I recently heard something like "I've found the eye of the tiger". What exactly does this expression mean?

According to the context, I think it means feeling of confidence or internal power and strength.

  • 1
    linked subject
    – Yohann V.
    May 12, 2015 at 13:01
  • If it was found, I'd assume it was this. Anyhow, the metaphorical notion predates Rocky.
    – Phil Sweet
    Apr 14, 2018 at 2:36

4 Answers 4


It is a reference to the theme song from Rocky III:

The Eye of the Tiger by Survivor. [Wikipedia]

The song was an instant hit and is rooted in pop culture to this day.

See lyrics for some context. Your hunch is right, though. It is about a feeling of confidence and power.


The 'eye(s) of the tiger' actually refers to what the tiger's prey last sees prior to being killed. It's a reference to impending death of the prey. When a tiger 'goes in for the kill', it turns it's ears backwards, showing the spot on the back of each ear, i.e. the 'tiger's eyes'. If you see 'the eyes of the tiger', you are already dead. This pic is of the back of the tigers ears. All tigers have these spots. Pray you don't see them when the tiger is facing you.

Back of tiger's head, showing white spots on back of ears

  • This answer needs supporting evidence from a reputable source.
    – MetaEd
    Mar 21, 2018 at 22:05

Tiger's Eye is the Planetary stone for Gemini (May 21-Jun. 20) and the accepted gem for the ninth wedding anniversary.

according to Australian Tiger's Eye. And

Many legends about quartz say that wearing tiger's eye (which is a form of quartz) is beneficial for health and spiritual well being. Legend also says it is a psychic protector, great for business, and an aid to achieving clarity.

Tigereye collage


I believe that this idiom was & still is used to sincerely convey the sentiment-

Rise up, go the distance/put forth the effort to get back the cutting edge/advantage and hunger/passion to survive and/or to succeed however difficult the challenge is perceived to be! Just as we know the tenacious tiger has had to be to survive.

I gleaned this meaning from the statements made in the internet post by the American rock band called “Survivor“ and from the movie itself. The original song by the title, “The Eye of the Tiger”, was written by members of this band at the request and with the assistance of Sylvester Stallone as a theme and training slogan for Rocky III.

References: The movie “Eye of the Tiger” From “Eye Of The Tiger by Survivor” Songfacts http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=3938

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