Green’s Dictionary of Slang

eye n.

1. the vagina; cit. 1841 is an extended pun on birdseye n. (1) and screw n.1 (1b)/SE screw, a twist of tobacco [the eye is similarly shaped, is surrounded by hair, and can ‘water’].

[UK]Shakespeare Love’s Labour’s Lost III i: A whitely wanton with a velvet brow, With two pitchballs stuck in her face for eyes; Ay, and by heaven, one that will do the deed.
[UK]J. Taylor Crabtree Lectures 49: So purblind a Coxcombe that cannot see in the darke to find the eye of his own needle which any other could doe blind folded.
[UK]‘L.B.’ New Academy of Complements 159: Cupid’s no God, a wanton Childe [...] Feathers his Arrows with desire, / ’Tis not his Bow or Shaft, ’tis Venus Eye / Makes him ador’d and crowns his Deity.
[UK] ‘My Love Has Got A Weather Eye!’ in Rambler’s Flash Songster 27: My love has got a weather eye, / She can tell when e’er she pleases, / When it’s wet, or when it dry, / When it itches, when it teases.
[UK] ‘Female Tobacconist’ in Gentleman’s Spicey Songster 43: One was a youth, turned twenty and two, / He view’d her bird’s eye, then called for a screw.

2. (also eye of the law) detective, a private eye.

[US]J. Flynt World of Graft 138: ‘The eye of the law’ oversteps the boundaries of his jurisdiction and compromises himself.
[US]J. O’Connor Broadway Racketeers 182: Every time the fence hauled away a load he imagined he was getting a tail from the Burns men, the ‘Eyes’ and a half dozen headquarters dicks.
[US]R. Chandler ‘I’ll Be Waiting’ in Red Wind (1946) 127: Got the eye on me, haven’t you?
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]‘Curt Cannon’ ‘Dead Men Don’t Drink’ in I Like ’Em Tough (1958) 35: I’m not a real eye any more.
[US]R. Prather Scrambled Yeggs 17: ‘I’m a private investigator –’ ‘Yak,’ from the guy on the couch, ‘a private eye’. [Ibid.] 38: You’re Shell Scott, aren’t you? The private eyelid?
[US] ‘Sugar Hill’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 93: I pulled off a couple of pretty good stings and laid low to avoid the eyes.
[US]R. Campbell In La-La Land We Trust (1999) 17: ‘I’m a private investigator.’ ‘An eye?’.
[UK]Guardian G2 10 Nov. 8: The people who came to the eye were usually friends or relatives who never dreamed of going to the police.

3. (also the Eye, (US Und.) Pinkerton’s Detective Agency; thus the detectives it employs; occas. attrib. see cit. 1900 [the logo is an eye].

[US]Flynt & Walton Powers That Prey 32: You coppers got to help him. I ain’t going to have the Eye people snake in all the loose coin; I give it to you straight.
[US]Wash. Post 11 Nov. Misc. 3/5: He turned ‘stool pigeon’ for the ‘eye,’ as the Pinkertons are called.
[US]J. O’Connor Broadway Racketeers 251: Eye—Pinkerton detective.
[US](con. 1905–25) E.H. Sutherland Professional Thief (1956) 128: When the Eye (Pinkertons) are brought in to protect a race track or an exposition, that is bad.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).

4. (US gay/prison) the rectum, the anus; usu. in comb. [note -eye sfx].

[US]C. Shafer ‘Catheads [...] and Cho-Cho Sticks’ in Abernethy Bounty of Texas (1990) 203: eye, n. – rectum.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 19: the rectal opening, anus [...] eye (’40s).

5. a warning.

[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 236: the eye A warning.

6. (also eyes) a lookout.

[Can]Gazette (Montreal) 14 Sept. 1/8: Thirty of ‘the forty elephants’ are large, handsome women [...] the others, who are smaller, are used as decoys or ‘eyes’.
[US]E. De Roo Go, Man, Go! 78: He hadn’t known about the watchman before. The accident had been an advantage to him, he reasoned. Now he knew enough to avoid the nighteye in the future.
[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 66/1: eyes l one who acts as a lookout for a group of inmates engaged in illegal activity [...] 2 officers who may be on the lookout for inmates’ illegal activities.

7. (US campus, also eyeball) a television set.

[UK]S. Price Just for Record 55: He kept referring to television as ‘The Eye’.
[US]Baker et al. CUSS 113: Eye [...] Eyeball Television.

8. (US black) a hole.

[US]L. Durst Jives of Dr. Hepcat (1989) 6: The scarf is low at the castle, my fronts are on the thin side, my stomps got eyes, the landlord is putting down a clown for his scratch.
[US]H. Crews Feast of Snakes 84: Raised the way she was in the doorway, Willard and Joe Lon looked dead into the bulging eye of her pussy.

9. see all my eye phr.

In compounds

eye doctor (n.)

(gay) a male homosexual, i.e. one who practises anal intercourse.

[US]‘Dean Stiff’ Milk and Honey Route 204: Eye doctor [...] a pederast.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Guild Dict. Homosexual Terms 14: eye doctor (n.): A pedicator. It is said that in Old English a slang term for anus was blind-eye. (Rare.).
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 17: the man who fucks in anal intercourse, as opposed to the one who is fucked [...] eye doctor (’40s).
[UK] ‘Gay Men Names’ 🌐 eerquay • effie • ephebophile • ethel • eye doctor.

In phrases

eye that weeps most when pleased (n.) [the secretions that indicate excitement]

the vagina.

[UK]Bacchanalian Mag. 74: Original and selected Toasts and Sentiments [...] The Eye that weeps most at a moving tale.
[UK]‘Flash Toasts’ in Fanny Hill’s New Friskey Chanterr in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) III 354: The eye that weeps most, and best pleased .
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[UK]Farmer Vocabula Amatoria (1966) 214: Pluviöse, m. The female pudendum; ‘the eye that weeps the more it’s pleased’.

In exclamations

in your eye!

(US) an excl. of general derision, dismissal, contempt.

[US](con. 1860s) W.E. Barton Hero in Homespun 263: ‘Ye could put it all in yer eye,’ said Eph.
[US]Flynt & Walton Powers That Prey 245: ‘’Frisco Blackie told me the other day that Carr was one o’ the richest crooks in the country.’ ‘Rich in your eye,’ sneered an old man.
your other eye!

(Irish) an excl. of disbelief, rubbish! nonsense!

[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 249: ‘O!’ shrieking, Miss Kennedy cried. ‘Will you ever forget his goggle eye?’ Miss Douce chimed in in deep bronze laughter, shouting: ‘And your other eye!’.

SE in slang uses

In derivatives

eyeful (n.)

see separate entry.

In compounds

eye ache (n.) [i.e. a pain in the sense 4]

a bore, a nuisance, an irritation.

[UK]R. Puxley Fresh Rabbit 93: A pain in the plaster becomes a pain in the arse, or an eye ache.

see separate entries.

eye bunger (n.) [bung v.1 (1)]

a setback, lit. something that ‘blacks one’s eye’.

[UK] ‘’Arry on Competitive Examination’ in Punch 1 Dec. 253/2: And then spiked like a juggins at last by an eye-bunger called an Exam.
eye drops (n.)

(US) tears.

[[US]Hawaiian Star 20 Apr. 8/4: There were tears, swelling eyedrops of bubbling laughter].
[US] in T.I. Rubin Sweet Daddy 7: Can’t remember making with the eye drops. A cry baby I’m not.

see separate entries.

eye-game (v.)

(W.I.) to stare at and ogle women.

[WI]S. Selvon Housing Lark 117: Once he start eye-gaming [...] we ain’t going to see him for a while.
eyeglass weather (n.) [one requires an eyeglass]

foggy weather, in which one cannot see clearly.

[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 152/2: Heye-glass weather (Street, 1860 on). Foggy -requiring the help of an eye, or rather eye-glass. Attack upon young men wearing single eyeglasses, which became common in this year.
eye jammy (n.)

(US black) a black eye.

[US]Ultramagnetic MCs ‘Travelling At The Speed of Thought’ 🎵 Hatches down, covering knots for eye jammy. 19 May 🌐 Oh My! Cam’ron’s Got An Eye Jammy!!! [...] That eye jammy came from him trying to dive in that small *** baby pool . 29 Nov. 🌐 [headline] HALLE BERRY’S EX CAUGHT AN EYE JAMMY.
eyelid movies (n.)

(US) daydreams, fantasies enjoyed with the eyes closed, often as stimulated by a hallucinogenic drug; often of masturbation fantasies, esp. in phr. watch eyelid movies, to masturbate.

[US]Current Sl. V:4 11: Eyelid movies, n. Hallucinations.
Cope Head ‘A Rave On Halloween’ on ‘Experience Vaults’ on 27 Jun. 🌐 After a few minutes of looking for drug alerts, I began to realize I was feeling the bees. I felt the calm centering that I have come to associate with 2CB. I also felt some stomach jitters, which I do not experience every time, but I am certainly familiar with. With eyes closed I was starting to detect the stirrings of eyelid movies.
eye-lifter (n.)

(Aus.) a heavy bet.

[Aus]Queenslander 25 May 44/5: Thousands upon thousands of dollars were out against the mare. The Sultan went a raker on her, and Smith and myself also had an eye-lifter between us.
eye-opener (n.)

see separate entries.

eye-popping (adj.) [one’s eyes pop out of one’s head]

(US) remarkable, sensational.

[US]Berrey & Van den Bark Amer. Thes. Sl.
[UK]Eve. Standard 28 May 63: There is an eye-popping black number with white piping.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 3 May 5: Eye-popping photography.
eye-shoot (v.)

(US) to stare at aggressively.

[US]G. Pelecanos Right As Rain 83: Some of the black men [...] were looking at the two of them, not bothering to look way when Quinn eye-shot them back.
eye-trouble (n.)

(N.Z. prison) a propensity (real or imagined) for staring at other prisoners or at warders, usu. in challenging phr. have you got eye-trouble?, often the start of a fight.

[NZ]Truth (Wellington) 10 July 15: As I walked from the yard into the day room [at Lake Alice Mental Hospital] for the first time a young guy said to another: ‘Have you got eye trouble?’ ‘Yeah,’ he said. ‘I’ll fix it for you,’ said the young guy-and smashed the other patient in the eyes with his fists. ‘Eye trouble’ is a common expression in Lake Alice and prisons. It ‘afflicts’ those who stare at others and it results in eyes being punched [DNZE].
[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 66/2: have eye trouble n. to look intently at another inmate or group of inmates, and thus to appear rude or over-inquisitive.
eyewash (n.) [the army use meant anything, e.g. washing the eyes, that is done for effect rather than for any practical purpose]

1. (orig. milit.) rubbish, nonsense, humbug, anything done for appearance rather than effect.

[UK]Jrnl United Service Instit. India 13-15 447: The field sketching board implies real business free from examination ‘eyewash’.
[Scot]Aberdeen Journal 14 June 6/2: He said that kind of review was mere eye-wash.
[Aus]C.E.W. Bean Anzac Book 115: E is for Eye-wash, a wonderful lotion, / Employed by the man who is keen on promotion.
[UK]J. Buchan Greenmantle (1930) 294: I tried to find out, but they gave me nothing but eyewash.
[UK]Exeter & Plymouth Gaz. 16 Nov. 7/4: [headline] N.F.U. Dartmouth Meeting Flapdoodle and Eyewash.
[UK](con. 1916) F. Manning Her Privates We (1986) 235: They make up some kind of a plan; but that’s all eye-wash.
[US]B. Traven Treasure of the Sierra Madre 176: It’s all eyewash and superstition.
[UK]K. Williams Diaries 9 Aug. 4: Read She balderdash! tripe! eyewash! blah! etcetera.
[NZ]I. Hamilton Till Human Voices Wake Us 5: The no-colour-bar-in-New-Zealand is the usual eyewash.
[UK]G. Kersh Fowlers End (2001) 64: Whatever you read about it is a lot of eyewash.
[UK]C. Stead Cotters’ England (1980) 227: He said he never read poetry as a boy, he thought it eyewash.
[UK]P. Theroux Picture Palace 102: Eyewash, I thought.
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 139: eyewash. Nonsense.
[US](con. 1966) W. Kross Splash One 83: Not eye-wash, real gumshoe intell.

