[ sahyt ]
See synonyms for: sightsightedsightingsights on

  1. the power or faculty of seeing; perception of objects by use of the eyes; vision.

  2. an act, fact, or instance of seeing.

  1. an instance of looking briefly; view; glimpse.

  2. one's range of vision on some specific occasion: Land is in sight.

  3. mental perception or regard; judgment.

  4. something seen or worth seeing; spectacle: the sights of London.

  5. Informal. something unusual, surprising, shocking, or distressing: They were a sight after the fight.

  6. Commerce.

    • presentation of a bill of exchange: a draft payable at two months after sight.

    • a showing of goods, especially gems, held periodically for wholesalers.

  7. Older Use. a great deal: It's a sight better to work than to starve.

  8. an observation taken with a surveying, navigating, or other instrument to ascertain an exact position or direction.

  9. any of various mechanical or optical viewing devices, as on a firearm or surveying instrument, for aiding the eye in aiming.

  10. Obsolete. skill; insight.

verb (used with object)
  1. to see, glimpse, notice, or observe: to sight a ship to the north.

  2. to take a sight or observation of (a stake, coastline, etc.), especially with surveying or navigating instruments.

  1. to direct or aim by a sight or sights, as a firearm.

  2. to provide with sights or adjust the sights of, as a gun.

verb (used without object)
  1. to aim or observe through a sight.

  2. to look carefully in a certain direction.

Idioms about sight

  1. at first sight, at the first glimpse; at once: It was love at first sight.

  2. 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.

  1. catch sight of, to get a glimpse of; espy: We caught sight of the lake below.

  2. in plain sight. See entry at in plain sight.

  3. know by sight, to recognize (a person or thing) seen previously: I know him by sight, but I know nothing about him.

  4. not by a long sight, Informal. definitely not: Is that all? Not by a long sight.

  5. on / upon sight, immediately upon seeing: to shoot him on sight;to recognize someone on sight.

  6. 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!

  7. sight for sore eyes, someone or something whose appearance on the scene is cause for relief or gladness.

  8. sight unseen, without previous examination: to buy something sight unseen.

Origin of sight

First recorded before 950; Middle English (noun); Old English sihth (more often gesihth, gesiht; cognate with German Gesicht face; cf. y-), derivative of sēon “to see1 ”; see -th1

Other words from sight

  • sight·a·ble, adjective
  • sight·er, noun
  • re·sight, verb (used with object)
  • un·der·sight, noun

Words that may be confused with sight Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use sight in a sentence

  • This reading secures scarcely anything more than a succession of sights to the eye or sounds to the ear.

    Assimilative Memory | Marcus Dwight Larrowe (AKA Prof. A. Loisette)
  • MacRae's seat, stone-marker, and aboriginal spearhead; the three lined up like the sights of a modern rifle.

    Raw Gold | Bertrand W. Sinclair
  • This was his first journey into the country, and the many strange sights drew exclamations of surprise and wonder from him.

    Our Little Korean Cousin | H. Lee M. Pike
  • Drunkards are not frequent sights in the Quarter; and yet when these people do get drunk, they become as irresponsible as maniacs.

    The Real Latin Quarter | F. Berkeley Smith
  • He had come up from Nancy that morning, and had since occupied the time in strolling about seeing the sights of the little place.

    The Doctor of Pimlico | William Le Queux

British Dictionary definitions for sight


/ (saɪt) /

  1. the power or faculty of seeing; perception by the eyes; vision: Related adjectives: optical, visual

  2. the act or an instance of seeing

  1. the range of vision: within sight of land

  2. range of mental vision; point of view; judgment: in his sight she could do nothing wrong

  3. a glimpse or view (esp in the phrases catch sight of, lose sight of)

  4. anything that is seen

  5. (often plural) anything worth seeing; spectacle: the sights of London

  6. informal anything unpleasant or undesirable to see: his room was a sight!

  7. 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

  8. an observation or alignment made with such a device

  9. an opportunity for observation

  10. obsolete insight or skill

  11. a sight informal a great deal: she's a sight too good for him

  12. a sight for sore eyes a person or thing that one is pleased or relieved to see

  13. at sight or on sight

    • as soon as seen

    • on presentation: a bill payable at sight

  14. know by sight to be familiar with the appearance of without having personal acquaintance: I know Mr Brown by sight but we have never spoken

  15. not by a long sight informal on no account; not at all

  16. out of sight

    • slang not visible

    • extreme or very unusual

    • (as interj.): that's marvellous!

  17. set one's sights on to have (a specified goal) in mind; aim for

  18. sight unseen without having seen the object at issue: to buy a car sight unseen

  1. (tr) to see, view, or glimpse

  2. (tr)

    • to furnish with a sight or sights

    • to adjust the sight of

  1. to aim (a firearm) using the sight

Origin of sight

Old English sihth; related to Old High German siht; see see 1

Derived forms of sight

  • sightable, adjective

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with sight


In addition to the idioms beginning with sight

  • sight for sore eyes, a
  • sight unseen

also see:

  • at first blush (sight)
  • at sight
  • can't stand the sight of
  • catch sight of
  • heave into sight
  • in sight
  • know by sight
  • lose sight of
  • love at first sight
  • lower one's sights
  • on sight
  • out of sight
  • raise one's sights
  • second sight
  • see the sights
  • set one's sights on
  • twenty-twenty hindsight

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