Try Our Apps


Fall Head Over Heels...

black eye

discoloration of the skin around the eye, resulting from a blow, bruise, etc.
a mark of shame, dishonor, etc.:
These slums are a black eye to our town.
damaged reputation:
Your behavior will give the family a black eye.
Origin of black eye
1595-1605 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for black-eye
Historical Examples
  • He gave him what he called "a good English black-eye," and bawled loudly for justice.

    Jacques Bonneval Anne Manning
  • But the black-eye dealt the residential district long ago had not yet cleared up.

    The Crimson Tide Robert W. Chambers
  • The so-called "black-eye" is a typical example of this degree of bruise.

  • At times I have eaten in cabins where they had only corn bread and "black-eye peas" cooked in plain water.

    Up From Slavery: An Autobiography Booker T. Washington
  • There was many a black-eye already, many a contusion: more than one knife—surreptitiously drawn—was already stained with red.

    Lord Tony's Wife Baroness Emmuska Orczy
  • It was in this Inn that I was cried over by my rosy little sister, because I had acquired a black-eye in a fight.

    A Week's Tramp in Dickens-Land William R. Hughes
British Dictionary definitions for black-eye

black eye

bruising round the eye
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for black-eye

black eye


"discoloration around the eye from injury" c.1600, from black (adj.) + eye (n.). Figurative sense of "injury to pride, rebuff" is by 1744; that of "bad reputation" is from 1880s. In reference to dark eyes, often as a mark of beauty, from 1660s. Black-eyed, of peas, attested from 1728. The black-eyed Susan as a flower (various species) so called from 1881, for its appearance. It also was the title of a poem by John Gay (1685-1732), which led to a popular British stage play of the same name in the mid-19c.

All in the Downs the fleet was moored,
The streamers waving in the wind,
When black-eyed Susan came aboard,
"Oh! where shall I my true love find?
Tell me, ye jovial sailors, tell me true,
If my sweet William sails among the crew?"

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
black-eye in Medicine

black eye n.
A bruised discoloration of the flesh surrounding the eye.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for black-eye

black eye

noun phrase

  1. An eye surrounded with darkened areas of contusion; mouse, shiner (1600s+)
  2. A bad reputation; an adverse and damaging public image: That story gave me a black eye (1880s+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with black-eye

black eye

A mark of shame, a humiliating setback, as in That there are enough homeless folks to need another shelter is a black eye for the administration. This metaphor alludes to having discolored flesh around the eye resulting from a blow. The term is also used literally, as in The mugger not only took Bill's wallet but gave him a black eye. [ Late 1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for black eye

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for black

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for black-eye