Side Eye

Side Eye

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Updated Mar 07, 2023 at 04:47PM EST by Mateus.

Added Feb 13, 2018 at 04:10PM EST by Matt.

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Side Eye is an English-language term to describe the act of looking at someone to the right or left without moving one's head. The expression generally expresses suspicion, scorn, annoyance, jealousy and more.


The earliest known usage of the term was published on March 19th, 1797 in the periodical Rememberancer for Lord's Day Evenings.[1] The selection says:

"Here we come to what calls for the strongest eye-sight, the most steadfast gazing. Our being in Adam has been looked on with a side eye. The subject has provoked dislike; I may almost say, contempt. It is now painful to speak of it."


In 1922, the expression was used in James Joyce's seminal work Ulysses.[2] In the book, Joyce writes:

"A side eye at my Hamlet hat. If I were suddenly naked here as I sit? I am not. Across the sands of all the world, followed by the sun's flaming sword, to the west, trekking to evening lands."

Side Eyeing Chloe

On September 12th, 2013, YouTuber KAftC[3] uploaded a video titled “Lily’s Disneyland Surprise… AGAIN,” which shows two sisters, Lily and Chloe, reacting to the news of a surprise trip to Disneyland on their way to school. As the older sister, Lily, breaks into tears of joy, Chloe is briefly seen on camera with a disturbed look on her face.

The image of Chloe (gif below) side eyeing her sister became the basis for numerous memes and reaction images.

On May 22nd, 2017, Chloe's Instagram [4] posted the image used for an advertisement for Google. The photo (shown below, right) received more than 333,000 likes in less than one year.

Chloe, we're going to Disneyland! Dá um Googl

Side-Eying Michelle Obama

On January 20th, 2017, ahead of the the Inauguration of Donald Trump, United States President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump gifted Michelle Obama with a Tiffany's box. Michelle seemed confused with what to do with it for a moment, and briefly glimpsed at a nearby camera in a fashion that some described as a side eye.

The incident was one of several moments captured throughout the day when Michelle Obama appeared irritated by the proceedings, sparking jokes on Twitter.

jomny sun @jonnysun Follow the only good moment of this inauguration is michelle jim-facing the camera like "why did she give me this box" 10:37 AM-20 Jan 2017 27,663 47,453

Shortly after the incident went viral, in February 2017, the term "side eye" was added to Merriam-Webster's dictionary.[1] On February 7th, Merriam-Webster tweeted,[7] "'Side-eye' is now in the dictionary. Our earliest example of it in use comes from 1797." In the tweet, they defined the term as a "sidelong glance or gaze especially when expressing scorn, suspicion, disapproval or veiled curiosity. The tweet (shown below) received more than 760 retweets and 1,200 likes in one year.

m Merriam-Webster Webster@MerriamWebster Side-eye' is now in the dictionary. Our earliest example of it in use comes from 1797. (GIF by @GIPHY Studios.) merriam- side-eye noun | I sīd-N a sidelong glance or gaze especially when expressing scorn, suspicion, disapproval, or veiled curiosity GIF

Kim Jo Jong Side Eyes Mike Pence

On February 9th, 2018, during the 2018 Winter Olympics, Twitter user @flyosity tweeted[5] a video clip of Kim Yo Jong standing behind Mike Pence with the caption "Mike Pence vs. Kim Jong Un’s sister is basically amazing." The post (shown below) received more tahn 70 retweets and 200 likes in four days.

Two days later, Business Insider[6] published an article that called the look a "side-eye." The post received more than 280,000 shares in three days.

Side Eye TikTok Trend

On January 2023, a clip from the TikToker @cynthiammasi[8] became a viral audio on the platform when she humorously said "said eyes, side eyes" while telling a story. In less than two months, the audio accumulates 205,000[9] other videos uploaded on TikTok. The original moment in which she says the phrase was reshared on YouTube Shorts by @clipsmatic6583[10] on February 8th, garnering 15,312 views and 487 likes in one month.

TikToker @itsmacy.nichole[11] used the audio with an overlay caption about parents that thinks their kids are always arguing. The post (below, left), uploaded on February 2nd, 2023, garnered 18,9 million plays and 4,3 million likes in one month. @mr.prada44[12] used the audio to comment on the oversaturation of the catchphrase being said repeatedly by his friend. Posted (below, right) on February 18th, the video received 17,7 million plays and 2,8 million likes in one month.


@itsmacy.nichole So now we can’t have a regular convo? #sideeye #fyp ♬ original sound – user6934054176375
@mr.prada44 #fyp ♬ original sound – user6934054176375

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