Bat an Eye

The idiom "bat an eye" means to show no reaction or surprise to a surprising or shocking situation.

Bat an Eye: Meaning and Definitions

  • The idiom “bat an eye” is used to express the lack of surprise, interest, or overt reaction to something that might otherwise be shocking or unusual.
  • It is often used to depict indifference or nonchalance in response to certain situations or events.
  • “Bat an eye” can mean that a person is not expressing any visible signs of shock or surprise in their facial expressions, particularly the eyes.
  • It’s used to convey that someone is accepting or taking in something without protest or disapproval.
  • Furthermore, it may suggest a level of expectation or familiarity with the incident or information being presented.

Bat an Eye Synonyms

  1. Not blink an eye
  2. Not turn a hair
  3. Remain unfazed

Example Sentences

  • When the boss announced the redundancies, no one bat an eye.
  • Despite the shocking news, she didn’t bat an eye, showing her strong resilience.
  • Even when he won the lottery, he didn’t bat an eye, maintaining his calm demeanor.
  • When confronted with the criticism, the actress didn’t bat an eye, showing her professionalism.
  • They did not bat an eye at the high price tag, showing their wealth and disregard for frugality.

The Origins and Etymology of Bat an Eye

The phrase “bat an eye” comes from the physical act of batting one’s eyes, which is to blink or flutter them rapidly.

It is used metaphorically in this idiom to imply a lack of reaction or display of emotion.

The phrase seems to have appeared in English during the early 20th century.

douglas heingartner editor saywhatyo!
Douglas Heingartner

Douglas Heingartner, the editor of SayWhatYo!, is a journalist based in Amsterdam. He has written about science, technology, and more for publications including The New York Times, The Economist, Wired, the BBC, The Washington Post, New Scientist, The Associated Press, IEEE Spectrum, Quartz, The Village Voice, The Los Angeles Times, Frieze, and others. His Google Scholar profile is here, his LinkedIn profile is here, and his Muck Rack profile is here.