What is the English idiom for Russian "режет глаз" which literally can be translated as "hurts the eye"? In Russian, it is used when there is something, a thing, which does not fit to the whole picture and immediately attracts attention in the negative sense.

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    The question is essentially "What is an expression used for something ugly and out of place?" But there are many other variants to choose from. Mar 5, 2021 at 14:16
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    @66974 The question is essentially "What is an expression used for something ugly and out of place?" But there are many other earlier questions to choose from. //// Does this answer your question? How do I insultingly describe an extremely ugly building? Mar 5, 2021 at 14:16
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    @EdwinAshworth - also your second example has little to do with the question here, but just coincidentally provides similar answers. Close voting function should be used more carefully.
    – user 66974
    Mar 5, 2021 at 14:22
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    @66974 How many times do we want 'eyesore' and 'stick out like a sore thumb' to re-appear as answers on a site aimed primarily at linguists? These questions are all minor variants on "What is a word or an expression used for something ugly and out of place?" Mar 5, 2021 at 14:36
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    @EdwinAshworth - they are not minor variants, they are different questions which would not come up as duplicate in a research.
    – user 66974
    Mar 5, 2021 at 16:00

5 Answers 5


It sticks out like a sore thumb.

If you say that someone or something sticks out like a sore thumb or stands out like a sore thumb, you are emphasizing that they are very noticeable, usually because they are unusual or inappropriate.

Does the new housing stick out like a sore thumb or blend into its surroundings?

In Japan a European stands out like a sore thumb.



It is an eyesore:

an unpleasant or ugly sight in a public place: They think the new library building is an eyesore.

(Cambridge Dictionary)

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    I think "eyesore" implies that the object is unpleasant by itself. This is not exactly the meaning of the Russian version which emphasizes "out of place" part: imagine a picture of hard workers (like en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barge_Haulers_on_the_Volga) but half of them wearing tailored suits. That would be the case of “режет глаз” despite those people in suits looking perfect on they own. Mar 5, 2021 at 23:45
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    @AlexeiLevenkov please add that to the question. Something like it refers to the incongruity of the item when seen in that context.
    – Phil Sweet
    Mar 6, 2021 at 1:36

Idiomatically, it may be described by the aural analogue of a jarring note. It strikes a jarring note.

Jarring : jarring sight, sound, or experience is so different or unexpected that it has a strong and unpleasant effect on something or someone


  • Have a +1 to offset the drive-by DV.
    – Phil Sweet
    Mar 6, 2021 at 1:38
  • @PhilSweet PhilAnthropic perhaps? Thankyou. The drive-bys rarely bother to explain themselves so as to benefit the questioners. Like the drivers who throw litter out of their cars, we just have to live with it. Thanks for clearing up.
    – Anton
    Mar 6, 2021 at 7:48
  • Don't we have "clash" for when this is visual? Mar 9, 2021 at 14:39

The idiomatic expression you are looking for is:

It is painful to look at.

This is clearly closer to the literal meaning of the idiom you wanted to translate, than "sore thumb", though it is pretty similar to "eyesore". So you could use either one depending on the grammatical structure you want to have at that point.


You may consider the opposite of 'easy on the eye', i.. 'not easy on the eye'

But only where the translation has a negative component in the expression

Easy on the eye (informal) Pleasant to look at.

  1. Soft colours are easy on the eye.
  2. Her paintings are very easy on the eye.
  3. The room was painted in soft pastels that were easy on the eye.
  4. And frankly, she's pretty easy on the eyes, too.
  5. It was vital that they should be prompt and professional as well as easy on the eye.
  6. Garda Garda is a charming old village that is very easy on the eye.
  7. Above all,[http://sentencedict.com/easy on the eyes.html] it should be as physically comfortable and relaxing as it is easy on the eye.


This idiom originated around the year 1900. People typically use it to describe a person who is beautiful or handsome. The idea behind this expression is that someone who is attractive is easy to look at. Conversely, something that is ugly is hard to look at.


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