give your eye teeth for

give your eye teeth for

go to any lengths in order to obtain something

The eye teeth are the two canine teeth in the upper jaw.

1930 - W. Somerset Maugham - Cakes & Ale - He'd give his eye-teeth to have written a book half as good.


an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth

used to refer to the belief that retaliation in kind is the appropriate way to deal with an offence or crime

This expression refers to the law of retribution as set out in the Old Testament (Exodus 21 : 24) known as lex talionis.

the eye of a needle

a very small opening or space (used to emphasize the impossibility of a projected endeavour)

This phrase comes from Matthew 19 : 24 : It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

2001 – Four Four Two - Able to thread a pass through the eye of a needle, he can play in the centre or on either flank.

the eye of the storm

the calm region at the centre of a storm or hurricane

the most intense part of a tumultuous situation

1998 - Times - He [Mr. Yeltsin] was now our heroic figure in the eye of the storm preaching defiance from the top of a tank outside the White House.

be all eyes

be watching eagerly and attentively

1958 - Jessie Kesson - The White Bird Passes - Standing there all eyes and ears. Beat it before I take the lights from you.

clap eyes on = lay eyes on = set eyes on

see – informal

1992 - Barry Unsworth - Sacred Hunger - If we go by the indications of the play, these two charmers have never clapped eyes on a man before, never flirted, never known the sweets of love.

get your eye in = keep your eye in

become {or remain) able to make good judgements about a task or occupation in which you are engaged – British

close your eyes to = shut your eyes to

refuse to notice or acknowledge something unwelcome or unpleasant

do a person in the eye

defraud, thwart or humiliate a person

1930 - J. B. Priestley - Angel Pavement - He'd invented the job five minutes before, just to do mother in the eye.

eyes out on stalks

full of eager curiosity or amazement – informal

1999 - Escape - This breathtaking graphics accelerator takes 3D game play on PCI systems to a whole new dimension of excitement with imagery so realistic your eyes will be out on stalks.

give someone the glad eye = give someone the eye

look at someone in a way that clearly indicates your sexual interest in them – informal

1992 - James Meek - Last Orders - If it was an attractive woman, men would give her the eye.

a gleam in his eye = a twinkle in his eye

a barely formed idea

a child who has not yet been conceived - humorous

go eyes out

make every effort – Australian informal

half an eye

a slight degree of perception or attention

1962 - Cyprian Ekwensi - Burning Grass – His sandals were new because it was market day or perhaps he had half an eye to some maiden.

have an eye for

be able to recognize, appreciate and make good judgements about a particular thing

2003 – Observer - Europe's oldest continually inhabited city is Cadiz, founded by the Phoenicians in 1100 BC, but those wily Phoenicians, with an eye for a good setting, founded Malaka further along the Andalucian coast a few hundred years later in 800 BC.

have an eye for the main chance = have an eye on the main chance = have an eye to the main chance = with an eye for the main chance = with an eye on the main chance = with an eye to the main chance

look or be looking for an opportunity to take advantage of a situation for personal gain especially when this is financial

This expression is taken from the use of main chance in the gambling game of hazard where it refers to a number (5, 6, 7 or 8) called by a player before throwing the dice.

have eyes bigger than your stomach

have asked for or taken more food than you can actually eat

have eyes in the back of your head

observe everything that is happening even when this is apparently impossible

1991 - Barbara Anderson - Girls High - They were all in Miss Royston's class who said that she had eyes in the back of her head and they half believed it, because how else did she know.

have square eyes

habitually watch television to excess

hit him in the eye = hit him in between the eyes

be very obvious or impressive – informal

2001 - Independent - When I saw the technology in operation, it hit me between the eyes. I was happy to give him £20,000 and became a nonexecutive director.

keep an eye out for = keep an eye open for

look out for something with particular attention

1996 - Guardian - Keep an eye open for kingklip, a delectable fish and the superb local hake.

keep your eye on the ball

keep your attention focused on the matter in hand

keep your eyes open = keep your eyes peeled = keep your eyes skinned

be on the alert

watch carefully or vigilantly for something

make eyes at someone

look at someone in a way that makes it clear you find them sexually attractive

there is more to him than meets the eye = there is more to it than meets the eye

a person or situation is more complex or interesting than they appear

all my eye and Betty Martin

nonsense – informal – dated

Who or what Betty Martin was has never been satisfactorily explained. Another version of the saying also in use in the late 18th century was
all my eye and my elbow.

