I keep my weather eye out for persons who may have visited or lived in Porto Rico [sic].
1942   Horizon July 57   She's got a sharp eye out, Mrs Pike has.
1974   Audubon Jan. 63/1   When we wade after oysters we keep an eye out for cottonmouths, and when walking in the groves we stay on clear, open ground.
2005   Z. Smith On Beauty 52   OK—we got to keep an eye out for Jerome, though—he's about.

1833—2005(Hide quotations)


 (f) to keep one's eye(s) peeled (also skinned): see peeled adj. 1b, skinned adj. Phrases.


 (a) to look (a person) in the eye(s) : to look directly or unashamedly at; = to look (a person) in the face at face n. Phrases 1c. Also with adverb (as full, straight, etc.), and occasionally †to look (someone) at the eyes .

?1537   Hugh of Caumpedene tr. Hist. Kyng Boccus sig. I.iijv   Nomore than now is velanye For to loke a man in the eye.
1655   F. G. tr. ‘G. de Scudéry’ Artamenes IV. viii. ii. 144   Whilst Cleonisbe was talking, the Prince of Phoceus looked her full in the eyes.
1760   Scots Mag. Jan. 34/2   If he listen while I tell a tale, Or look me but full in the eye, I faulter, I blush, and turn pale.
1837   N.Y. Mirror 23 Dec. 203/2   ‘Look me directly in the eye!’ cried Dorn, seizing the hand of the unpractised dissembler.
1880   G. Meredith Tragic Comedians II. v. 88   She..looks you straight at the eyes, perfectly unabashed.
1896   A. E. Housman Shropshire Lad xlii. 60   With..friendly brows and laughter He looked me in the eyes.
1931   E. A. Guest Friendly Way 23   I want to be able as days go by Always to look myself straight in the eye.
1933   H. L. Ickes Secret Diary (1953) I. 97   I looked those mayors in the eye and I told them what the exact truth was.
1965   Listener 1 July 4/1   To be modern enough to look the great industrial powers in the eye on a basis of full equality.
2005   H. Harari View from Eye of Storm xii. 71   When I ordered a salad, the kind waitress looked me straight in the eye and asked: ‘French, Roquefort, Thousand Islands?’

?1537—2005(Hide quotations)


 (b) to look upon (also at, on) with another (also a different) eye and variants: to take a different view of.

1603   P. Holland tr. J. Amyot in tr. Plutarch Morals 315   Plutarch sheweth sufficiently by the thirtieth rule,..that in manner all doe regard and looke upon things with another eie, than they ought [Fr. que presque tous regardent les choses d'autre œil qu'il ne faut].
1640   A. Stafford Honour & Vertue 69   These two behold their Subjects with a different eye.
1683   London Gaz. No. 1835/3   If the City should Look upon it with another Eye.
1728   J. A. Du Cerceau tr. J. T. Krusinski Hist. Revol. Persia I. 81   None but Eunuchs came near his Person,..and he looked upon their Attendance on his Person with another Eye to what he did before.
1821   H. M. Jones Gretna Green xviii. 369   I trust you will alter your mind, and look with a different eye upon my assiduities.
1858   Farmer's Mag. June 529/1   As the country, since the opening of railways, has been threaded by Southern visitors, the dwellings have been looked at with another eye, and it has been felt they are an eyesore to the land.
1948   E. O. Lorimer tr. A. Beljame Men of Lett. & Eng. Public in 18th Cent. i. 71   The moment that the author became eligible for high employment and fat salaries, he was looked on with another eye and granted what he had never enjoyed before: respect and esteem.
1996   Which? Guide to starting your own Business (new ed.) i. 9   You will look at these with a different eye when they have to be paid for out of your profits.
2009   National Assembly Official Rep. (Republic of Kenya) 3 Dec. 49   There could be a few points that the Minister may need to look at with another eye.

1603—2009(Hide quotations)


 n. to lose an eye : to lose the sight in one eye; to become blind in one eye. Also similarly † to lose one's eyes    [compare Middle French, French perdre les yeux (1517 or earlier)] .

