See more synonyms for red-eye on
  1. the condition of having bloodshot eyes, as from eyestrain or lack of sleep.
  2. Also red eye, redeye. Informal. a commercial airline flight between two distant points that departs late at night and arrives early in the morning.
  3. redeye(def 3).
  4. an unwanted photographic effect in which a person's iris appears to be red: caused by the reflection of a flashbulb off the blood vessels of the retina.
  1. Also redeye. Informal. of or indicating a long-distance flight that leaves late at night: the red-eye special from New York to Los Angeles.

Origin of red-eye

1965–70, for def 2


noun, plural red·eyes, (especially collectively) red·eye for 1, 2.
  1. any of several fishes having red eyes, as the rock bass.
  2. red-eyed vireo.
  3. Also red-eye, red eye. Slang. cheap, strong whiskey.
  4. red-eye(def 2).
  5. (initial capital letter) Military. a shoulder-launched U.S. Army surface-to-air missile capable of destroying low-flying aircraft.
  6. red-eye(def 4).
  1. red-eye.

Origin of redeye

1665–75; 1920–25, for def 3; red1 + eye Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for red eye

red eye

  1. photog an undesirable effect that sometimes appears in flashlight portraits when light from the flash enters the eye and is reflected from the retina on to the film, producing a red colour


  1. US slang inferior whiskey
  2. Canadian slang a drink incorporating beer and tomato juice
  3. another name for rudd


  1. informal
    1. an aeroplane flight leaving late at night or arriving early in the morning
    2. (as modifier)a red-eye flight
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 red eye



"airplane flight which deprives travelers of sleep," 1968, from the red eyes of sleeplessness; earlier as a noun meaning "raw and inferior whiskey" (1819, American English).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper