bat an eyelid

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From bat (flutter), circa 1900.[1]

Verb[edit]

bat an eyelid

  1. (idiomatic) To react in any slight way; to respond.
    When laptop computers first came out they were something of a novelty. These days, nobody bats an eyelid.
    • 1914, Edgar Beecher Bronson, The Vanguard‎, page 155:
      [] he got the drop on Cox, the only time I had seen or heard of its being done — had his pistol out and stuck in Cox's face before Cox could bat an eyelid.
    • 2006, Pete Takeda, An Eye at the Top of the World, page 116:
      If you were to walk into a salon in America after a few 10–12 hour days of sweaty, dusty travel with no shower, you'd probably be politely asked to leave and not return until you've cleaned up. But here in a land whose resources and infrastructure cannot sustain such frivolity, the barber doesn't even bat an eyelid.
    • 2007, Fionn Davenport, Dublin Encounter‎, page 153:
      Dublin's not a bad place to be gay. Most people wouldn't bat an eyelid at public displays of affection between same-sex couples []

Usage notes[edit]

  • Most frequently used in negative constructions, as in the examples.

Synonyms[edit]

  • (react in any slight way): flinch

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, 1997, p. 720