?1532   Tales & Quicke Answeres lxxxviii. sig. H.ivv   One that had sore eies, was warned of the phisitian, that he shulde in any wyse forbeare drinking or els lose his eies.
1598   W. Lisle tr. S. G. de Senlis in tr. G. de S. Du Bartas Colonies 64   Hanibal, whom the Poet noteth by the name of Borgne..because he lost an eye by ouer-watching himselfe in the passage of certaine great marrish-grounds into Hetruria.
1649   Bp. J. Taylor Great Exemplar iii. 24   We cannot behold the least atome in the Sun without danger of loosing an eye.
1687   A. Lovell tr. J. de Thévenot Trav. into Levant i. 260   The Dust..is blown into the Eyes by the Wind, which is the reason that there are many blind in that Country. Whilst I was in Ægypt, a French Merchant lost an Eye so.
1778   T. Warton Hist. Eng. Poetry II. xv. 347   He afterwards insinuates, that the Cardinal had lost an eye by the French disease.
1846   W. Greener Sci. Gunnery (new ed.) 300   We..have a friend who lost an eye and blew down a house side.
1909   M. E. Lowndes Nuns of Port Royal v. 97   She nursed Mmme de Soissons through an attack of smallpox, catching the malady and nearly losing an eye.
2004   E. Reid D.B. i. 32   He'd lost an eye in a grease fire and wore a black felt eye patch to cover the curdled orb.

?1532—2004(Hide quotations)


 o. to make eyes at : to cast amorous or (occasionally) covetous glances at. Cf. to make sheep's-eyes at at sheep's eyes n. 1a.

1806   R. Cumberland Hint to Husbands iv. iii. 79   I have seen him, And, till he married, saw him every where, Prowling from place to place, and making eyes At each stray miss—myself amongst the many.
1852   W. M. Thackeray Henry Esmond III. i. 12   She used to make eyes at the Duke of Marlborough.
1905   National Mag. Apr. 78/1   E. H. Harriman has made eyes at it.., but so far its owners have refused to sell out.
1937   W. M. Raine Bucky follows Cold Trail xiv. 159   You would think a girl couldn't be a double-crosser if she was pretty enough and made eyes at you.
1962   C. Ekwensi Burning Grass ii. 8   She was on her way to market, she said, making eyes at him.
1999   D. Mitchell Ghostwritten 56   ‘Don't give me that! I saw you two making eyes at each other.’

1806—1999(Hide quotations)


 p. mind your eye: used in the imperative, as warning of danger to a person's eyes; (now usually) figurative (colloquial and regional) ‘be careful’, ‘watch out’. N.E.D. (1894) interpreted the line from the ballad cited in quot. 1630   as showing a variant phrase beware your eye, following the reading given in F. J. Child Eng. & Sc. Pop. Ballads (1888) III. v. cxlv. 201/2, ‘The ladies gave a shout, “Woodcock, beware thyn ee!”’, but no other evidence for this form of the phrase has been found, and all other 17th-cent. versions of the ballad give the phrase in the form ‘beware thy knee’.

[1630   Renowned Robin Hood (single sheet) ii   The Ladies gaue a shout, Woodcock beware thy nee.]
1766   R. Rogers Ponteach i. ii. 11   Conceal yourself, and mind your Eye.
1790   D. Morison Poems 187   Aurther mind your eye, When..ance ye're fairly ty'd and she your wife, Ye'll ken the crosses o' a married life.
1841   C. Dickens Barnaby Rudge xxx. 108   He would recommend him..to mind his eye for the future.
1891   H. Herman His Angel 37   ‘Mind your eye, sir,’ at last cried the young man, ‘and don't budge. We've got to get that partition beam away. It's that that's crushing you.’
1950   R. Davies At my Heart's Core i. 23   I..levelled ye with me fist, that's what happened to ye. And I'll do it again if ye don't mind yer eye.
2005   Scotsman (Nexis) 28 Oct. 33   If doing the opposite of what you say you will do is the principle to be established, mind your eye.

