Ear candy and eye candy

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The words ear candy and eye candy are twentieth century inventions, though the possible source of these terms might be surprising. We’ll look at the meaning of ear candy and eye candy, where these words come from, and look at some examples used in sentences.

Ear candy describes music that is light, frothy and fun without being intellectually challenging. Ear candy is entertaining but doesn’t last for very long, an allusion to the value of candy. The term ear candy was first seen in 1977 as the title of a record album sung by Helen Reddy. Helen Reddy was an Australian pop singer with worldwide success, she was criticized for producing music that was bland and only suitable for easy-listening. By producing an album called Ear Candy, Reddy thumbed her nose at the music critics.

Eye candy describes something visual that is light, frothy and fun without being intellectually challenging. The first known use of the term eye candy was in 1978, it was used to describe the American television show Three’s Company, a situation comedy involving two very attractive women. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the word candy was attached to other words to describe something fun without being intellectually challenging. Some trace this use of the word candy to 1930, when cocaine was first referred to as nose candy. Other terms using this construction are arm candy and brain candy.


The backing vocals really helping to make this section pop, while also adding some ear candy. (Guitar World Magazine)

An admirable singer herself, the actor skillfully scales her notes close enough to regulation to make the inevitable Jenkins crash into screech the antithesis of ear candy. (Rolling Stone Magazine)

A men’s rights group has said the PSNI may be guilty of encouraging sexual harassment for describing a male officer as “eye candy” and suggesting that women should join the force so they can “run into him”. (The Belfast Telegraph)

The film, directed by Luke Scott and laden with high-tech eye candy, should have been a lot more complex and psychologically interesting than it is. (The Wall Street Journal)