Definition of squint in US English:



  • 1no object Look at someone or something with one or both eyes partly closed in an attempt to see more clearly or as a reaction to strong light.

    ‘the bright sun made them squint’
    • ‘Just then, the sun broke past the tree line; Lizzie and Jake squinted into the sudden light.’
    • ‘Dean awoke, squinting to the unaccustomed light.’
    • ‘The curtains in Gibbs' room are half open; she is squinting as though the light stings her eyes.’
    • ‘I pushed the covers away from my face, slowly, squinting into the light.’
    • ‘I have to squint, because the light makes my head hurt.’
    • ‘After squinting in an attempt to discern a couple of features to make the object recognizable, he began walking swiftly towards it.’
    • ‘I found her curled up under the basement stairwell, squinting in the dim light at the pages of a book.’
    • ‘The three rise, squinting into the search light and raising their hands.’
    • ‘Around the moon was a huge corona - a vast circle of light surrounded it - like a massive, pale-blue version of the effect that you get when you squint at a street light.’
    • ‘Miles stepped outside the cave, squinting as the light of the midday sun temporarily blinded him.’
    • ‘Sliding the door open, she winced at the bright light, squinting.’
    • ‘The images of his release, broadcast live around the world, show a man squinting into the light as if blinded.’
    • ‘Buddy squinted in an attempt to see clearly who she was talking with.’
    • ‘The others were ready to go, standing slowly and squinting against the intense light.’
    • ‘He continued on, squinting through the blue light.’
    • ‘Though smiling, he was squinting hard in the strong light and looked distinctly uncomfortable.’
    • ‘She squinted in an attempt to make out her surroundings, to find something familiar that would lead her home, the only place she was safe.’
    • ‘One holds up a brick to the light, and squinting, marks his name on one side.’
    • ‘I heard a humming and the dozen fluorescent lights started to flicker on and I blinked, squinting at the bright light.’
    • ‘Shading my eyes from the glare of the sun, I squinted to see more clearly.’
    screw up one's eyes, narrow one's eyes, look through narrowed eyes, look with narrowed eyes, peer, blink
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    1. 1.1with object Partly close (one's eyes) in an attempt to see more clearly or as a reaction to strong light.
      • ‘Angel looked up from the table he was sitting at, squinting his poor eyes through his thick lenses, to see who was walking in so early.’
      • ‘Grandmother looked up at the sky, squinting her eyes.’
      • ‘Cassie squints her eyes tightly to try and make out the figure coming towards her.’
      • ‘Kalvin squinted his eyes at him, reasoning out what he said and finally had to agree.’
      • ‘Thomas has now woken and groggily shifts around in his bed, squinting his eyes against the light, even though it's dull.’
      • ‘He squints his eyes, trying to see as far ahead of him as he can, but the car lights only go so far.’
      • ‘It was like being in a dark room and having somebody turn the light on - we just squinted our eyes for a minute there.’
      • ‘If you load up 10 weblogs at random and squint your eyes at the screen, they all look about the same.’
      • ‘There was a rustle of straw in the corner of the chamber, illumined by a shaft of diffident sunlight that looked as though it had got up far too early, and a tousled head poked out, squinting bleary eyes into the dusty gloom.’
      • ‘Stifling a cry, I squinted my eyes closed and bit my lower lip.’
      • ‘Ivya grew closer and closer, squinting her eyes to make out the figure.’
      • ‘Lucia had stepped out to the front steps of the school, squinting her eyes and scanning the area, obviously looking for me.’
      • ‘She squints her eyes tight, holding back tears.’
      • ‘Deciding this act to be futile, he took a longer glance, squinting beady eyes in the dark, and gestured his yellow thumb in the direction of the door.’
      • ‘He looks at Natasha, who squints her eyes and pouts, then laughs, hands on hips.’
      • ‘But squint your eyes, screw up your face and study the glossy frames and you'll find them fascinating.’
      • ‘Is it true that you originally squinted your eyes because of nervousness?’
      • ‘He was squinting his eyes that were filled with tears now.’
      • ‘The door slammed closed and he squinted his eyes against the pain.’
      • ‘He hadn't noticed how close his face was to the soft paper as he squinted his eyes to read the scripted writing.’
  • 2no object Have eyes that look in different directions.