1766—2005(Hide quotations)


 (i) to put out a person's eyes : to deprive a person of the power of sight, esp. violently. Also figurative and hyperbolical.

c1325  (c1300)    Chron. Robert of Gloucester (Calig.) 7713   Me ssolde pulte out boþe is eye, & makye him pur blind.
1573   J. Bridges tr. Erasmus in Supremacie Christian Princes 610   A madde and fierce kinde of men, whiche murthered with swordes, maymed with Sythes, and with Lyme mingled with Vinegar put oute the eyes of the true beleeuers.
a1609   T. Playfere Ten Serm. (1610) 24   This plaister seemes more likely to put out his eyes which sees, then to cure his eyes who is blind.
1699   R. L'Estrange Fables Moralized lxxxvi. 86   One part of the World have their Eyes put out with the Flashes of his Dazling Beams.
1706   Rom. Hist. IV. viii. 438   Andronicus's Eyes being to be put out with scalding-hot Vinegar.
1820   F. MacDonogh Hermit in London V. xcii. 35   Another street nuisance is your poke-bonnet ladies, who sometimes put out your eyes with these pent-house projections.
1929   Pop. Sci. Monthly Dec. 22   This blinding white vapor remains unconquered. It continues to put out the eyes of traffic on land, sea, and air.
1993   P. Ackroyd House of Dr. Dee (1994) iii. 97   It is very bright there, sir, the brightness puts out my eyes.

c1325—1993(Hide quotations)


(ii) to put out a person's eyes with (a gift, bribe, etc.) : figurative to bribe a person; to get a person to pretend not to see something by bribery. Occasionally without with. Obsolete.

1580   H. F. tr. S. Pelegromius Synonymorum Sylua 35/2   To Bribe, vide to put out ones eies with giftes.
1593   T. Nashe Christs Teares f. 81v   There is a sloth also in punishing sinne, as when Magistrates will haue theyr eyes put out with gyfts, and will not see it.
a1625   J. Fletcher Mad Lover v, in F. Beaumont & J. Fletcher Comedies & Trag. (1647) sig. D2v/2   Put out mine eye with twelve pence? do you shaker?
1631   J. Shirley Schoole of Complement i. 10   Your Iustice of Peace..will suffer any man to put out his eye with a bribe.
1677   Z. Babington Advice to Grand Jurors 12   To prevent or prevaricate a right Judgment, in the Judge; or by any dust of gold, power or favour, to put out his eyes, or falsifie his clear sight.
1744   J. Ralph Astrologer i. 11   See a great Man's Eyes put out with a Bribe.

1580—1744(Hide quotations)


 (b) to put one's finger in one's eye and variants: to make oneself (appear to) weep by poking one's eye; to weep, cry, esp. foolishly or ostentatiously (now chiefly in the nursery rhyme cited in quot. 1842). Cf. to pipe one's eye at pipe v.1 8b.

1447   in S. A. Moore Lett. & Papers J. Shillingford (1871) i. 19   Germyn putte his fynger yn his ye and wepte.
1576   G. Pettie Petite Pallace 76   Of which newes so soone as his wife was partaker, for fashion sake shee put finger in the eye, and attired herselfe in mourning apparell.
a1616   W. Shakespeare Comedy of Errors (1623) ii. ii. 207   No longer will I be a foole, To put the finger in the eie and weepe.  View more context for this quotation
c1626   Dick of Devonshire (1955) 1256   Would one have thought ye foolish Ape would putt the finger in ye Eye, & tell it Daddy!
1738   Inconsoleables iii. 49   Have we not enough in every Street, but we must put a Finger in Eye, and cry for Foreign Ware?
1842   J. O. Halliwell Nursery Rhymes 103   Cry, baby, cry, Put your finger in your eye, And tell your mother it was I.
1959   I. Opie & P. Opie Lore & Lang. Schoolchildren 188   He wonders if he will ever escape from the shame of the hateful verses: Cry, baby, cry, Put your finger in your eye, And tell your mother It wasn't I.
2007   C. Rush Hellfire & Herring i. 19   Cry baby cry, put your finger in your eye, tell your mother it wasn't I. I arrived on the wave-swept rocky shore, the sunken sea-dreams of my folk locked hard in my head.

