"Squint" can mean either:

partly close (one's eyes) in an attempt to see more clearly or as a reaction to strong light.


have eyes that look in different directions.

Is there a way to differentiate between the 2 meanings? Does any one of those meanings have a dedicated word that is not "squint"?

  • Strabismus is the name of the second. – mama Feb 16 at 14:42
  • Words that have multiple meanings can only be understood from context. (I note that you have not provided any actual sentences that would establish context.) – Jason Bassford Feb 16 at 18:57
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    When we use 'squint' in the sense of peering through narrowed eyes it is a verb. For example "He squinted at the television". When we refer to an eye condition as 'a squint' it is a noun. For example "He has a squint, you can't be sure where he's looking". We very rarely, if ever, mix these uses. – BoldBen Feb 16 at 21:00
  • @Happy In that case what sort of differentiation are you wanting to make? Even if someone says "Take a squint at this" the noun is obviously related to an action rather than to a condition whereas "He was born with a squint but it was corrected surgically" obviously relates to the condition. It's very similar to the difference between the noun and verb "bear" where the context tells you which was intended. It's clearer than "He held a ball" where it's unclear whether he was gripping a sphere or organising a dance. – BoldBen Feb 18 at 1:50
  • @BoldBen that makes sense, you're right. Well, I was not sure at first that "he squints" doesn't refer to having "strabismus". In fact, merriam webster says this, regarding the verb "squint" : "chiefly British : to have a medical condition that makes your eyes unable to look in the same direction". So, I guess in American English it's easier to differentiate between the 2 meanings. Have a look here merriam-webster.com/dictionary/squint – Happy Feb 18 at 11:13

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