Definition of eyeball in US English:



  • 1The round part of the eye of a vertebrate, within the eyelids and socket. In mammals it is typically a firm, mobile, spherical structure enclosed by the sclera and the cornea.

    • ‘The orbit is a socket for the eyeball, muscles, nerves, and vessels that are necessary for proper functioning of the eye.’
    • ‘Exophthalmos is caused by an increase in the bulk of the tissue behind the orbit (eye socket) that forces the eyeball forward.’
    • ‘Four muscles pull each eyeball straight back into the eye socket, shortening the eyeball.’
    • ‘In some reported instances, it forms a muscular funnel around the optic nerve and is inserted onto the back of the eyeball.’
    • ‘The retina lines the inner face of the back of the eyeball and contains light-sensitive cells that transmit images to the brain.’
    • ‘This means that the lower eyelid has fallen away from the eyeball so that the tiny hole into which the tears drain is no longer in the tear pool.’
    • ‘Instead it was a mixture of lips, eyelids, eyeballs, nostrils, udders, spare skin, throat, larynx and so forth.’
    • ‘The eyeball is moved to the side and the optic nerve sheath is exposed.’
    • ‘With myopia, the cornea is too curved or the eyeball too long.’
    • ‘The surgeon uses a wire speculum to retract the eyelids to expose the eyeball.’
    • ‘His face motionless, Altobelli reached up and uncorked his left eyeball from its socket, placing it on the table.’
    • ‘Skin is slowly shed or rubbed away and replaced, but the lens is confined within the fixed volume of the eyeball.’
    • ‘The lights began fading slowly until all that lit the darkness were bright red rings within bloodshot eyeballs.’
    • ‘The tumor in boy's left eye had displaced his eyeball from its socket and caused the boy to constantly tilt his head due to the weight of the tumor.’
    • ‘Secondly, the lower eyelid has rounded and come away from the eyeball.’
    • ‘More anteriorly, the optic nerve is surrounded only by the smooth meningeal or inner layer of the dura, which blends with the sclera of the eyeball.’
    • ‘The eyeball sits in the eye socket (also called the orbit) in a person's skull, where it is surrounded by bone.’
    • ‘A small incision is made in the side of your eyeball to allow for removal of your cornea's inner layer without hurting the outer layers.’
    • ‘It can be due to either a too flat cornea or the eyeball being too short.’
    • ‘Glaucoma, which often leads to partial or total blindness, is caused by an increase of fluid pressure within the eyeball.’
    organ of sight, eyeball
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Marketing Used to refer to the number of people who visit a website, watch a television program or channel, read a publication, etc., especially when regarded as a potential source of revenue.
      ‘I think we got a few more eyeballs on the site’
      ‘the series continues to draw eyeballs to CBS on Wednesdays’
      ‘media compete to attract eyeballs’
      • ‘Documentaries have limited runs in theatres, and are subject to limited eyeballs and competition from feature films.’
      • ‘It's important to many companies to keep competitors from gaining those eyeballs.’
      • ‘What I worry about the most is the competition for young eyeballs.’
      • ‘The platform is there; at the cost of a few extra staff he can attract new eyeballs around the country and the world.’
      • ‘The posts are marketed on social media platforms, giving the blog more eyeballs.’
      • ‘The advertisers get better quality eyeballs and the networks can charge more money.’
      • ‘The sharing aspect is really powerful because it brings so many more eyeballs to the event.’
      • ‘Let these valuable tips help you solidify your social media impact to attract new eyeballs and use the power of your content to turn them into lifelong customers.’
      • ‘The games attract legions of fans, millions of eyeballs and the nation's best recruits.’
      • ‘The band would have brought in teenage eyeballs.’


[with object]informal
  • Look or stare at closely.