1447—2007(Hide quotations)


 r. to see eye to eye : (of two people, etc.) to be of one mind, think alike, agree (usually in negative contexts). Frequently with with.  [Probably originally with allusion to Isaiah 52:8: ‘For they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion’ (King James Bible); however, in this passage, eye to eye (after Hebrew ʿayin bĕ-ʿayin) means ‘with their own eyes’.]

[1612   R. Greenham Wks. 722   Esay [= Isaiah] more plainly, Chap. 52 8. reporteth that we shall see eye to eye.]
1747   G. Whitefield Let. 5 July in Wks. (1771) II. 114   May Jesus heal them, and hasten that blessed time, when we shall all see eye to eye, and there shall be no disputings about houses, doctrine, or discipline in all God's holy mountain!
1794   T. Packer Goliath Slain 32   If Mr. Huntington's followers see eye to eye with him in other points of doctrine, they certainly will in this.
a1835   W. Nevins Pract. Thoughts (1836) 87   A principal reason why we are not more of one mind, is that we are not more of one heart. How soon they who feel heart to heart, begin to see eye to eye!
1879   Printing Trades Jrnl. xxvi. 4   Unable to see eye to eye with the subscribers.
1935   C. Isherwood Mr. Norris changes Trains v. 84   I'm afraid Schmidt and I don't quite see eye to eye on the subject just at present.
1955   Times 10 May 9/4   The two Governments do not see eye to eye.
2010   P. Murray Skippy Dies 180   For a while now your father and I haven't been seeing eye to eye. It's not, it's not anybody's fault, it's just the way relationships sometimes go.

1747—2010(Hide quotations)


s. to throw out one's eyes : to cast one's gaze, look for (also upon, etc.). Obsolete.

a1616   W. Shakespeare Othello (1622) ii. i. 39   As well to see the vessell that's come in, As to throw out our eyes for braue Othello.  View more context for this quotation
1639   H. Glapthorne Argalus & Parthenia i. ii. 9   Throw her eyes out on my shape, Call me Pigsny, pretty Ape.
1656   Simpleton the Smith 6 in R. Cox Acteon & Diana (ed. 2)    If you please to throw your eyes out of the window upon me, you shall behold one of the faithfullest lovers that ever took hammer in hand.
1762   Mod. Part Universal Hist. XXXVI. 124   The confederates were obliged to throw their eyes for assistance towards a power, whom they had some time before considered as their capital enemy.
1798   H. J. Pye Naucratia iii. 61   Europe's astonish'd sons..threw their trembling eyes for aid To shores their coward envy once betray'd.

a1616—1798(Hide quotations)


 t. to turn a (also †the) blind eye : to refuse to take any notice of a situation, state of affairs, etc.; (more recently also) to pretend not to notice. Frequently with to, on. In early use often in conjunction with to turn a deaf ear: see deaf adj. 2.

1698   J. Norris Pract. Disc. Divine Subj. IV. 223   To turn the deaf Ear, and the blind Eye to all those Pomps and Vanities of the World which we renounc'd at our Baptism.
1710   T. Baylye Glympse Paradise 11   Men turn the deaf Ear, the blind Eye, and obdurate Heart.
1797   S. J. Pratt Family Secrets I. xxiii. 172   Few are those who have not been under a necessity of turning the apparently deaf ear, and the blind eye, on our own conduct, or on that of our neighbours.
1823   M. Wilmot Let. 1 Oct. (1935) 197   I turn a blind eye and a deaf ear every now and then, and we get on marvellously well.
1891   Pop. Sci. Monthly Apr. 792   It is not a brave thing—quite the contrary—in any man to turn a blind eye to the instinctive perceptions of his own intelligence.
1925   N. E. Odell in E. F. Norton et al. Fight for Everest: 1924 290   The Tibetans appear to turn a blind eye to the wholesale slaughter involved in the collection..of over 10,000 specimens by our ardent Natural Historian.
1927   G. K. Chesterton Coll. Poems 108   Nelson turned his blindest eye On Naples and on liberty.
1963   Times 7 Mar. 16/6   The police turn a blind eye to this problem because they are only too glad to get lorries from parking on the main roads.
2001   I. Sinclair Landor's Tower (2002) i. vi. 79   Marks would evidently turn a blind eye to the sack of swag. Or anything else where he could work an angle.