2. cheap liquor.

[US](con. 1914–18) L. Nason Three Lights from a Match 200: Eye-wash means only one thing to him. That old sponge! [...] They’ve wrecked my car and come all the way up here with a hot-water bottle full of whiskey!
[US]J. Crumley One to Count Cadence (1987) 321: ‘Pour me a drink [...] eyewash, if you got it.’ ‘Just gin.’.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 77: eyewash cheap champagne; by extension any cheap liquor.
eyewater (n.)

1. brandy.

[UK]C. Dibdin Yngr Song Smith 128: ‘Eye water?’ said the drunken buck, ‘I’ve got an excellent bottle in my pocket.’.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 74: Eye-water — Brandy — mistakenly used of gin also.
[UK]Duncombe New and Improved Flash Dict. n.p.: Culpepper’s eye-water brandy.
[Aus]Riverina Recorder (Moulamein, NSW) 22 May 2/7: ‘Yarra’ disburses eye water, together with a lovely bowl, either wholesale or retail.

2. gin.

[Ire]Spirit of Irish Wit 29: ‘She was fond, to be sure, of a little eye-water’.
[UK]W. Perry London Guide 136: An invitattion to walk into that sanctum sanctorum of all groggishness follows, where the women as well as the n take their drops of eye-water.
[UK]Morning Post (London) 2 Mar. 2/5: The ‘Queen’s’ eyewater, vulgarly called Gin, was in great demand.
[UK]Chester Chron. 10 July 3/4: They called for fresh glasses of eye-water.
[UK]Mr Mathews’ Comic Annual 15: Och, take a drop of eye water.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Handley Cross (1854) 211: A large black bottle of Hollands, labelled ‘Eye Water,’ [...] was fearlessly placed on the table. [Ibid.] 213: Give us a look in, there’ll always be a drop of eye-water in the bottle.
[Aus]W. Howitt Two Years in Victoria (1855) I 349: Oh! eye-water we sell [...] Eye-water! that’s the stuff.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[UK]G.J. Whyte-Melville M. or N. I 118: ‘On this minnit, off at six, Buster; two bob an’ a bender, and a three of eye-water, in?’ ‘Done for another joey,’ replied Buster.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
[UK]Judy 4 Aug. 58: He imbibed stupendous quantities of jiggered gin, dogs nose, and Paddys eye-water [F&H].
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 27: Eye Water, gin.
[Scot]Eve. Teleg. (Dundee) 1 Sept. 3/6: ‘Cream of the valley,’ ‘water of life,’ ‘white satin,’ ‘blue ruin,’ ‘eyewater’ — Gin.
[UK]Manchester Courier 5 Apr. 10/3: He favoured [...] ‘Paddy’s eye-water’ —politely known as gin.

3. (US) alcohol, usu. whisky.

[US]St Louis Globe-Democrat 19 Jan. n.p.: They nominate ‘bottled electricity,’ ‘lemonade with a stick in it,’ ‘jig-water,’ ‘budge,’ ‘bilge-water,’ ‘bug-juice,’ ‘rat-poison,’ ‘fusel-oil,’ ‘red-eye,’ ‘liquid ointment,’ ‘cut nails,’ ‘hard head,’ ‘benzine,’ ‘nitro-glycerine,’ ‘oil,’ ‘tea,’ ‘eye-water,’ ‘chain- lightning.’ [...] they all want the same article, alcohol, more or less diluted.
[US]Semi-weekly Interior Journal (Stanford, KY) 12 June 2/4: Dr Baker dishes out the devil’s eye-water to the boys.

4. (US) illicitly distilled whisky.

Sugar Planter (W. Baton Rouge, LA) 26 Jan. 1/4: The City Marshall was of ‘easy virtue’ [and] seldom known to refuse a glass of ‘Cincinnati eye-water’.
[US]Memphis Cly Appeal 31 Dec. 3/4: The ‘boys’ at Louisville have coined the term ‘jig-water’ to what is familiarly known here as ‘bug-juice,’ and in Cincinnati as ‘eye-water’.
[US] ‘More Tennessee Expressions’ in AS XVI:1 Feb. 447/1: eye water. Liquor. ‘Eye water’s more plentiful in Jackson County now than common.’.
eyewit (n.)

(US) an eye witness.

[US](con. 1962) J. Ellroy Enchanters 7: Three men grabbed her [...] Multiple eyewits saw them.

In phrases

all my eye (and Betty Martin)

see separate entries.

cut one’s eyes (v.) [dial. cut-eye, a scornful gesture made with the eyes]

to glance (suspiciously) at, to look at furtively; to look askance at.

[US]C.H. Smith Bill Arp 103: He cut his eye along the line of my numerous offspring, and observed that I had better scatter them, as provisions were scarce.
J.C. Harris Free Joe (1907) 105: Dee wuz times, suh, w’en it seem like ter me dat Marse Fess Trunion wuz a-cuttin’ he eye at Miss Lady, en den I ‘low ter myse’f, ‘Shoo, man! ... you nee’nter be a-drappin’ yo’ wing ‘roun’ Miss Lady, kaze she too high-strung fer dat.’.
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 22: Cutting his Eyes, getting suspicious.
[WI]J.G. Cruickshank Black Talk 31: To ‘cut your eye’ at anybody is to look askance at him.
[US]Tom Petty ‘No Second Thoughts’ 🎵 Cuts her eyes and looks out at the stars.
[US](con. 1940s) C. Bram Hold Tight (1990) 117: He cut his eyes at the two men.
[UK]C. Newland Scholar 90: Sean said nothing and just cut his eye at his cousin, while biting his lip nervously.
T. Hendriks ‘Mr. Bombastic’ Jam. Paleface 🌐 Attempt to employ a man in Jamaica to blow up a plane and you’d have to check on him by the hour. Follow him to the airport, you’d find him lyricsing a girl and when he sees you coming he’d cut his eye at you.
[UK]Jade LB Keisha the Sket (2021) 46: She cut er eye at me [...] an went in da back [of the shop].
[US]S.M. Jones Lives Laid Away [ebook] Brecker nervously assessed each of us [...] then cut his eyes to the semicircle of weapons laid out in front of him.
[US]S.A. Crosby Razorblade Tears 170: He expected Ike to cut his eyes at him again.
dip one’s eye... (v.) (also hot cocky shit, hot fat,, ...manure, ...mud)

(Aus.) phr. of (aggressive) dismissal.

