eye opener, an


A startling or shocking revelation, as in The first sentence of his speech was a real eye opener. This expression alludes to widening one's eyes with surprise. [Mid-1800s]


A strong alcoholic drink taken early in the morning, as in After a late night and little sleep, he generally needed an eye opener to jolt him awake. This usage alludes to the alleged wakening effect of such a beverage. [Early 1800s]

Nearby words

  1. eye for an eye, an,
  2. eye lens,
  3. eye of a hurricane,
  4. eye of a needle,
  5. eye of day,
  6. eye pillow,
  7. eye point,
  8. eye rhyme,
  9. eye shadow,
  10. eye socket

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.