1698—2001(Hide quotations)


 u. to close one's eyes to: see close v. Phrases. damn (one's) eyes: see damn v. 6. to lay eyes on: see to lay eyes on at lay v.1 21b. to see with (also at) eye: see see v. Phrases 1a. to see with one's own eyes: see see v. Phrases 1b. to set eyes upon (also on): see set v.1 39a. to shut one's eyes to: see shut v. 4a. to throw one's eye (also eyes): see throw v.1 16b.

 P3. Phrases with nouns.

 (a) Astronomy. eye and ear: sequential telescopic measurements combined with the measurement of time by listening to a clock or chronograph; frequently attributive; cf. eye observation n. at Compounds 4. Now historical.

1851   Abstr. Papers Royal Soc. 1843–50 5 1006   Numerical evidence is adduced to show that the irregularity of transits thus observed is far less than that of transits observed by eye and ear.
1875   Pop. Sci. Monthly Feb. 387   This is the method of ‘eye-and-ear’ observation, the basis of such work as we have described, and it is so called from the part which both the eye and the ear play in the appreciation of intervals of time.
1913   Science 3 Jan. 36/1 (heading)    Eye and ear observations.
2001   Brit. Jrnl. Hist. Sci. 34 176   The new electro-chronograph (also known as the American method) was slowly replacing the old eye-and-ear method for measuring stellar transits involved in longitude and time determinations.

1851—2001(Hide quotations)


 (b) (to be) the eyes and ears of and variants: (to be) the person (or group of people) who observes or gathers information on behalf of another person, organization, etc., esp. in a clandestine or covert manner. Also occasionally in extended use. Cf. sense 6b.

1563   L. Humphrey Nobles or of Nobilitye i. sig. a.iiv   They, be both the eyes, and eares of prynces.
1586   T. Bowes in tr. P. de la Primaudaye French Acad. I. 676 (margin)    Counsellors are the eies & eares of a Prince.
1628   tr. P. Matthieu Powerfull Favorite 116   Tiberius..could not heare nor see any thing but through Seianus, who alone was his eyes and his eares.
1685   J. Norris in F. Digby & J. Norris tr. Xenophon Kyrou Paideia viii. 144   Cyrus made sure to himself those who are call'd the Eyes and the Ears of the King no other way then by obliging them with Gifts and Honours.
1788   E. Gibbon Hist. Decline & Fall Rom. Empire VIII. xlvi. 161   The faithful agents, the eyes and ears of the king, informed him of the progress of disorder.
1834   Albion 26 Sept. 1/5   The Privy Councillors and Ministers of the day, the men who are the eyes and ears of Government, were generally those who had been rebels or United Irishmen.
1863   Charleston (S. Carolina) Mercury 19 Mar. 1/2   The cavalry constitute the eyes and ears of the army.
1941   Washington Post 6 Sept. 8/2   The patrols have a triple job on their hands—to act as eyes and ears for the British navy, to protect the supplies which our factories are turning out..[etc.]
1996   J. T. Hospital Oyster (1997) 357   ‘What's wrong with Quilpie?’ ‘Spies,’ he says. ‘Sniffers. Bernie's eyes and ears, Bernie's little hirelings.’
2013   S. Merill Passionate Mom 17   I ask them to be my eyes and ears, to share with me any information about my child that they think I need to know.

1563—2013(Hide quotations)


b. at (the) eye's end : close at hand. Obsolete.

1628   O. Felltham Resolves: 2nd Cent. x. sig. I5v   Wee iudge them neere, at the eyes end.
1704   Athenian Oracle III. 294/2   Keep him thus at Eyes-End, and Lips-end, but for a Week or a Fortnight.

