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 grandson is the apple of my eye.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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

  • My husband and I see eye to eye  on everything so we rarely argue.

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.

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.

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!  


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.

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Your Turn - Eye Idioms Practice

As they say, practice makes perfect. Please try to write your own sample sentence below in the comments. I will give you feedback so you can be sure you have used the idiom correctly.

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