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From Middle French yeulx, yeux, from Old French ieuz ~ ialz, plural form of oeil ~ oil ~ ueil ~ uel. A regular[1] outcome of Latin oculōs, the accusative plural of oculus (the source of œil). Mildred Pope explains its phonetic development as becoming *[ˈɔːʎos] > *[ˈweʎts] > *[weuts] via regular sound changes, followed by a regular dissimilation of [weu] to [jeu] (see for example Latin locus > *[lweu] > Old French lieu, iocus > *[dʒweu] > Old French gieu > jeu).[2] The resulting [jeuts] then becomes modern [jø].

Old and Middle French present many variant forms of this plural, including, from Godefroy's Dictionnaire du Moyen Français: ialz/yalz, yolz, olz/ols, uelz/uels/eus, ils, oulz.


  • IPA(key): /jø/
    les yeux: IPA(key): /le.z‿jø/
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  • Rhymes: -jø


yeux m pl

  1. plural of œil, eyes
    Il a les yeux bleus.He has blue eyes.
    Il a de beaux yeux bleus.He has beautiful blue eyes.

Usage notes[edit]

Unlike most words beginning with consonantal y /j/, this word triggers liaison with valid preceding words. Eg:

  • les yeux /le.z‿jø/
  • les grands yeux /le.ɡʁɑ̃.z‿jø/
  • Il a de beaux yeux /i.l‿‿jø/


  1. ^ œil”, in Trésor de la langue française informatisé [Digitized Treasury of the French Language], 2012.
  2. ^ Pope, Mildred (1934) From Latin to Modern French: with special consideration of Anglo-Norman, 2nd edition, Manchester: Manchester University Press, § 556:
    The triphthong ˈueu [...]; the first element was ordinarily differentiated to i and consonantalised to j, which merged in but differentiation was ordinarily checked by preceding labial and velar consonants: ueu > : ueuts > iös ieuz [...] džueu > džjö > žö jeu [...] fueu > feu