[Aus]1926Smith’s Wkly (Sydney) 25 Sept. 1/6: ‘As I do not recognise you or any other outsider in this deal, you can dip your eye in hot fat’.
Gilgandra Wkly (NSW) 7 Nov. 2/4: ‘You go and dip your eye in manure!’ said Paddy.
[Aus]Townsville Dly Bulletin (Qld) 25 June 14/1: And this answer sent me reeling: / ‘Garn and dip your eye in mud!’.
[Aus]Sporting Globe (Melbourne) 14 Dec. 6/7: I venture to say that the most effective hold that could be employed would be the ‘dip your eye in mud’ slam.
[Aus]Smith’s Wkly (Sydney) 13 Nov. 14/2: Sergeant back-chatted, which brought the reply: ‘Aw, go and dip your eye in ink!’ This remark thoroughly roused the sergeant and he threatened an orderly-room charge if it wasn’t withdrawn. Delinquent looked contrite. ‘Now Sarge,’ he purred, ‘you know I didn’t mean to say ink!’.
T.A.G. Hungerford Ridger & River 175: ‘I might go back to it for a while. I’ll wait till some rich old harlot trots in and starts to chuck her weight around, and then I’ll just key her up, good and hard. I’ll say, ‘Listen, missus; you go and dip your eye!’ and then I’ll blow. Oh boy, can’t you see her?’.
[Aus]T.A.G. Hungerford Sowers of Wind 187: ‘Oh, dip your eye!’ Stewart told him testily.
Beresford & Humphries Adventures of Barry McKenzie [film script] Go and dip your left eye in hot cocky cack.
[Aus]Tharunka (Sydney) 5 Sept. 29/2: Good boys and girls aren’t you? You couldn’t edit your way out of paper bags. Little smart arses you are. Poofters would be more like it. Go dip your eyes in poop, you tripe!
Aus. Sl. 77: dip your left eye in hot cocky cack! also dip your left eye in hot cocky shit! 1. int. An exclamation of disdain or dismissal (coined in the 1972 film The Adventures of Barry Mckenzie). 2. int. Get lost! Piss off!
do in the eye (v.)

see under do v.1

eye in the sky (n.) (orig. US)

1. a two-way mirror used for security in a casino; also attrib. (see cit. 2002).

[US]J. Scarne Complete Guide to Gambling 224: Some of the larger Nevada casinos have observation posts concealed behind one-way glass in the walls and in the ceilings above each gaming table, known as ‘eyes in the sky’.
[US]E. Leonard Glitz 177: I’ve known her ever since Vegas. She’s really smart, you know, to get where she is. Up there in the Eye in the Sky. [Ibid.] 244: Look down through one-way smoked glass at the casino floor [...] ‘The Eye in the Sky,’ Nancy said.
[Aus]J. Birmingham Tasmanian Babes Fiasco (1998) 234: This ain’t no fucking one-deck burn joint you know. They got the Eye in the Sky.
Gamble Trib. 25 Nov. 🌐 Casinos prefer slots, because they don’t require trained dealers or close eye-in-the-sky supervision.

2. a police or traffic helicopter; also attrib. (see cit. 2003).

[US]L. Dills CB Slanguage.
[US]W.C. Anderson Bat-21 22: Your report confirms big eye in the sky.
[UK]Guardian 10 Mar. 🌐 Inevitably, it’s a car chase – covered live by eye-in-the-sky helicopters.

3. (N.Z. prison) a prison officer conducted surveillance.

[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] : .
[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 66/1: eye in the sky n. a lookout, a pegger.
eyes like pissholes in the snow (n.) (also …in a snowbank, …like two burnt holes in a blanket, burn holes in a blanket) [poss. the result of an excess of alcohol]

(orig. milit.) deeply sunken eyes, often bloodshot and usu. associated with excessive drinking or ill health; occas. with ref. to cannabis (see cite 1996).

