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side-eye – noun

side-eye – verb

give someone the side-eye – phrase

He gave me the sexy side-eye, which made me laugh.

I read that he and his estranged wife are back together. * side-eye *

I will side-eye you if you judge people for their weight.

People give you the side-eye when you tell them that your baby sleeps through the night.


The side-eye is a sidelong glance – literally, looking at someone or something from the corners of your eyes rather than turning your head towards them – that can express many things, including curiosity, suspicion, disapproval, contempt or disbelief. If you can pull it off it exempts you from having to put your feelings into words, because they will be abundantly clear to the recipient from your expression.


The side-eye lends itself to social media, with particularly expressive examples of the look quickly becoming memes that can be inserted into online exchanges for humorous effect. For some reason, women seem to be the most expert practitioners of the side-eye, with famous exponents including the singer Rihanna and ex First Lady Michelle Obama. There are also side-eye emojis, the best-known of which is officially called ‘Unamused Face’.




Side-eye entered common consciousness around 2010 but it was used long before that date, as far back as the 18th century for the noun and the early 20th for the verb. Like so many of the expressions that enter mainstream usage, its recent popularity has been attributed to its use in the form of English known as African-American Vernacular English (AAVE). It exists alongside the standard expression look askance at, which can't however be used as a noun, making it less flexible.


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