I would like to describe a person who returns from a mind-relaxing break back to work by the idiom "fresh pair of eyes". However, as per its definition on some sources, "a fresh pair of eyes" is "another person [...]", which made me think that maybe it is not suitable.

The situation I am imagining is of a person who worked longer than he/she expected to find the evident (by the incorrect outcome) mistake in his/her work, goes out for a break, then returns back to examine his work again for the mistake. I would like to describe the property of this man/lady being refreshed by the break, and in a concise and effective manner.

Does the idiom "a fresh pair of eyes" fit into this description? If not, then what else should be my phrase of choice?

  • 1
    I would still say it needs to be another person primarily because the original person still has seen his/her work already. I've always used "fresh set of eyes" to describe eyes that have never seen the subject. I would recommend maybe "a fresh perspective" or something similar.
    – Hank
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 14:19

2 Answers 2


Yes, one can take a break so that they return with a fresh pair of eyes, or so that they review the work with a fresh pair of eyes. However, the phrase idiomatically refers to getting someone else to have a look - someone whose preconceptions or perspectives haven't already been tamed to match that of those close to the project.

Fig. another person to examine something closely in addition to anyone previously. As soon as we can get a fresh pair of eyes on this mansuscipt, we will find the last of the typos. - The free dictionary

  • Should I perhaps than say "almost fresh pair of eyes", or just use it without the "almost" regardless of what it idiomatically refers to? Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 14:26
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    @ThoAppelsin No, I don't think almost gets you what you want here. The phrase (and in particular the word "fresh") can be used in its literal sense, as noted in the opening sentence of my answer.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 14:29

I'd say not necessarily.

When I review my work after a 'transforming experience' (a break, a holiday, a profound discussion...) it is frequently the case that I can see my own work with a fresh pair of eyes.

Fresh - Not exhausted or fatigued; full of vigour and energy; brisk, vigorous, active' (OED).

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