Grensboro Patriot (NC) 6 Sept. 2/4: The eyes [...] are very badly executed in the counterfeit [...] like two burnt holes in a blanket.
[UK]Navy at Home II 128: Toby had taken too much heavy wet on board; (Gay compared his eyes [...] to ‘two burnt holes in a blanket!’).
Wkly Raleigh Register (NC) 18 Oct. 1/2: His bare and beggarly looks [and] the vitrified appearance of his eyes, which put me in mind of two burnt holes in a blanket.
[US]Tennessean (Nashville, TN) 14 Aug. 3/1: Her face bloated, and eyes rese bling two burnt holes in a blanket, told a tale of riotous living.
[US]Richmond Dispatch (VA) 21 Nov. 1/6: His hide filled with bad whiskey, and his eyes resembling burnt holes in a blanket.
Preston Herald 30 Mar. 5/3: Are there any promising sons or brothers [...] the rule of whose conduct seems to be won’t go home till morning, who [...] have eyes that look like ‘two burnt holes in a blanket?’.
[US]Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL) 11 Dec. 3/2: His eyes looked like two burnt holes in a blanket.
[US]Leavenworth Times (KS) 10 Apr. 2/4: His eyes are lustrous, furtive and percing, looking not unlike two burnt holes in a blanket.
[US]Star-Gaz. (Elmira, NY) 4 Nov. 3/1: What’s the matter? Hain’t you well [...] You look taller-colored as the dead, an’ your eyes is like burnt holes in a blanket.
[US]Salt Lake Trib. (UT) 4 Oct. 4/4: [advert] When hollow cheeks appear and hidden pigments make the eyes look like burnt holes in a blanket, the blood is sick and out of tune.
[US]H.C. Witwer Fighting Blood 28: I kin tell by your eyes – look like two burnt holes in a blanket!
[UK]J. Carr Bad (1995) 28: He came up all white and coughing, his eyes like two pissholes in a snowbank.
Pess & Sun Bulletin (Binghamton, NY) 26 oct. 5/4: ‘I got up hung over and looked into the mirror at eyes like two burn holes in a blanket’.
[Aus]N. Keesing Lily on the Dustbin 174: If we think that one of our loved ones looks ‘like death warmed up’ [...] if their morning-after eyes remind us of ‘two piss holes in the snow’ we do not hesitate to tell them so.
[US](con. 1968) D.A. Dye Citadel (1989) 299: Fucker’s eyes looked like two pissholes in a snowbank.
[Aus](con. 1964-65) B. Thorpe Sex and Thugs and Rock ’n’ Roll 214: ‘You look shitfaced [...] gotta eyes like two pissholes in the snow’.
[UK]Guardian Editor 19 Nov. 16: Just off the boat, 19 with dead white skin and two scabby eyes like pissholes in the snow.
[UK]N. Griffiths Grits 139: Last time ah saw im was [...] at some pahty likes, is face black an blue, eyes like fuckin piss’oles in dirty snow.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 74: eyes like burn holes in a blanket Not looking well. ANZ.
eyes out (adv.)

(N.Z.) as fast as possible.

[NZ]McGill Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 43/2: eyes out as fast as possible; a variation of the Australian convict era phrase ‘to go eyes out’, to work very hard; eg ‘Okay, lads, eyes out and we’ll be through this by three.’.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. [as cit. 1988].
eyes set at eight in the morning (adj.) [one’s eyes are staring in different directions]


[UK]Shakespeare Twelfth Night V i: O! he’s drunk, Sir Toby, an hour agone: His eyes were set at eight i’ the morning.
eyes set in one’s head (adj.)


[UK]Shakespeare Tempest III i: trin.: If th’ other two be brained like us, the state totters. ste.: Drink, servant monster, when I bid thee: thy eyes are almost set in thy head.
eye up (v.)

to gaze at, to ogle sexually.

[UK]R. Milward Ten Storey Love Song 126: It freaks him out slightly getting eyed up by a muscly bald T-shirted person.
get in someone’s eye (v.) (US black)

1. to beat up.

[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 239: get in (one’s) eye 1. Fight. 2. Beat severely.

2. to hit someone in the face or eye; also fig. use, to throw or pass something.

[Aus]D. Ireland Burn 92: Hit us in the eye with the salt, will yer? [...] The salt comes through the door. Gunner catches it expertly.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 105: A number of terms for fighting warn the opponent [...] just where he can expect a fist or knuckle to fall – go upside one’s head, get in one’s eye, dance on one’s lips.
get the eye (v.)

to be stared at.

[US]Simon & Burns Corner (1998) 438: As he comes back through the front counter, he gets the eye from Ron, Miss Mary’s son.
give someone an eye (v.) [abbr. SE black eye]

(Aus.) to blacken someone’s eye.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 18 Jan. 16/2: Offensively Sober Person (to drunk, who has suddenly rushed up and given him ‘an eye’): ‘What did yer hit me for?’.
give someone the eye (v.) (also give someone the eyes, give the eye to)

1. (also give someone the dirty eye) to stare at; to appraise.

[US]W.J. Kountz Billy Baxter’s Letters 69: Johnny immediately began to figure, on how he would treat certain people over in Pittsburg who had given him the eye in bygone days.
[US]Ade More Fables in Sl. (1960) 134: She would [...] be Lippy and give them the Eye.
[US]Ade Hand-made Fables 284: [She] would give the Gimlet Eye to each Zipper and then rush back to her Apartment to slip on something a little more Ultra.
[UK]Wodehouse Right Ho, Jeeves 143: I gave him the eye.
[US]N. Algren Never Come Morning (1988) 55: Did they stop ’n give you the dirty eye like it was their Charlie.
[US]M. Spillane Long Wait (1954) 10: He gave me the eyes up and down while I opened the door.
[US]W. Brown Run, Chico, Run (1959) 20: The nabs gave the poolroom the eye, climbed the stairs to Mamma Lina’s for a cold beer or stopped to chat with Candy Sam.
[US]M. Rumaker Exit 3 and Other Stories 103: She’s been giving us the eye ever since we came in.
[US]O. Hawkins Ghetto Sketches 126: The security guard strolls by and gives us the eye.
[US]J. Sayles Union Dues (1978) 195: I didn’t have my ID and the guy gave me the hairy eyeball all the time I’m in there.
[US]J. Ellroy Brown’s Requiem 151: Above the bed a different, more sombre holy man gave me the eye.
[US]R. Price Clockers 131: Mazilli continued staring, giving him the eye.
[US]C. Hiaasen Lucky You 217: Shiner didn’t appreciate how Chub was putting him on the spot: giving him the eye, acting like Shiner was holding something back.
[US](con. 1970s) G. Pelecanos King Suckerman (1998) 56: Giving the eye to Karras.
[Scot]I. Welsh Glue 92: Sittin in the wideo seat, right at the back oan the toap deck, giein the eye tae any gadges that came oan.
[Aus]J.J. DeCeglie Drawing Dead [ebook] I thought some citizen was giving me the eye and went over and stared at him.

2. (also give someone the eye-roll) to appraise sexually, to give a seductive look.

[US]A.C. Gunter M.S. Bradford Special 203: The master’s the right stuff! See him knock out those two dudes who had been giving the eye to his wife!
[US]‘Hugh McHugh’ Down the Line 40: The Sweet Dreams across the way were giving Buck the glorious eye-roll.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 250: Every time the chunky girl in the green tights on the end gave him the eye he stood up in the box and signalled that he was willing to buy a drink.
[Aus]Truth (Melbourne) 3 Jan. 11/4: [headline] Merry Michael Gives the Glad Eye to a Gay Girlee. Brave Belle belts Him on the Boko.
[UK]G. Jennings Poached Eggs and Pearls (1917) 16: Look at Lady Penzance giving him the glad eye!
[US]T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. (1993) 40: D’ye get the doll tryin’ to give him the eye? Ain’t she a lil?
[US]J. Lait Gangster Girl 81: More than one lobby loiterer gave her the quick eye and turned to follow her slender, agile figure.
[US](con. 1917–19) Dos Passos Nineteen Nineteen in USA (1966) 380: They ran into two high-yellers who gave them the eyez.
[US]Cab Calloway ‘I Learned About Love From Her’ 🎵 We met one evening when the moon was bright, / And when she gave me the eye I thought that I would die.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Judgement Day in Studs Lonigan (1936) 656: You’ve been giving me the eye all afternoon.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Social Error’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 452: She sometimes gives him the old eye when she sees him around the Sixteen Hundred club.
[US](con. 1914) S.J. Simonsen Soldier Bill 16: She gave Bill the ‘glad eyes’, and he thought, ‘This is sure luck for me’.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 19: The chicks lined up along the curb, giving me the eye all the way.
[US]J.D. Salinger Catcher in the Rye (1958) 74: I started giving her the old eye a little bit.
[US]N. Algren Walk on the Wild Side 55: Better lookers than this Pachuco would be giving him the eye in Dallas or Houston one of these days.
[US]H. Selby Jr Last Exit to Brooklyn (1966) 68: All the drunks gave her the eye.
[Can]J. Mandelkau Buttons 101: One of the brothers spotted this queen sitting down the end of the bar giving us the eye.
[US]J. Ellroy Brown’s Requiem 37: Young hookers were starting to appear, sitting on bus benches and giving male motorists the eye.
[UK]T. Blacker Fixx 178: The Major’s wife [...] used to give me the eye on the rare occasions I visited them.
[UK]Guardian 23 Oct. 16: Two slappers start giving him the eye.
[UK]K. Sampson Awaydays 63: Elvis reckons the girl who plays bass keeps giving him the eye.
[UK]Observer Mag. 12 Sept. 10: There are two women giving them the eye.
[UK]N. Barlay Crumple Zone 172: And they’ll be giving guys the eye over the rim of their Hooch bottles.
[UK]A. Sillitoe Birthday 70: Brian gave her the eye, and they got talking.
[Scot](con. 1980s) I. Welsh Skagboys 251: The only other occupant is this dark-skinned young maiden [...] and I’m getting the eye big time.
[Scot]T. Black Ringer [ebook] n.p.: I looks them [i.e. two girls] over and I’m getting the glad-eye, fucking sure I am.

3. to give a signal, to ‘tip the wink’.

[UK]R. Llewellyn None But the Lonely Heart 42: She [...] went down to the Ladies for a few minutes till somebody give her the eye that the half hard comic had sloped.
[US]I. Shulman Amboy Dukes 95: After he’d introduced his girl he’d give them the eye, and [...] he’d have the place to himself.
[US] ‘Good-Doing Wheeler’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 76: She gave the eye to a bouncer nearby, / Who carried him out to the car.
[US]‘Ed Lacy’ Lead With Your Left (1958) 10: Lieutenant Reed gave Denny the eye.
[US]H. Williamson Hustler 157: [H]e [i.e. a confederate] was bettin’ on the side, ’cause he knew I could beat this guy. If I’d give him the eye to go on and bet I was goin’ a beat the sucker!
have eyes for (v.) (also have eyes on,

1. (US) to desire, wish for, usu. sexually.

Waukesha Dly Freeman (WI) 22 jan. 6/1: ‘O, Jessie, here, seem to be the favorite [...] He has eyes only for her’.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘The Return of the Wanderer’ Sporting Times 14 Apr. 1/4: He’ll think himself lucky, no doubt, to arrive, / And discover that Liz has still eyes for him.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 9 Aug. 14/4: There was a conspicuous instance of it on the Block t’other day, when a big-shouldered soldier and a rather narrow-chested dandy walked on either side of a sprightly ‘bit-of-muslin.’ This consequential Miss has all eyes for the narrow youth, and left the ‘hero’ unregarded by her side.
[Aus]X. Herbert Capricornia (1939) 26: But for her he had no eyes.
[US]New Yorker 3 July 28: Have you eyes for a sandwich?
[US]T. Southern ‘The Night the Bird Blew for Doctor Warner’ in Southern (1973) 55: I got big eyes to get on and just fall out someplace where the cats are blowin’.
[US]Mad mag. Apr. 34: Writers like me got no eyes for all that heavy bread!
[US]N. Spinrad Bug Jack Barron 26: To think this dum-dum has eyes for the White House.
[US]E. Torres After Hours 42: He had eyes for the Fräuleins.
[US]N. Heard House of Slammers 87: If you got eyes to cop king-size I’ll git a piece for you.
D.H. Edwards The World Don’t Owe Me Nothing 20: I think before my mother died, my father had eyes on Miss Sue.
[US]‘Bill E. Goodhead’ Nubile Treat 🌐 Roy liked everyone, but he’d always had eyes for his lovely granddaughter Nell. He liked Ned too, but he was absolutely crazy about Nell.
D. Johnson Am I a Good Daddy? 32: [...] their husband should not have eyes for any other woman than their wife.
[US]J. Hannaham Didn’t Nobody Give a Shit 15: [H]e didn’t really have eyes for her, or big enough ones, anyway.

2. (also have eyes) to see what is happening.

