Eye Idioms

This eye idioms list will be updated whenever I create a new mini lesson that includes some of these expressions.

It's easiest to remember idioms if you try to practice them yourself. At the bottom of this page is a place where you can write your own sentence. If you do, I'll be sure to give you feedback. :)

List of Eye Idioms


apple of one's eye:  someone or something that is very important to someone; someone or something that they like very much.

  • I know I shouldn't pick favorites but of all my grandchildren, my first granddaughter is the apple of my eye.
  • As you can see, my father does a lot of gardening and those rose bushes are the apples of his eye.  He's so proud of them.

a bird’s-eye view:  a view from above something (just like the view a bird would see when flying over something).

  • From the top of the tower you can see a bird’s-eye view of the whole city.
  • I love hiking Old Rag mountain because you get to see a beautiful bird's-eye view of the valley from the top.
  • I'm scared to fly but when I do I love the bird's-eye views of all the different cities below.

catch someone’s eye:  to attract or capture someone’s attention.

  • Helen’s mother wanted her daughter to buy the jeans that were on sale at a 40% discount but some designer jeans caught her daughter’s eye instead.
  • I was walking along with something shiny caught my eye Someone had dropped their diamond wedding ring!

cry one's eyes out:  to cry very hard; or cry for a long time.

  • Her dog died last week and she's been crying her eyes out every single day since then.
  • My mom cried her eyes out when I left for college.

have an eye for something:  to be good at noticing and appreciating something.

  • My aunt has an eye for home decoration and always finds beautiful paintings and antiques at the flea market.
  • You certainly have an eye for beautiful women, don't you?

have one’s eye on someone:  to carefully watch someone.

  • I’ve had my eye on my son ever since I found cigarettes in his backpack.
  • The salesperson had his eye on me while I was shopping and it made me feel like I was a criminal or something.

have one’s eye on something:  to like something and want to obtain it.

  • I’ve had my eye on that handbag for a long time and will buy it as soon as I get my paycheck.

in the public eye:  to be visible and known by many people in a community.

  • Thanks to social media, many regular people we’d never know are now in the public eye.
  • If you want to be an actor you better like being in the public eye.

out of the public eye:  to not be seen or known by many people in a community.

  • Although politicians are always in the news, most try to keep their children out of the public eye as much as possible.
  • Many movie stars love going on vacation in other countries where they can relax and be out of the public eye for awhile.

keep an (one’s) eye on someone/something:  to carefully watch someone/something.

  • I asked my neighbor to keep an eye on my apartment while I’m on vacation and call me if there are any problems.
  • I’m keeping my eye on the clock because I have to leave in exactly 15 minutes.

keep an (one’s) eye out (for someone/something):  to watch carefully to see someone/something.

  • I’m expecting my boyfriend to meet me for lunch, so can you keep an eye out for him and let me know when he arrives at the office? 
  • Keep an eye out for my car when you arrive at the airport. I'll keep driving around the arrivals terminal until you come out.

keep one’s eyes peeled for something:  to watch carefully to see something.

  • We should be approaching the road to Janice’s house soon so keep your eyes peeled for Orchard Street.
  • Let's keep our eyes peeled for the bus so we can be the first ones on and get good seats.

keep one’s eye on the ball:  to concentrate fully on doing something.

  • If you’re serious about losing weight you have to keep your eye on the ball and carefully count calories as well as exercise several times each week.

more (to someone/something) than meets the eye:  there is some additional information than what is currently known.

  • I don’t know exactly what happened but there is more than meets the eye with our manager’s departure from the company.

not a dry eye (in the house):  everyone is emotional and/or crying.

  • Yesterday at the staff meeting when Stephen announced his daughter had finally died of cancer, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

not bat an eye / eyelid:  to not react to something.

  • Although I was shocked when my wife said she wanted a divorce I didn't bat an eyelid.
  • How can you just sit there calmly and not bat an eye when your boss yells like that?

see eye to eye:  to agree with someone about something.

  • My husband and I see eye to eye on everything so we rarely argue.
  • Luckily, our team sees eye to eye on this project so it's been a pleasure to work on it.

not see eye to eye:  to not agree with someone.

  • My parents are very conservative so we don’t see eye to eye  on politics.
  • The owners didn't see eye to eye  on the direction of the of the company so they finally had to sell it.

turn a blind eye (to something):  to ignore something.

  • I knew my boyfriend was lying to me but I turned a blind eye because I didn’t want him to leave me.
  • You're turning a blind eye to your daughter's drinking and partying but the problem is not going to stop until she gets help.

up to one's eyeballs in something:  to be very busy or involved with something or to have a lot of something.

  • I'm up to my eyeballs in dirty laundry and have been wearing the same pair of socks the last three days!  
  • As usual, we don't save so we're up to our eyeballs in debt after our holiday.


raise (some / a few) eyebrows:  to cause people to notice and disapprove of someone or something.

  • My secretary’s pink hair color raised a few eyebrows in the office but she’s so kind and such a good worker I haven’t said anything to her.
  • Wearing jeans to my church would certainly raise some eyebrows.  Don't you have a nice pair of pants?

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You might like these idiom infographics

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