You never hear someone saying "beautiful small eyes", "nice beady eyes" or "cute squinty eyes" (except, you do hear, "beautiful large eyes").

As far as I know, all the synonyms for small-shaped eyes seem to have a negative connotation to them.

Now, is there a rather positive or optimistic word for small eyes or eyes that are small in shape?

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    The negative connotations are because small eyes are traditionally considered a negative trait. I doubt there are any positively loaded words for small eyes, just like there are no positive words (that I know of) for greasy hair, wrinkly skin, crooked noses, yellow teeth, wiry hair, or wonky legs. Jul 24, 2017 at 11:41
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    I think the best you could do would be to find an ethnic group or country where that type of eye shape is common, and make reference to that, like "You have lovely Finnish-looking eyes" or something along those lines. (note - I picked "Finnish" because they often have some Inuit/Asian genetic heritage) Jul 24, 2017 at 12:23
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    As eyes are considered the window to the soul, bigger is universally better. Since the days of Cleopatra, eyeliner makes eyes look bigger and outlines their importance to the face. Men from Morocco to Afghanistan used it. Jul 24, 2017 at 12:53
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    I had always thought 'beady eyes' were specifically for the soulless, empty headed eyes of some birds, with no size connotation. Does anybody else find this? All the on-line dictionaries do not say this; they all say small and with bad intent. (so I'm probably wrong, I'm just checking)
    – Mitch
    Jul 24, 2017 at 13:20
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    @JanusBahsJacquet What happened to the colour of someone's eyes? It doesn't matter what size their eyes are, it's what they express that counts. E. Groeg, ignore the size, look deep into her eyes and sigh... and tell her that her eyes shine like stars, thousands of light years away.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 24, 2017 at 13:31

3 Answers 3


Anything along the lines of elfin or miniature can be construed as positive, I suppose:

"Her perfectly heart-shaped pixie-like face was bejeweled with the most exquisitely formed emerald green eyes...small, like the rest of her, but sparkling with quick wit and wisdom."

And to be clear, shape would almond, oval, round, etc. The size would be small, doll-like, miniature, tiny, etc. - none of which are necessarily negative.

  • Elfin sounds beautiful and rather appropriate here: "If you describe someone as elfin, you think that they are attractive because they are small and have delicate features." Source: Collins Dictionary
    – E.Groeg
    Nov 10, 2022 at 22:55

Metaphor could be used to indicate smallness without saying so directly - e.g. "bright, lively, gimlet eyes that see everything" ... a gimlet is a tool for making small holes, so using this metaphor praises penetrating vision, and smallness comes along for the ride as a connotation.

Alternatively comparing them to gems "like two sparkling sapphires" (or emeralds, or diamonds or...) again smallness is a connotation since even valuable gems are generally small.

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    The gimlet eye?
    – Lawrence
    Jul 24, 2017 at 13:33
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    But I like your notes in the direction of sparkly eyes.
    – Lawrence
    Jul 24, 2017 at 13:35
  • @Lawrence "Piercing" vision is not negative, it's a complement though quite a specific one - Though if you are trying to get away with something you won't like the gimlet eye! books.google.co.uk/…
    – Ben
    Jul 24, 2017 at 13:46
  • I'm not sure gimlet eye works as a compliment. Even as a complement (to sharp intellect, perhaps), it doesn't seem (to me) to come across positively.
    – Lawrence
    Jul 24, 2017 at 13:54
  • What about "bedroom eyes"? Don't they indicate a person with smaller eyes?
    – E.Groeg
    Jul 26, 2017 at 6:05

"Petite eyes" has a neutral connotation that can be made positive with further supporting context.

  • "Petite" is more appropriate to describe a slender body. I mean, you can might as well use "slim eyes", "thin eyes" or "lean eyes". And they don't sound quite right. :)
    – E.Groeg
    Jul 26, 2017 at 2:42
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    haha Good point, "lean eyes" is definitely weird.
    – PephenKinD
    Jul 26, 2017 at 17:06
  • What about "hunter eyes"? They're usually narrow and squinty, and they're perceived as alluring.
    – E.Groeg
    Nov 28, 2017 at 3:12

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