[US] in T.I. Rubin Sweet Daddy 134: I really got eyes for the street.
[US]T. Willocks Green River Rising 256: He’s got eyes and he knows what this shit is all about.
have eyes like cod’s ballocks (v.)

to have popping eyes.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 371: [...] C.20.
have one’s eye in a sling (v.)

see under sling n.2

have one’s eye on the ball (v.)

see ball n.1

I’ll knock out your eight eyes [see cit. 1788, which refers respectively to bubby n.1 , SE belly, SE pope’s eye: the lymphatic gland in a leg of mutton, regarded as a delicacy (here presumably the urinal and anal orifices), and, while the censored term remains mysterious, it is, presumably, a ref. to the vagina]

a threat, commonly used by Billingsgate fishwives.

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd, 3rd edn) n.p.: I will knock out two of your eight eyes; a common Billingsgate threat from one fish nymph to another: every woman, according to the naturalists of that society, having eight eyes; viz. two seeing eyes, two bub-eyes, a bell-eye, two pope’s eyes, and a ***-eye.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
knock someone’s eye out (v.) (also knock someone’s eyes out)

1. (US campus) to perform one’s work well.

[US]W.C. Gore Student Sl. in Cohen (1997) 18: knock the instructor’s eye out To make a good recitation.

2. (US) of a person, usu. a woman, to be stunningly attractive.

[US]R. Lardner ‘A Frame-Up’ in Coll. Short Stories (1941) 428: The soup and fish was everywheres, and gals that would knock your eye out.
[US](con. 1943–5) A. Murphy To Hell and Back (1950) 260: Brunette with a figure that’d knock your eye out.

3. (orig. US) of an object, to delight, to impress.

[US]Ade Forty Modern Fables 69: It became necessary to Knock his Eye out and prove to him that Springfield was strictly In It, they took him up to call on Mazie.
[US]T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. (1993) 113: We have a line of dress suits on sale now that would knock your eye out at the price.
[US]P. & T. Casey Gay-cat 268: A home with mush an’ milk o’ mornin’s an’ pancakes that ’ud knock yer eye out!
[US]T. Thursday ‘Good Luck is No Good’ in Federal Agent Nov. 🌐 She sits me down to a feed that would have knocked your eyes out.
[US]S. Lewis Kingsblood Royal (2001) 294: I’ve dictated a letter of recommendation that’ll knock your eye out.
[US]H. Simmons Corner Boy 148: I got something in the short a knock your eyes out.
[US]H.S. Thompson letter 26 June in Proud Highway (1997) 344: Some of the whores will knock your eyes out.
[US]Cab Calloway Of Minnie the Moocher and Me 134: A perforfmance that would knock your eyes out.
[UK]J. Sullivan ‘No Greater Love’ Only Fools and Horses [TV script] One day you’d have gone down the roller disco and met some blinding 18-year-old sort who’d have knocked your eyes out.
make four eyes (v.)

(W.I.) of two people, to gaze at one another.

[UK]P. Baker Blood Posse 297: His eyes made four with mine. [Ibid.] 341: My eyes made four with a blue-eyed white man.
make one’s eyes pass somebody (v.) (also take one’s eye(s) pass somebody)

(W.I., Guyn.) to speak disrespectfully to one who ought to be treated respectfully.

[WI]Allsopp Dict. Carib. Eng. Usage.
nice pair of eyes (n.)

a euph. for attractive breasts, usu. in phr. she’s got a ... 18 Nov. 🌐 WOW! You really do have a nice pair of ‘eyes’. Sorry I was going to try and not be like the little boys.
no eyes [opposite of have eyes for ]

a phr. meaning no interest in, or, I’m not interested.

[US]J.C. Holmes Horn 56: I got no eyes for that now.
[US]Mad mag. June 48: Man, he had no eyes to quibble.
[US]R. Russell Sound 192: No, no, man, not my kick. Not kidding. No eyes.
pick the eyes out of (v.) [orig. referring spec. to a system whereby a squatter chose the best bits of a tract of land (a ‘run’) so as to render the remainder useless to a rival]

(Aus.) to get the best bits for oneself.

S. Aus. Gaz. (Adelaide) 15 June 3/4: How nicely — in the expressive language of the miners — will the English capitalist pick the eyes out of the land, not taking [...] the good and bad land together, but quietly selecting all the best blocks.
[Aus]Bendigo Advertiser (Vic.) 8 Mar. 3/2: Mr. Service said it was not intended that selectors should be allowed to pick the eyes out of the best lots in (lie manner supposed.
[Aus]Sydney Morn. Herald 28 Feb. 3/: They [i.e. squatters] have for years past been engaged in that delightful pastime known as ‘picking the eyes out of the run’.
[Aus]Newcastle Morn. Herald 15 Aug. 2/3: Who knows better [...] that these very squatters, whom he professes to censure, are picking the eyes out of the country; that in a few years they will have purchased all the valuable lands within it, and that the people's patrimony will be represented by the back blocks and brushland which have no commercial value.
[Aus]Bendigo Advertiser (Vic.) 6 July 3/5: The Gaiety Company [...] are obliged to leave Australia in little more than a fortnight’s time [...] so we can as it were ‘pick the eyes’ out of the burlesques there is not time to produce, and put the best items of the lot into ‘Faust up to Date’.
[UK]Daily Tel. 26 July in Ware (1909) 195/2: It is to be feared that more attention would, naturally, be paid to extracting the richest ore from the mines (‘picking its eyes’, as the popular term is) than to proceeding with the regular course of development.
Grafton Argus (NSW) 7 July 3/1: [I]t would mean that the capitalist would pick the eyes out of the country. The rich man, the business man and the financier would all make a grab for the land, and the poor man [...] would be left out in the cold.
[Aus]Advocate (Burnie, Tas.) 27 Jan. 5/7: Mr. M'Elhnne condemned as ‘shabby and unfair’ picking the eyes out of the Australian Eleven by offers of lucrative business engagements in England.
Sthn Districts Advocate (Katanning, WA) 30 Sept. 4/3: [...] to permit commercial goods vehicles to compete unfairly with the State railways; and to pick the eyes out of the traffic and leave the railway to carry the unprofitable lines.
[Aus]Baker Popular Dict. Aus. Sl. (2nd edn).
put a finger in one’s eye (v.) [the implication is of forced, and thus insincere, tears]

to weep.