1991 - Robertson Davies - Murther & Walking Spirits - Of course many of the grievances are all my eye and Betty Martin (Anna has picked up this soldier's phrase from her husband and likes to use it to show how thoroughly British she has become).

one in the eye for

a disappointment or setback for someone or something, especially one that is perceived as being well deserved

open his eyes

enlighten someone about certain realities

cause someone to realize or discover something

1998 - Scoular Anderson - 1314 & All That – These events opened his eyes to what had happened to his country. Now his one wish was that Scotland should be independent.

pull the wool over his eyes

deceive someone especially by telling untruths

1997 - Spectator - On no occasion do I remember Ridsdale trying to pull the wool over my eyes but rather trying always to remove the wool that journalists pull over their own eyes.

see eye to eye

have similar views or attitudes to something

be in full agreement

1997 - A. Sivanandran - When Memory Dies – We don't see eye to eye about anything - work, having children, what's going on in the country.

his eye view

a view from the position or standpoint of the person or thing specified

The most common versions of this phrase are bird's-eye view and worm's-eye view.

1982 - Ian Hamilton - Robert Lowell - There is a kind of double vision. The Child's eye view judged and interpreted by the ironical narrator.

shut your eyes to

be willfully ignorant of

1993 - Isidore Okpewho – Tides - In the last few weeks, it has become clear to me that this peace and quiet may elude me if I shut my eyes to the all too obvious suffering of people around me.

turn a blind eye

pretend not to notice

This phrase is said to be a reference to Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805) who lifted a telescope to his blind eye at the Battle of Copenhagen (1801), thereby ensuring that he failed to see his superior's signal to discontinue the action. A less usual version, referring directly to this story, is
turn a Nelson eye.

up to your eyes in

very busy with or deeply involved in – informal

what the eye does not see the heart does not grieve over

if you're unaware of an unpleasant fact or situation you can't be troubled by it – proverb

with one eye on

giving some but not all your attention to

1977 - Craig Thomas - Firefox - With one eye on the JPT (jet-pipe temperature) gauge he opened the throttles until the rpm gauges were at fifty-five percent and the whine had increased comfortably.

with your eyes open

in full awareness

1999 - Salman Rushdie - The Ground Beneath Her Feet - I've always liked to stick my face right up against the hot sweaty broken surface of what was being done, with my eyes open.

with your eyes shut = with your eyes closed

without having to make much effort


without considering the possible difficulties or consequences

1994 - New Scientist - I can knock off pages of eco-babble for the UN with my eyes shut.

eyeball to eyeball

face to face with someone, especially in an aggressive way

give someone the hairy eyeball

stare at someone in a disapproving or angry way, especially with your eyelids partially lowered - North American informal

1992 - Guy Vanderhaeghe - Things As They Are - The commissioner giving him the hairy eyeball all through the service didn't do anything for Reg's increasing bad humour either.

up to the eyeballs = up to your eyeballs

used to emphasize the extreme degree of an undesirable situation or condition – informal

2000 - Time - Consumers are up to their eyeballs in debt, and the strain shows.

raise your eyebrows = raise an eyebrow

show surprise, disbelief or mild disapproval

by an eyelash

by a very small margin

cut your eye teeth

acquire initial practice or experience of a particular sphere of activity or with a particular organization.

The form
cut your eye teeth is also found. The image is that of the emergence of a baby's teeth from its gums.

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