[boo lz-ahy]
noun, plural bull's-eyes.
  1. the circular spot, usually black or outlined in black, at the center of a target marked with concentric circles and used in target practice.
  2. a shot that hits this.
  3. the center or central area of a military target, as of a town or factory, in a bombing raid.
  4. a missile that strikes the central area of a target.
  5. the coordinates or instance of aiming and firing a missile that results in its hitting the center of a target.
  6. Informal.
    1. any statement or act that is precisely to the point or achieves a desired result directly.
    2. something that is decisive or crucial; crux.
  7. a small circular opening or window.
  8. a thick disk or lenslike piece of glass inserted in a roof, ship's deck, etc., to admit light.
  9. Optics. a lens of short focal length.
  10. a lantern equipped with a lens of this sort.
  11. Nautical. an oval or circular wooden block having a groove around it and a hole in the center, through which to reeve a rope.
  12. Meteorology. (formerly) the eye of a storm.
  13. a large, round piece of peppermint-flavored hard candy.

Origin of bull's-eye

First recorded in 1680–90
Related formsbull's-eyed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for bullseye


  1. the small central disc of a target, usually the highest valued area
  2. a shot hitting this
  3. informal something that exactly achieves its aim
  4. a small circular or oval window or opening
  5. a thick disc of glass set into a ship's deck, etc, to admit light
  6. the glass boss at the centre of a sheet of blown glass
    1. a small thick plano-convex lens used as a condenser
    2. a lamp or lantern containing such a lens
  7. a peppermint-flavoured, usually striped, boiled sweet
  8. nautical a circular or oval wooden block with a groove around it for the strop of a shroud and a hole at its centre for a lineCompare deadeye
  9. meteorol the eye or centre of a cyclone
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for bullseye

also bulls-eye, 1833, "center of a target," from bull (n.1) + eye (n.). So called for size and color. Meaning "shot that hits the mark" is from 1857.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper