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See also: eye-ball


Alternative forms[edit]


From eye +‎ ball. Compare Middle English balle off the eye, balle of þe eyȝe (eyeball, literally ball of the eye).


  • (file)


eyeball (plural eyeballs)

  1. The ball of the eye.
    • 1610–1611 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene ii], page 4, column 2:
      Goe make thy ſelfe like a Nymph o' th' Sea.
      Be ſubiect to no ſight but thine, and mine: inuisible
      To euery eye-ball elſe: goe take this ſhape,
      And hither come in't: goe: hence
      With diligence.
  2. A person's focus of attention. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
  3. (informal) Surveillance.
    • 2016, Marie Breen-Smyth, The Ashgate Research Companion to Political Violence, page 384:
      Intelligence work is necessarily limited in scope by the capacity of national surveillance systems. [] Ultimately, it is only when you have an 'eyeball' or the electronic equivalent on a suspect that you have a reasonable chance of a preventive intervention.
  4. (marketing, in the plural) A readership or viewership.
    We need compelling content for the new Web site so we can attract more eyeballs.
    • 2022 October 17, Stuart Heritage, “Now it’s over, let’s come out and say it: The Rings of Power was a stinker”, in The Guardian[1]:
      When The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power debuted at the same time as House of the Dragon, much noise was made about which show attracted more eyeballs.
  5. (CB radio, slang) A face-to-face meeting.
    We had an eyeball last year.
  6. (Caribbean) A favourite or pet; the apple of someone's eye.


Derived terms[edit]



eyeball (third-person singular simple present eyeballs, present participle eyeballing, simple past and past participle eyeballed)

  1. (transitive, informal) To gauge, estimate or judge by eye, rather than measuring precisely; to look or glance at.
    A good cook can often just eyeball the correct quantities of ingredients.
    Each geometric construction must be exact; eyeballing it and getting close does not count.
  2. (transitive, informal) To stare at intently.
    Are you eyeballing my girl?
  3. (intransitive) To roll one's eyes.
    • 2018 April 10, Daniel Taylor, “Liverpool go through after Mohamed Salah stops Manchester City fightback”, in The Guardian (London)[2]:
      Guardiola strode on to the pitch at half-time to remonstrate with the Spanish referee, Antonio Mateu Lahoz, but went too far with his eyeballing and matador-like hand movements. He was “upstairs”, in the Colin Bell stand, to watch Liverpool’s second-half turnaround and a dismal seven days for City take another turn for the worse.

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