    ‘we eyeballed one another’
    • ‘Is it an earnest appreciation of the avant-garde or just eyeballing a freak show?’
    • ‘Cycling through the swamp paths and eyeballing an alligator, a creature so suited to its environment that it hasn't changed in 50 million years, is a humbling experience.’
    • ‘It is surely a grim coincidence that this series, portraying footballers as filthy-rich hedonistic schemers, began a new run in the very week that Scottish football eyeballed a financial abyss.’
    • ‘And then I tapped the tip here and there to cover up any areas of white that the whorls might have missed, just in case the scanner was looking at a specific sector instead of eyeballing the oval in its entirety.’
    • ‘As your balance and coordination improve, set goals like eyeballing a tree 100 yards downslope and making 20 turns on the way to it.’
    • ‘Everything carried on, we ordered our pints, but it was noticeable that several people were eyeballing us all the time.’
    • ‘While manager at Valencia, he confronted Romario, eyeballing the great Brazilian, to demand he ‘look into my eyes.’’
    • ‘Now, as she started to talk about these things, I was eyeballing her from a distance.’
    • ‘In an open-necked pink shirt Howard shook hands and eyeballed his enthusiasts as he moved swiftly to the podium and almost immediately began speaking.’
    • ‘Of course, they may have to compete with purely domestic companies that are eyeballing the same markets.’
    • ‘Away from the soccer field, European smokers are eyeballing Norway with a wary eye.’
    • ‘Durable in the tackle, his explosive vein now only pops out when he is running with the ball at his feet, not when eyeballing an opponent.’
    • ‘After we ordered our brightly coloured drinks, the waitress lingered, drunkenly putting her arm around me and stroking my shoulder while she eyeballed Clay.’
    • ‘She pulled her cloak around herself tighter as she stared around, and men eyeballed her.’
    look at, see, observe, view, gaze at, gaze upon, stare at, scan, regard, contemplate, survey, inspect, examine, scrutinize, study, consider, glance at, take a glance at
    View synonyms


  • eyeball to eyeball

    • Face to face with someone, especially in an aggressive way.

      ‘he wheeled around to confront John eyeball to eyeball’
      • ‘For a first time spectator, it's the only phrase that seems suitable because the sight of bigger than average, fully grown men slugging it out, eyeball to eyeball, is as engrossing as sport could possibly be.’
      • ‘Then defence secretary Robert McNamara said of the crisis: ‘We were eyeball to eyeball and the other fellow just blinked.’’
      • ‘Keep the principal people from coming eyeball to eyeball and doing dumb things when they talk to each other.’
      • ‘But I tell you what, it comes down to people getting eyeball to eyeball and talking about things that matter for everybody.’
      • ‘This will be hand-to-hand combat, eyeball to eyeball.’
      • ‘We will discuss all of these items with the Chinese, but we'll do it straight up, eyeball to eyeball.’
      • ‘But for the West to go eyeball to eyeball with Putin over the outcome merely complicates Ukraine's domestic problems and takes East-West relations back a dangerous step to the bad old days.’
      • ‘But the one that still rankles is the time back in the fall of 1966 when he went eyeball to eyeball with Shawn - and blinked.’
      • ‘Queues of angry motorists grew behind the horsebox drivers, who sounded their horns and pulled up eyeball to eyeball outside the yard where City of York councillors were making a planning site visit.’
      • ‘But, toward the end, a 2 metre hammerhead shimmies by and for a wonderful second I am eyeball to eyeball with one of nature's most unusual creations.’
      stand up to, outface, cow, overawe, intimidate, browbeat, confront, beard, outstare, stare down, stare out, defy
      View synonyms
  • give someone the hairy eyeball

    • informal Stare at someone disapprovingly or angrily, especially with one's eyelids partially lowered.

      • ‘He was talking about giving someone the hairy eyeball in the same way you would give someone a venereal disease.’
      • ‘And he pushed me aside and said to one of the girls, a tall leggy brunette who'd always been giving him the hairy eyeball: ‘You show her!’’
      • ‘It was where you were discussing the joys of nursing and referred to giving a woman giving her baby a bottle 'the hairy eyeball.'’
      • ‘Well, she had changed, she had an address that wasn't a motel room and a permanent somebody in her life, and it had been a long time since she'd caught any store clerks giving her the hairy eyeball in the shoplifting mirrors.’
  • up to one's eyeballs

    • informal Used to emphasize the extreme degree of an undesirable situation or condition.

      ‘he's up to his eyeballs in debt’
      • ‘U.S. consumers, who are in debt up to their eyeballs, will get pounded.’
      • ‘Two hours later, you're up to your eyeballs in miniature traffic signs and store facades.’
      • ‘Cooked to a cinder one day, up to your eyeballs in the white stuff the next.’
      • ‘And yet these very different inflation dynamics have had no discernible impact on the willingness of buyers to go up to their eyeballs in debt in order to purchase the houses of their speculative dreams.’
      • ‘Irish people are already up to their eyeballs in debt.’
      • ‘On top of that, consumers are up to their eyeballs in debt.’
      • ‘But that's why you're up to your eyeballs in debt in the first place.’
      • ‘Most humans do not find themselves up to their eyeballs in situations like this.’
      • ‘There's nothing very glitzy or glamorous about struggling to put up a big tent in a high wind with freezing rain trickling down your neck and mud up to your eyeballs.’
      • ‘It is all right to be flooded up to your eyeballs, it is happening in Spain and France.’