Naked Eye, the

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Meaning of Idiom 'Naked Eye'

The naked eye is human sight without any assistance by instruments designed to magnify images, such as microscopes, telescopes, binoculars, etc. 1,2


In common use, the naked eye includes eyes aided by ordinary glasses (spectacles) or contact lenses because these are designed to give a person average vision rather than to artificially magnify the image being viewed. When something is able "to be seen with the naked eye" it can be seen without any optical instruments.


"Criminals often leave behind trace evidence that is too small to be seen with the naked eye. This is why police collect seemingly ordinary and mundane objects from crime scenes."

"Some of the planets, like Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, can be seen with the naked eye. You just have to know when and where to look!"

"I just watched a documentary that gave me the creeps!" said Jane. "It said there were millions of organisms living on our skin too small to see with the naked eye!"


First used in print in 1664. 2

1. McIntosh, Colin. Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Cambridge University Press, 2013.
2. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

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