[UK] in D’Urfey Pills to Purge Melancholy IV 81: Who can but in Conscience say, / Fie, fie, for shame away, away, / putting Finger in the Eye, / Till you have a fresh Supply.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Finger To put finger in eye; to weep: commonly applied to women.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (3rd edn) .
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum [as cit. 1796].
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
put the eye on (v.) (orig. US)

1. to look at seductively.

[US]R. Chandler Big Sleep 69: I was having the eye put on me.
[UK]T. Keyes All Night Stand 81: ‘Let’s go then,’ says Cass, putting the eye on my Barbara.

2. to examine, to stare at.

[US]D. Runyon ‘The Bloodhounds of Broadway’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 99: Maud is commencing to put the old eye on [...] us.
[US]R. Chandler Playback 23: The girl [...] put the eye on me.

3. to place under surveillance.

[UK]C. MacInnes City of Spades (1964) 133: I must cut out of this weed racket soon [...] No one lasts more than three months or so, because the Law puts the eye on you before too long goes by.
there you go with your eye out

a general phr. aimed at an unknown passer-by.

[UK]New Sporting Mag. May 120/2: The old one, of ‘There you go with your eye out,’ originated at one of the police offices.
[UK]‘There You Are With Your Eye Out’ in Tommarroo Songster in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) IV 342: Queer sayings long in folk’s chat, / You’ll own have had a part in — / As ‘Take a sight,’ — ‘What are you at?’ / ‘The ticket,’ and ‘Betty Martin’. / But now another one’s come up / [...] / ‘Oh, there you go with your eye out’.
[UK]Sporting Mag. Nov. 229: Illic vadis cum oculo tuo ex —There you go with your eye out.
[UK]Bentley’s Misc. 1 Jan. 41: There you go with your eye out.
[Ind]Delhi Sketch Bk 1 Sept. 54/1: This mighty King, whenever he walks abroad, all nature exclaims, ‘There he goes with his eye out’.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 21 Oct. 3/3: [He] was saluted with a bit of crust in the ocular, and the remark, ‘there yer goes with yer eye out’.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Plain or Ringlets? (1926) 211: The slang cry of ‘There you go with your eye out!’ occurred to his recollection.
[US]Harper’s Mag. 8 July 305/1: These mere catchwords of the moment are rarely foul, as the words and phrases of the first class often are, but they are unfailingly foolish. There you go with your eye out, which was accepted as a humorous remark in London, and where did you get that hat? which had a like fleeting vogue in New York, are phrases as inoffensive as they are flat.

In exclamations

got your eye full!

addressed to someone who is staring, with the undoubted suggestion that they should stop at once; it can be followed with ‘Want a picture?’.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 492/1: since early C.20.
R. Newman Case of the Baker Street Irregular 19: ‘Got your eye full?’ she asked aggressively. ‘I beg your pardon?’ ‘Who you staring at?’.
C. Bradley Pretender 37: Her gaze didn’t waver. ‘Got your eye full?’ Simon snarled.
mind your eye!

be careful! look out!

[UK]Carlisle Jrnl 6 Dec. 4/7: Wellingtons — Wellingtons! cheap I cry, / Portugee devils — mind your eye!
[UK]London Dispatch 5 Mar. 8/1: [headline] Mind Your Eye!
[UK]Morn. Post (London) 19 Oct. 5/3: He called to his sister [...] ‘Mind your eye or I’ll shoot you’.
[US]‘Timothy Titcomb’ Letters to Young People 141: If a young man should ‘kind o’ shine up to you,’ and you should ‘cotton to him,’ and he should hear you say [...] ‘mind your eye,’ [...] he would pretty certainly ‘evaporate’.
[UK]Leics. Mercury 3 May 2/3: King of Prussia, mind your eye, / Rukle not with a hand too high / or you’ll be obliged to fly.
[US] ‘English Sl.’ in Eve. Telegram (N.Y.) 9 Dec. 1/5: Let us present a few specimens:– [...] ‘Mind your eye’.
[UK]Gloucester Citizen 30 Aug. 4/1: So now, you who intend to go to Cyprus, mind your eye!
[UK]Devizes & Wilts Gaz. 21 Oct. 4/6: On the night before the murder he passed her house, and [...] fired a pistol, with the remark ‘Mind your eye’.
[UK]Lichfield Mercury 17 Feb. 3/6: Policeman: Here, mind your eye, youngster.
[US] ‘Heenan and Sayers’ in F. Rickaby Ballads and Songs of the Shanty-Boy (1926) 179: So whenever you boast of fighting, Johnnie Bull, mind your eye.
[UK]Burnley News 9 Jan. 11/1: Blizzards loudly roar [...] / In voices loud and deep and shrill, / You’ll hear the cry to mind your eye.
my eye(s)!

see separate entry.

there he goes with his eye out! (also there she goes with her eye out!)

an all-purpose excl. aimed at passers-by.

[UK]Comic Almanack ‘Slangology’ Jan. 43: I declare there he goes with his eye out-staring everybody.
[Scot]C. Mackay Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions (1869) 242: The next phrase was a most preposterous one. Who invented it, how it arose, or where it was first heard, are alike unknown. nothing about it is certain, but that for months it was the slang par excellence of the Londoners, and afforded them a vast gratification. ‘There he goes with his eye out!’ or ‘There she goes with her eye out!’ [...] was in the mouth of every body who knew the town. The sober part of the community were as much puzzled by this unaccountable saying as the vulgar were delighted with it. The wise thought it very foolish, but the many thought it very funny, and the idle amused themselves by chalking it upon walls, or scribbling it upon monuments.
[UK](con. 1830s) H. Vizetelly Glances back 103: No end of unmeaning slang phrases [...] were in circulation liming the multitude and the ‘faster’ section of society. One’s ears were incessantly assailed with such cries as ‘What a shocking bad hat!’ ‘There he goes with his eye out!’ ‘How are you off for soap?’ Flare up! and join the union,’ ‘Does your mother know you're out?’ or ‘It’s all very fine, Mr. Fergusson, but you don't lodge here.’.