A sight for sore eyes

A sight for sore eyes is an idiom that dates to the 1700s. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom a sight for sore eyes, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

A sight for sore eyes is a welcome sight; it is something or someone that one has missed or longed to see. The expression a sight for sore eyes uses the word sore to mean feeling worried or sorrowful. The idiom a sight for sore eyes is credited to Jonathan Swift in his work published in 1738, A complete collection of genteel and ingenious conversation: “The Sight of you is good for sore Eyes.” However, the idiom may have been in use long before Jonathan Swift published it in his work.

Examples

So after three years away, of course the return of the Hong Kong Sevens will be a sight for sore eyes. (South China Morning Post)

For a team that had gone more than seven periods without seeing its hard work be rewarded with many goals, the second period of RPI’s game against Canisius was a sight for sore eyes. (Times-Union)

John Abraham was a sight for sore eyes on Friday morning as he appeared shirtless on his balcony. (Times of India)

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