1628—1704(Hide quotations)


 (a) (to have but) half an eye : (to have) even the smallest power of vision or appreciation of something, esp. the obvious. In modern use frequently with half an eye.

1533   W. Tyndale Souper of Lorde f. 28   For as for their false iugelinge we fele it at our fyngers ende: we se it, had we but halfe an eye.
1579   W. Fulke Heskins Parl. Repealed in D. Heskins Ouerthrowne 348   Euery man that hath but halfe an eye, seeth these grosse inconsequences.
?c1622   E. Bolton Hypercritica (1722) ii. 215   Iniquities..are sometime laid on so impudently thick, that with less than half an Eye the Paintings are discernable.
1652   N. Culpeper Eng. Physician 12   He that hath but half an Eye may see their pride without a pair of Spectacles.
1731   J. Rigby Insolence Rebuk'd 19   Is it not apparent to any one that hath but half an Eye that in the 13th Verse he speaks only to them that were with him?
1839   Army & Navy Chron. 25 Apr. 268/1   In case of war, it requires but half an eye, to see that the Gulf of Mexico would be the theatre of conflict.
1890   M. Taylor Miss Miles (1990) iii. 34   With half an eye she might have seen that his motive for calling was an utter triviality.
1916   Harper's Mag. Nov. 807/1   It took but half an invitation to induce him to head with us for Santa Cruz, and but half an eye to see that the lithe young Portuguese was an able walker.
1975   T. Brooke-Taylor et al. Goodies' Bk. Criminal Rec. 51   Mr. Oddie, I strongly object to being referred to as ‘Stingy’. A swift butcher's at Exhibit ‘H’ will make it clear to anyone with half an eye that we are very lavish with our gifts.
1999   Airgun World Nov. 18/1   Those with half an eye for detail will recognise the little hand-gun from the dismantled parts pictured here.

1533—1999(Hide quotations)


 (b) with half an eye: at a glance, without effort. Frequently in to see with half an eye .

1536   J. Gwynneth Confut. Fyrst Parte Frythes Boke sig. d.ii   Thou mayst now, with halfe an eye perceyue..it can not folow, that an heretyke hath in dede, any part of the fayth.
1598   W. Phillip tr. J. H. van Linschoten Disc. Voy. E. & W. Indies i. xxxiii. 66/1   These Xaraffos..can discerne it [sc. counterfeit money] with halfe an eye.
1651   C. Barksdale tr. H. Grotius Authority Highest Powers xi. 253   Any one may see with half an eye, how impertinent it is.
1751   T. Smollett Peregrine Pickle III. lxxxvii. 58   He had not been here three minutes, when I could perceive with half an eye, that he had marked out your grace for a conquest.
1842   Bentley's Misc. Mar. 321   ‘I could see it with half an eye.’ ‘Ah! yer dogged 'cute,’ rejoined the conceited rustic, with a grin.
1883   R. L. Stevenson Treasure Island iv. xviii. 143   I saw with half an eye that all was over.
1918   Everybody's Mag. Sept. 95/1   One could see with half an eye that there was no harm in him.
1941   Boys' Life Nov. 24/3   For all her joy at being reunited with her offspring Colin could see with half an eye that she didn't relax completely.
1998   Express & Echo (Exeter) (Nexis) 17 Nov. 10   Anyone inspecting the trapdoors..could see with half an eye that damp could not have been the reason for the failure of the doors.

1536—1998(Hide quotations)


 (c) half an eye: minimal or divided attention; (also) low-level but ongoing observation or awareness. Frequently in to keep half an eye on .