    ‘Melanie did not squint’
    • ‘Children with lazy eye may squint, look cross-eyed, or tilt their head to see things.’
    be cross-eyed, have a squint
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    1. 2.1 (of a person's eye) have a deviation in the direction of its gaze.
      ‘her left eye squinted slightly’
      • ‘The process of exclusion affects not only the squinting eye, but also in part the one that does not squint.’


  • 1in singular A permanent deviation in the direction of the gaze of one eye.

    ‘I had a bad squint’
    • ‘Of course you know a squint may be induced or cured by surgery?’
    • ‘Common eye problems including short-sightedness and a squint.’
    • ‘Double vision may be a symptom of certain types of squint.’
    • ‘That's right, so you test one eye at a time and check what their vision is and also you check at the same time to see whether they have an obvious squint.’
    • ‘Strabismic amblyopia usually presents with a visible squint, but refractive amblyopia or a small angle strabismus may not be detected until it is too late for treatment to be effective.’
    • ‘If corrective spectacles are not worn this convergent squint may become permanent.’
    • ‘Long-sighted children with a squint need to be monitored carefully to avoid a lazy eye developing.’
    • ‘Vakhass was suspected of developing a squint, which if left untreated could have led to permanent blindness in one eye.’
    • ‘It is usually caused by a squint in one eye, which means the eyes look in different directions.’
    • ‘If the condition is caused by another problem such as a squint or a cataract, surgery may be needed.’
    • ‘As well as checking that vision and hearing are normal for the age of the child, they look for any treatable conditions that make it difficult to hear or see, such as glue ear or a squint.’
    • ‘My daughter was born 31 years ago, like many children, with a divergent squint.’
    • ‘The precipitating cause of a child with normal, though fragile, binocular function developing a squint has often been considered to be a systemic illness.’
    • ‘I thought I might go back when he started school but then he needed me for writing and he had a squint, which meant hospital appointments and treatment.’
    • ‘Rachael suffered severe damage to her right eye and has restricted vision… She has twice had surgery to correct the squint.’
    • ‘Some babies are born with a squint or their eyes roll away from each other occasionally.’
    • ‘One eye has been practically useless all his life and he has a squint in the other.’
    • ‘The most important cause of squint is a focusing error in which the lens system of the eye is not strong enough to bring the image to focus on the retina (hypermetropia).’
    • ‘Some people who have had unsuccessful treatment for squint may have persistent double vision dating from the time of the treatment.’
    • ‘Premature babies are more likely to have early problems with their hearing and sight, such as crossed eyes or a squint.’
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  • 2informal in singular A quick or casual look.

    ‘let me have a squint’
    • ‘A quick squint at lunchtime allows residents of this upmarket pile to decide whether or not there is someone sufficiently interesting there to make the short walk down the Mound worthwhile.’
    • ‘And a quick squint at his press clippings suggests that the way he earns his living is indeed scandalous.’
    • ‘This revelation seemed all the more miraculous after a squint into the kitchen, which is also extremely small.’
    • ‘A quick squint in my mirror and I can just make out a Caterham hurtling up behind me.’
    • ‘Neither of Hemingway's famous watering holes, visited by hordes of western tourists, are especially wonderful, but are still worth a squint.’
    • ‘The Times has a new Week on the Web roundup in which they have a squint round the blogs and see if there's anything they like the look of.’
    • ‘After a light roughing up and a long squint at our papers they seemed satisfied that we didn't represent an imminent threat to national security.’
    look, glance, peep, peek, glimpse
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  • 3An oblique opening through a wall in a church permitting a view of the altar from an aisle or side chapel.

    • ‘There is a blocked squint, of uncertain date, in the north wall just as you enter the chancel around which careful searching will reveal some Civil War graffiti.’
    • ‘The squint gave a view of the altar to parishioners sitting in the lost north transept.’
    • ‘The squint in the title of the play at Chelsea Theatre, is mainly one of those narrow slots in a wall in mediaeval churches where people excluded from the service can watch the Mass.’


Mid 16th century (in the sense ‘squinting’, as in squint-eyed): shortening of asquint.