French Language Blog

An Eye for French Vocab – Words with “Eye” Posted by on Oct 23, 2015 in Vocabulary

Ah, October is here (but Josh, October is almost over! I know, shhh…)! Tis the season for piles of leaves, scary costumes, sweaters, and pumpkin spice everything. For me, October has always been a sad time of year. Everything in nature is going from green to beautiful shades of red and orange, all before turning brown and dying. It’s just a reminder that a few months of bitter cold is about to come. Oh joy.

This is the wrong perspective to have, though. Fall doesn’t only bring coldness, and there are many new things to try and revisit this time of year (Hocus Pocus, anyone?). Fall has its own little emblems that aren’t as relevant the rest of the year – les sorcières (witches), les citrouilles (pumpkins), les fantômes (ghosts), les labyrinthes en maïs (corn mazes), les cornes d’abondance (cornucopias), and les chats noirs (black cats), for example.

Not saying that black cats aren’t relevant the rest of the year. All kitties are! But they definitely are linked to this time of the year because les gens superstitieux (superstitious people) believe they are a symbol for bad luck. Well, whether you believe that or not isn’t important. We’re going to be focusing on 2 small, but very important parts of a cat.

Cat eyes seemingly have a life of their own. Their pupils change shapes and can give the felines a vastly different look (and one that we try to emulate – cat eye glasses and cat eye makeup…). Today we’re going to focus on vocabulary and expressions with les yeux in French. I’m setting this one up a little differently today. Normally I separate the new words by how they’re used (expressions, simple vocabulary, etc.), but today I’m doing expressions in French and ones in English with their French equivalents. Pourquoi ? We use “eye” a lot in English, and translating it into French directly might not work out so well…


Expressions in French:

au niveau des yeux – at eye level
avoir les yeux plus gros que le ventre – your eyes are bigger than your stomach
avoir l’œil pour – to have the eye for
bon pied bon œil – in good health
cela coûte les yeux de la tête – that costs an arm and a leg
dévorer quelqu’un des yeux / faire de l’œil à quelqu’un– to eye someone attractive
du coin de l’œil – out of the corner of your eye
en un clin d’œil – in the blink of an eye
la prunelle de tes yeux – apple of somebody’s eye
le compte-gouttes pour les yeux – eye dropper
le mauvais œil (also le regard méchant) – evil eye
loin des yeux, loin du coeur – out of sight, out of mind
mon œil ! – I don’t believe you!
n’avoir pas froid aux yeux – to be courageous
n’avoir plus que ses yeux pour pleurer – to have lost everything
ne pas avoir les yeux dans sa poche – to be very observant
ne pas pouvoir fermer l’œil de la nuit – can’t sleep
œil au beurre noir – black eye
œil pour œil dent pour dent – an eye for an eye
se mettre le doigt dans l’œil – to make an error
un cache-œil (also un bandeau) – eye patch
un œil de verre – glass eye
un œil parasseux – lazy eye


Expressions/Vocabulary from English into French:

bird’s eye view – la vue d’avion
bull’s eye – le cenre d’une cible
catch somebody’s eye – attirer l’attention de quelqu’un
eye contact – le contact visuel
eye doctor – un/e ophtalmologiste (often shortened to opthalmo)
eye drops – les gouttes ophtalmiques
eye exam – un teste de vision (or  de vue)
eye opener – une révélation
eye to eye – avoir le même point de vue
in the public eye – sur le devant de la scène
more than meets the eye – plus qu’il n’y parait
to have your eye on somebody [watch] – surveiller
to have your eye on something [want] – lorgner sur

Keep learning French with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author: Josh Dougherty

Just your typical francophile. If you have any topics you'd like me to discuss, feel free to let me know!


  1. Sam Ieng:

    C’est tres utile, et il est de l’ouverage avec beaucoup du temp. J’ai appris beaucoup avec cet article. Merci.