Green’s Dictionary of Slang

eye n.

1. [late 16C; mid-19C] the vagina [the eye is similarly shaped, is surrounded by hair, and can ‘water’].

2. [20C+] (also eye of the law) detective, a private eye.

3. [20C+] (also the Eye, (US Und.) Pinkerton’s Detective Agency; thus the detectives it employs; occas. attrib [the logo is an eye].

4. [1930s+] (US gay/prison) the rectum, the anus; usu. in comb. [note -eye sfx].

5. [1940s] a warning.

6. [1920s-50s] a lookout.

7. [1950s–70s] (US campus, also eyeball) a television set.

8. [1950s+] (US black) a hole.

9. see all my eye phr.

In compounds

eye doctor (n.)

[1930s+] (gay) a male homosexual, i.e. one who practises anal intercourse.

In phrases

eye of one’s arse (n.) [arse n. (1)]

[1950s+] (Irish) the anus.

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

[19C] the vagina.

In exclamations

in your eye!

[late 19C+] (US) an excl. of general derision, dismissal, contempt.

your other eye!

[20C+] (Irish) an excl. of disbelief, rubbish! nonsense!

SE in slang uses

In derivatives

eyeful (n.)

see separate entry.

In compounds

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

[1990s+] a bore, a nuisance, an irritation.


see separate entries.

eye booger (n.) [booger n.1 (1)]

[1980s+] (US campus) the small pieces of ‘sleep’ or mucus that collect in the corners of the eyes.

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

[late 19C] a setback, lit. something that ‘blacks one’s eye’.

eye drops (n.)

[1960s] (US) tears.


see separate entries.

eye-game (v.)

[1960s] (W.I.) to stare at and ogle women.

eyeglass weather (n.) [one requires an eyeglass]

[late 19C] foggy weather, in which one cannot see clearly.

eye jammy (n.)

[1980s+] (US black) a black eye.

eyelid movies (n.)

[1970s+] (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.

eye-lifter (n.)

[1900s] (Aus.) a heavy bet.

eye-limpet (n.) [its sticks to one’s eye socket]

[late 19C] an artificial eye.

eye-opener (n.)

see separate entries.

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

[1940s+] (US) remarkable, sensational.

eye-shoot (v.)

[2000s] (US) to stare at aggressively.

eye-trouble (n.)

[1980s+] (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.

eyewash (n.) [the army use meant anything, e.g. washing the eyes, that is done for effect rather than for any practical purpose]

1. [late 19C+] (orig. milit.) rubbish, nonsense, humbug, anything done for appearance rather than effect.

2. [1910s–70s] cheap liquor.

eyewater (n.)

1. [early 19C] brandy.

2. [19C] gin.

3. [late 19C] (US) alcohol, usu. whisky.

4. [mid-19C+] (US) illicitly distilled whisky.

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]

[mid-19C+] to glance (suspiciously) at, to look at furtively; to look askance at.

do in the eye (v.)

see under do v.1

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

1. [1960s+] a two-way mirror used for security in a casino; also attrib.

2. [1970s+] a police or traffic helicopter; also attrib.

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]

[mid-19C; 1920s+] (orig. milit.) deeply sunken eyes, often bloodshot and usu. associated with excessive drinking or ill health.

eyes out (adv.)

[1980s] (N.Z.) as fast as possible.

eyes set at eight in the morning (adj.) [one’s eyes are staring in different directions]

[early 17C] drunk.

eyes set in one’s head (adj.)

[early 17C] drunk.

get in someone’s eye (v.) [1970s+] (US black)

1. to beat up.

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

get the eye (v.)

[1990s+] to be stared at.

give someone an eye (v.) [abbr. SE black eye]

[1900s] (Aus.) to blacken someone’s eye.

give someone the eye (v.) (also give someone the eyes, give the eye to)

1. [late 19C+] (also give someone the dirty eye) to stare at; to appraise.

2. [20C+] (also give someone the eye-roll) to appraise sexually, to give a seductive look.

3. [1940s–50s] to give a signal, to ‘tip the wink’.

have eyes for (v.) (also have eyes to)

1. [late 19C+] (US) to desire, wish for, usu. sexually.

2. [1960s+] (also have eyes) to see what is happening.

have eyes like cod’s ballocks (v.)

[20C+] to have popping eyes.

have long eyes for (v.) (also have raw eyes for)

[20C+] (W.I.) to be covetous for.

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

have one’s eyes opened (v.) [one’s wild, unfocused stare]

[20C+] to be drunk.

I’ll knock out your eight eyes [note Grose 1788: ‘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 (cf. bubby n.1 ), a bell-eye (SE belly), two popes-eyes (SE pope’s eye: the lymphatic gland in a leg of mutton, regarded as a delicacy; here presumably the urinal and anal orifices), and a ***-eye’ (the censored term remains mysterious, it is, presumably, a ref. to the vagina)]

[late 18C–early 19C] a threat, commonly used by Billingsgate fishwives.

knock someone’s eye out (v.) (also knock someone’s eyes out)

1. [late 19C] (US campus) to perform one’s work well.

2. [20C+] (US) of a person, usu. a woman, to be stunningly attractive.

3. [20C+] (orig. US) of an object, to delight, to impress.

make four eyes (v.)

[1940s] (W.I.) of two people, to gaze at one another.

make one’s eyes pass somebody (v.) (also take one’s eye(s) pass somebody)

[20C+] (W.I., Guyn.) to speak disrespectfully to one who ought to be treated respectfully.

nice pair of eyes (n.)

[1960s+] a euph. for attractive breasts, usu. in phr. she’s got a ...

no eyes [opposite of have eyes for ]

[1940s+] a phr. meaning no interest in, or, I’m not interested.

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]

[mid-19C+] (Aus.) to get the best bits for oneself.

put a finger in one’s eye (v.) [the implication is of forced, and thus insincere, tears]

[18C–early 19C] to weep.

put one’s eye on (v.)

[20C+] (W.I.) to become obsessed with at first sight and thus to desire to possess immediately.

put the eye on (v.) [1930s+] (orig. US)

1. to look at seductively.

2. to examine, to stare at.

3. to place under surveillance.

there you go with your eye out

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

In exclamations

got your eye full!

[1950s+] addressed to someone who is staring, with the undoubted suggestion that they should stop at once; it can be followed with ‘Want a picture?’.

mind your eye!

[mid-19C+] be careful! look out!

my eye(s)!

see separate entry.

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

[mid-19C] an all-purpose excl. aimed at passers-by.