sight [sahyt] Word Origin noun
- the power or faculty of seeing; perception of objects by use of the eyes; vision.
- an act, fact, or instance of seeing.
- one’s range of vision on some specific occasion: Land is in sight.
- a view; glimpse.
- mental perception or regard; judgment.
- something seen or worth seeing; spectacle: the sights of London.
- Informal. something unusual, surprising, shocking, or distressing: They were a sight after the fight.
- presentation of a bill of exchange: a draft payable at two months after sight.
- a showing of goods, especially gems, held periodically for wholesalers.
- Older Use. a multitude; great deal: It’s a sight better to work than to starve.
- an observation taken with a surveying, navigating, or other instrument to ascertain an exact position or direction.
- any of various mechanical or optical viewing devices, as on a firearm or surveying instrument, for aiding the eye in aiming.
- Obsolete. skill; insight.
verb (used with object)
- to see, glimpse, notice, or observe: to sight a ship to the north.
- to take a sight or observation of (a stake, coastline, etc.), especially with surveying or navigating instruments.
- to direct or aim by a sight or sights, as a firearm.
- to provide with sights or adjust the sights of, as a gun.
verb (used without object)
- to aim or observe through a sight.
- to look carefully in a certain direction.
- at first sight, at the first glimpse; at once: It was love at first sight.
- at sight,
- immediately upon seeing, especially without referring elsewhere for assurance, further information, etc.: to translate something at sight.
- Commerce.on presentation: a draft payable at sight.
- catch sight of, to get a glimpse of; espy: We caught sight of the lake below.
- know by sight, to recognize (a person or thing) seen previously: I know him by sight, but I know nothing about him.
- not by a long sight, Informal. definitely not: Is that all? Not by a long sight.
- on/upon sight, immediately upon seeing: to shoot him on sight; to recognize someone on sight.
- out of sight,
- beyond one’s range of vision.
- Informal.beyond reason; exceedingly high: The price is out of sight.
- Slang.(often used as an interjection) fantastic; marvelous: a ceremony so glamorous it was out of sight. Oh wow! Out of sight!
- sight for sore eyes, someone or something whose appearance on the scene is cause for relief or gladness.
- sight unseen, without previous examination: to buy something sight unseen.
Origin of sight before 950; Middle English (noun); Old English sihth (more often gesihth, gesiht; cognate with German Gesicht face; cf.), derivative of sēon to ; see Related formssight·a·ble, adjectivesight·er, nounre·sight, verb (used with object)un·der·sight, nounCan be confused sight British Dictionary definitions for at sight sight noun
- the power or faculty of seeing; perception by the eyes; visionRelated adjectives: optical, visual
- the act or an instance of seeing
- the range of visionwithin sight of land
- range of mental vision; point of view; judgmentin his sight she could do nothing wrong
- a glimpse or view (esp in the phrases catch sight of, lose sight of)
- anything that is seen
- (often plural) anything worth seeing; spectaclethe sights of London
- informal anything unpleasant or undesirable to seehis room was a sight!
- any of various devices or instruments used to assist the eye in making alignments or directional observations, esp such a device used in aiming a gun
- an observation or alignment made with such a device
- an opportunity for observation
- obsolete insight or skill
- a sight informal a great dealshe’s a sight too good for him
- a sight for sore eyes a person or thing that one is pleased or relieved to see
- at sight or on sight
- as soon as seen
- on presentationa bill payable at sight
- know by sight to be familiar with the appearance of without having personal acquaintanceI know Mr Brown by sight but we have never spoken
- not by a long sight informal on no account; not at all
- out of sight
- slangnot visible
- extreme or very unusual
- (as interj.)that’s marvellous!
- set one’s sights on to have (a specified goal) in mind; aim for
- sight unseen without having seen the object at issueto buy a car sight unseen
- (tr) to see, view, or glimpse
- to furnish with a sight or sights
- to adjust the sight of
- to aim (a firearm) using the sight
Derived Formssightable, adjectiveWord Origin for sight Old English sihth; related to Old High German siht; see see 1 Word Origin and History for at sight sight n.
Old English sihð, gesiht, gesihð “thing seen; faculty of sight; aspect; vision; apparition,” from Proto-Germanic *sekh(w)- (cf. Danish sigte, Swedish sigt, Middle Dutch sicht, Dutch zicht, Old High German siht, German Sicht, Gesicht), stem that also yielded Old English seon (see(v.)), with noun suffix (2), later -t.
Verily, truth is sight. Therefore if two people should come disputing, saying, ‘I have seen,’ ‘I have heard,’ we should trust the one who says ‘I have seen.’ [Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 5.14.4]
Meaning “perception or apprehension by means of the eyes” is from early 13c. Meaning “device on a firearm to assist in aiming” is from 1580s. A “show” of something, hence, colloquially, “a great many; a lot” (late 14c.). Sight for sore eyes “welcome visitor” is attested from 1738; sight unseen “without previous inspection” is from 1892. Sight gag first attested 1944. Middle English had sighty (late 14c.) “visible, conspicuous; bright, shining; attractive, handsome;” c.1400 as “keen-sighted;” mid-15c. as “discerning” (cf. German sichtig “visible”).
1550s, “look at, view, inspect,” from(n.). From c.1600 as “get sight of,” 1842 as “take aim along the sight of a firearm.” Related: Sighted; .
at sight in Medicine sight [sīt] n.
- The ability to see.
- Field of vision.
Idioms and Phrases with at sight at sight 1
See on sight.
On presentation, especially a draft for payment. For example, These bills are payable at sight. This usage replaced on sight in the late 1600s.
In addition to the idioms beginning with sight