7

Here is the sentence:

"Just cross your eyes a little and it would be impossible for you to tell the difference between this and televised football."

The sentence is from a game app's description. I know the lexical meaning of the phrase "cross your eyes".

Verb 1. cross one's eyes - partly close one's eyes;
"The children squinted to frighten each other"
Synonyms: squint, squinch
Webster

However, I am not sure how it would fit here.

Let me make the context clearer. The sentence is about a game update that makes the mobile play so realistic that one cannot differentiate between the game and the real football.

  • 1
    The definition you posted of "cross your eyes" is wrong. That's probably the source of your confusion. – Brennan Vincent Dec 1 '18 at 0:45
  • I edited out the totally incorrect definition, to avoid further massive confusion. – Fattie Dec 1 '18 at 7:36
  • @Fattie: I think the edit changes the OP's intent. I am pretty sure the OP was wondering how squinting would help a video game appear to be a live game. My edit merely quoted the OP's link. My answer attempts to address the misunderstanding. – jxh Dec 1 '18 at 8:22
17

Crossing your eyes makes it harder to see clearly. This usage means unless you are paying close attention to the differences between the two things, you won't notice them.

I haven't heard this expression used before, but in my personal experience, I have heard people say "if you squint hard enough..."

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    For what it's worth, squinting has the opposite effect. You would say, "If you squint hard enough you can tell the difference between this and televised football." – Jason Bassford Nov 30 '18 at 17:12
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    @JasonBassford usually it's used as "X looks like Y if you squint", which is indeed comparable to the eye-crossing analogy. – Ketura Nov 30 '18 at 20:35
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    @Ketura To be clear, crossing your eyes and squinting are not the same thing—although the two are used in a syntactically similar fashion in the example of this question and answer. Crossing your eyes blurs your vision, meaning you can't see the difference; meanwhile, squinting sharpens your vision, meaning you can see the difference. You would not normally say X looks like Y if you squint. Rather X looks like Y when you don't squint because you can't distinguish between the two. Instead, you would simply say You can make out X if you squint. – Jason Bassford Nov 30 '18 at 21:08
2

I have not personally encountered the usage of cross your eyes to mean squinting as indicated in your linked reference. I had always heard it used to mean making your eyes appear to be crossed. The condition esotropia is commonly referred to as being cross-eyed:

Esotropia is a form of strabismus in which one or both eyes turns inward. The condition can be constantly present, or occur intermittently, and can give the affected individual a "cross-eyed" appearance.
Wikipedia

You can usually accomplish crossing your eyes by trying to focus your eyes on the tip of your nose.

enter image description here

In addition to a funny looking face, you could get double vision, or lose focus, or something else, and thus have trouble seeing things clearly.

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1

I remember seeing the expression "screwed her eyes tight" with the meaning that you're after here.

I would personally rewrite the sentence to something like

"You'll actually mistake this for televised football if you don't pay enough attention".

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1

It's that, when you cross your eyes, you lose depth perception. The comment is the equivalent of saying "It's almost like watching in HD;" or, in other words, it's not quite as good visually, but could be if you lower your standards.

As far as I'm aware, it's not a colloquial phrase anywhere in the US or GB, so whoever said this to you probably missed the intended purpose.

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