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Is there a word or phrase for looking just by moving your eyeballs?

Something like: "the way the helmet was attached to the armour prevented her from turning her head to look at him. Instead, she looked around with her eyes and caught a glimpse of him out of the corner."

  • Although I like "She rolled her eyes around the room". I have to concede that it doesn't quite achieve figurative lift off! – Dan Mar 25 at 10:15
  • May be Smooth pursuit or Saccade or just pupillary movement? – Ubi hatt Mar 25 at 10:17
  • 'She looked' is all that is needed. 'Looking' and 'seeing' both imply eye movement and peripheral vision within the scope of their meaning. Despite the restrictions of the helmet, she looked and could see etc etc – Nigel J Mar 25 at 11:25
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They swivelled their eyes towards X imparts the meaning you want, that the movement of the eyes happens independent of the head.

Swivel-eyed refers to someone who is constantly swivelling their eyes, implying frenzy. However they swivelled their eyes will be understood as a one-off occurence.

If they have not found what they're looking for, you may use sweep or swept as in:

Their gaze swept the horizon for pirate ships

Swept implies a swift, broad and lofty movement which is much more suited to the movement of the eyes than the rest of the body.

  • 1
    Nice! I love swiveling her eyes, it captures the feeling of isolated eye movement. – dalum Mar 25 at 12:37
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"the way the helmet was attached to the armour prevented her from turning her head to look at him. Instead, she looked around with her eyes and caught a glimpse of him out of the corner."

"she looked with her eyes" is of course a pleonasm so I suggest avoiding that.

Almost any verb implying movement should do, e.g.

"the way the helmet was attached to the armour prevented her from turning her head to look at him. Instead, she moved her eyes and caught a glimpse of him out of the corner."

I don't think it's necessary but if you really want to emphasise it, try the following:

"the way the helmet was attached to the armour prevented her from turning her head to look at him. Instead, she moved just her eyes and caught a glimpse of him out of the corner."

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