1. An organ of vision or of light sensitivity.
a. Either of a pair of hollow structures located in bony sockets of the skull, functioning together or independently, each having a lens capable of focusing incident light on an internal photosensitive retina from which nerve impulses are sent to the brain; the vertebrate organ of vision.
b. The external, visible portion of this organ together with its associated structures, especially the eyelids, eyelashes, and eyebrows.
c. The pigmented iris of this organ.
3. The faculty of seeing; vision.
4. The ability to make intellectual or aesthetic judgments:has a good eye for understated fashion.
a. A way of regarding something; a point of view:To my eye, the decorations are excellent.
b. Attention:The lavish window display immediately got my eye.
c. Watchful attention or supervision:always under his boss's eye; kept an eye on her valuables.
6. Something suggestive of the vertebrate organ of vision, especially:
a. An opening in a needle.
b. The aperture of a camera.
c. A loop, as of metal, rope, or thread.
d. A circular marking on a peacock's feather.
e. Chiefly Southern US The round flat cover over the hole on the top of a wood-burning stove.Also called regionallycap1, griddle.
7. A photosensitive device, such as a photoelectric cell.
a. A bud on a twig or tuber:the eye of a potato.
b. The often differently colored center of the corolla of some flowers.
a. Meteorology The circular area of relative calm at the center of a cyclone.
b. The center or focal point of attention or action:right in the eye of the controversy.
10. Informal A detective, especially a private investigator.
11. A choice center cut of meat, as of beef:eye of the round.
tr.v.eyed, eye·ing or ey·ing(iing), eyesIdioms:
1. To look at:eyed the passing crowd with indifference.
2. To watch closely:eyed the shark's movements.
3. To supply with an eye.
an eye for an eye
Punishment in which an offender suffers what the victim has suffered.
clap/lay/set(one's) eyes on
To look at.
eye to eye
In agreement:We're eye to eye on all the vital issues.
have eyes for
To be interested in.
have (one's) eye on
1. To look at, especially attentively or continuously.
2. To have as one's objective.
in the eye of the windNautical
In a direction opposite that of the wind; close to the wind.
in the public eye
1. Frequently seen in public or in the media.
2. Widely publicized; well-known.
In no way; not at all. Used interjectionally.
with an eye to
With a view to:redecorated the room with an eye to its future use as a nursery.
with (one's) eyes closed
Unaware of the risks involved.
with (one's) eyes open
Aware of the risks involved.
[Middle English, fromOld Englishege, eage; see okw- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
(click for a larger image)eye
top: cross section of a human eye
A. vitreous humor
B. optic nerve
C. fovea centralis
H. aqueous humor
bottom: the eye of hurricane Catarina, off the coast of Brazil in 2004, as seen from the International Space Station
(click for a larger image)
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.