Does the slang my eye in following sentence represent "Surprise" or sadness?

I heard that you made a high jump of eight feet at the track meet. My eye!

From the paragraph above, I understand that the speaker was surprised/shocked or unhappy to know his friend made that high jump.

Please correct me.

  • 4
    It means the speaker is stuck in some kind of pre-WW2 linguistic timewarp. I don't think I've ever heard anyone use this expression "for real" in 50 years. Dec 15, 2015 at 13:41
  • 1
    "My eye!" indicates doubt. Said to be originally nautical slang. (Don't believe Fumblefingers. He is stuck on some backwater island.)
    – GEdgar
    Dec 15, 2015 at 13:41
  • Hmm...an enigma! In another example of how we are adversaries with those closeest to us, the French have almost the identical situation re eye, foot, ass. Now who stole from who, and where did the original come from?
    – Mitch
    Dec 15, 2015 at 14:11
  • 2
    D'origine français?:'Elle découlerait d'une autre expression de la fin du XIXe siècle "il n'y a pas plus que mon œil". Le sens en est que si l'œil ne le voit pas, c'est que ça n'est pas prouvé.' Pretty obvious, non? ('It follows from another expression of the late nineteenth century "there is no more than my eye." The sense is that if the eye does not see, then it is not proven.'
    – Mitch
    Dec 15, 2015 at 14:21
  • 1
    It's really a slightly obfuscated way of saying, "You're a liar." and I always thought it meant, "You can take my eye if that turns out to be true." (Also, while I haven't heard it recently where I currently live, it's definitely been in "actual" use less that 50 years ago- I think it's still in use in some of the Southern US states.
    – Jim
    Dec 16, 2015 at 3:41

1 Answer 1


My eye

Like hell, that's nonsense, as in You were at the library all day? My eye, you were!

This slangy expression of disbelief was first recorded in 1842. From about 1800 to the 1930s the same term was used to indicate surprise ( My eye, she's been promoted after all.) but this usage seems to be obsolete.

The Free Dictionary

Therefore, in your sentence, the speaker is bemused by the claim.

More like the colloquial - My a** you made a jump that high!

  • 2
    You mean "my ass"? +1)
    – user140086
    Dec 15, 2015 at 13:49
  • So my eye means non-sense? Speaker did not belive if his friend could make that hight jump, so he said My eye! am I right here?
    – Amit Verma
    Dec 15, 2015 at 13:55
  • @Starkeen - Yes. "My eye" is used for expressing disbelief by making a mockery of the (improbable)claims.
    – BiscuitBoy
    Dec 15, 2015 at 13:58
  • @Rathony - ya! Don't we need to censor out expletives?! ;)
    – BiscuitBoy
    Dec 15, 2015 at 13:59
  • almost identical in meaning to "my foot": idioms.thefreedictionary.com/my+foot
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 15, 2015 at 14:02

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