1612   W. Shute tr. G. Du Vair Holy Medit. 239   Beeing halfe dead, they shall open their eye liddes, to beehold with halfe an eye their treasures, but at the last..they must forsake all this trashe, a stronger power hales them away.
1735   London Mag. Aug. 450/1   Observe Clarinda with a beau, While you yourself are sitting by, She'll scarce vouchsafe you half an eye.
1830   Scrap Table 98   It would not be difficult to seat ones-self in the very same window-seat..whence the..Earl of Caithness was wont with ‘half an eye’ to watch the Union flying at the flag-staff in the Fort.
1883   R. L. Stevenson Treasure Island v. 40   Two of the fellows began to look here and there among the lumber, but half-heartedly, I thought, and with half an eye to their own danger all the time.
1916   J. Buchan Greenmantle vi. 105   He was growing as mad as a hatter. I kept half an eye on the clock. I was hopeful now,..looking for the right kind of chance.
1991   Economist 14 Sept. 42/1   Why bother with the Liberal Democrats?.. Worth keeping half an eye on, in case a fluke general-election result hands them brief influence in a hung parliament.
2005   MSNBC.com (Nexis) 18 May   [It] is so determined to remain mainstream..that it ends up as televisual wallpaper, something to watch with half an eye as you eat dinner.

1612—2005(Hide quotations)


d. Anatomy. eye of the knee: the patella (kneecap); cf. eyebone n. (a) at Compounds 4. Obsolete. rare.  [After post-classical Latin oculus genu (1312 or earlier), itself after Arabic ʿayn al-rukba (10th cent. or earlier).]

a1400   tr. Lanfranc Sci. Cirurgie (Ashm.) (1894) 177   To kepe þis ioynture from harm, is ioyned þeron a round boon &..of summen it is clepid þe yȝe of þe knee.
1572   J. Higgins Huloets Dict. (rev. ed.)    Whirlebone of ones knee, the patill or shildelyke bone, the rowle and the eye of the knee.

a1400—1572(Hide quotations)


 e. eye in the sky: a (usually unmanned) camera, drone, or other device designed to provide surveillance; (sometimes also) a person providing surveillance from an elevated location.

1896   Independent (N.Y.) 3 Sept. 16/2   The kite will not be confined to meteorological uses, nor the kite-camera to military reconnaissances... What secrets may be revealed by this eye in the sky, we leave for the imagination of the reader.
1907   Automotor Jrnl. 27 July 1077/2   An army with even only one ‘eye in the sky’ is to be feared by that which has no such resource.
1936   Chicago Tribune 22 June 22/1   If your horse wins by as slender a margin as a quarter of an inch the ‘eye in the sky’ will see to it that you get your money.
1949   Sunday Mail (Brisbane) 6 Mar. 10/3 (caption)    Time diagram showing ‘eye in the sky’ satellite to guide pilotless missiles.
1978   J. R. Feegel Death sails Bay iii. 46   And now, here's our eye in the sky, Sergeant Joe Flag.
1993   A. Toffler & H. Toffler War & Anti-war v. xix. 186   Almost any government..may soon be able to buy eyes in the skies to provide sophisticated images of U.S. tanks or troops or missile emplacements to within about fifteen feet of accuracy.
1994   BBC Holidays Oct. 33   Within each resort, a private army of security guards, backed up by ‘eye in the sky’ overhead video cameras, makes the security even tighter.
2013   Washington Times (Nexis) 1 Aug. 1   The drones..are still in the test phase, but ‘just the rumor of an eye in the sky and the noise of it flying overhead will serve to deter potential incidents’.

1896—2013(Hide quotations)


 f. (to have) eyes on stalks and variants:  (a) Zoology (to have) eyes at the distal end of stalk-like structures, as in some invertebrates, esp. crustaceans;  (b) (to have) eyes (apparently) bulging or widened in amazement, fear, inquisitiveness, etc.

1857   National Mag. 1 188/1   I have..Madrepores, that build up ocean reefs..and that carry their eyes on stalks.
1916   J. E. Peabody & A. H. Hunt Elem. Biol. ii. v. 156   Of what advantage may it be to the crayfish to have its eyes on stalks instead of on the surface of the head?
1935   W. Fortescue Perfume from Provence 178   I found myself hugging the edge of a positive precipice... With eyes on stalks I drove on.
1958   M. Stewart Nine Coaches Waiting ix. 130   What they call a small private party'd make your eyes stand out on stalks, as the saying is.
1985   Sci. Amer. May 77/3   The megalops has eyes on stalks (as the adult crab does), three pairs of walking legs and crude claws.
2005   D. Nicholls Understudy 154   Mouth open, eyes out on stalks. I mean, anyone else would have just walked out and shut the door.

1857—2005(Hide quotations)


 g. the eye of the storm (also hurricane) : the calm region at the centre of a storm or hurricane (frequently figurative); (also) the violent centre of a storm or other disturbance.

1884   Science Jan. 63   The..dreadful calm within the whirl, to which sailors have given the name of ‘the eye of the storm’.
1934   A. H. R. Goldie Abercromby's Weather (rev. ed.) v. 93   There is a patch of blue sky over the calm centre, which is well known in the hurricane countries as the ‘eye of the storm’, or as a ‘bull's-eye’.
1970   P. White Let. 1 Feb. (1994) xi. 357   Have you had any experience of hurricanes..? I am particularly interested in..the eye of the hurricane: whether a ship can sail along within the eye and miss most of the storm.
1978   A. Maupin Tales of City 7   She found her in the eye of the storm, bumping with a black man in Lurex knickers and glitter wedgies.
1993   National Geographic Traveler Jan. 56   In the eye of the storm, a surfer threads the treacherous Banzai Pipeline on the North Shore.
2000   Building Design 18 Feb. 9/1   Its Gresham Street office is the eye of the hurricane of controversy and backbiting.

1884—2000(Hide quotations)


 (a) Nautical. the wind's eye : the direction from which the wind is blowing. Frequently in in the wind's eye. Also the eye of the wind .

1550   J. Heywood Hundred Epigrammes lxxv. sig. Ciiiv   The wethercocks beke is still in the wyndes eie.
1577   in J. Dee Gen. Mem. Arte Nauig. Advt. to Rdr. sig. Δ.iiij   He findeth himself..partly forced, somwhat to yelde to the wickednes of these tymes, (being not possible to sayl against the windes eye).
1627   J. Smith Sea Gram. ix. 39   Boording or beating it vp vpon a tacke in the winds eye, or bolting to and againe.
a1665   K. Digby Jrnl. Voy. to Mediterranean (1868) 50   The 4 galliottes..rowed into the windes eye.
1726   P. Dudley in Philos. Trans. 1725 (Royal Soc.) 33 264   Let the Wind blow which Way it will, that Way they [sc. dead whales] will scull a Head, tho' right in the Eye of the Wind.
1762   T. Smollett Adventures Sir Launcelot Greaves II. xiii. 6   As for sailing in the wind's eye, brother, you must give me leave.
1823   Ld. Byron Don Juan: Canto X iv. 55   In the Wind's Eye I have sailed.
1888   J. R. Lowell Heartsease & Rue 177   He's a Rip van Winkle skipper,..who sails his bedevilled old clipper In the wind's eye, straight as a bee.
1913   A. Conan Doyle Horror of Heights in Everybody's Mag. Nov. 586/1   Yet I had always to turn again and tack up in the wind's eye, for it was not merely a height-record that I was after.
1937   W. Lewis Revenge for Love ii. i. 75   Her head of a small wistful seabird, delicately drafted to sail in the eye of the wind.
1969   P. O'Brian Master & Commander (1970) iv. 128   ‘Anything to windward?’ called Jack... ‘Yes, sir. A sail. A lateen. Hull down in the wind's eye.’
1996   Evening Post (Wellington, N.Z.) (Nexis) 22 Apr. 20   On a hillock at Rammedalen a windmill, similar to our Brooklyn wind-turbine, turned in to the wind's eye.

1550—1996(Hide quotations)


(b) to be a sheet (also a bit) in the wind's eye and variants: (to be) slightly intoxicated. Obsolete.

1823   W. Scott St. Ronan's Well I. vii. 119   John Blower, when he was a wee bit in the wind's eye, as he ca'd it, puir fallow—used to sing a sang about a dog they ca'd Bingo, that suld hae belanged to a farmer.
1883   R. L. Stevenson Treasure Island iv. xx. 161   Maybe you think we were all a sheet in the wind's eye. But I'll tell you I was sober.

1823—1883(Hide quotations)