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the power or faculty of seeing; perception of objects by use of the eyes; vision.
an act, fact, or instance of seeing.
one’s range of vision on some specific occasion:
Land is in sight.
a view; glimpse.
mental perception or regard; judgment.
something seen or worth seeing; spectacle:
the sights of London.
Informal. something unusual, surprising, shocking, or distressing:
They were a sight after the fight.

presentation of a bill of exchange:
a draft payable at two months after sight.
a showing of goods, especially gems, held periodically for wholesalers.

Older Use. a multitude; great deal:
It’s a sight better to work than to starve.
an observation taken with a surveying, navigating, or other instrument to ascertain an exact position or direction.
any of various mechanical or optical viewing devices, as on a firearm or surveying instrument, for aiding the eye in aiming.
Obsolete. skill; insight.
to see, glimpse, notice, or observe:
to sight a ship to the north.
to take a sight or observation of (a stake, coastline, etc.), especially with surveying or navigating instruments.
to direct or aim by a sight or sights, as a firearm.
to provide with sights or adjust the sights of, as a gun.
to aim or observe through a sight.
to look carefully in a certain direction.
at first sight, at the first glimpse; at once:
It was love at first sight.
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.

catch sight of, to get a glimpse of; espy:
We caught sight of the lake below.
know by sight, to recognize (a person or thing) seen previously:
I know him by sight, but I know nothing about him.
not by a long sight, Informal. definitely not:
Is that all? Not by a long sight.
on / upon sight, immediately upon seeing:
to shoot him on sight; to recognize someone on sight.
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!

sight for sore eyes, someone or something whose appearance on the scene is cause for relief or gladness.
sight unseen, without previous examination:
to buy something sight unseen.
Contemporary Examples

With no premiere date in sight, eager readers have gotten creative.
The Next Twilight Denise Martin August 27, 2010

A year later, he starred in Alfie, playing a man who beds every woman in sight.
Michael Caine Tells His Life Straight Jacob Bernstein October 24, 2010

What followed was quite a sight: a mass exodus of luggage-towing passengers heading toward the road on foot.
LAX: Chaotic Scene Greets Arriving Passengers After Shooting Attack Marlow Stern October 31, 2013

No implausible publication with “interpolated essays on the virtues of sanitary improvement” is beyond his sight.
The Best of Brit Lit Peter Stothard August 19, 2009

He was quite a sight— young, telegenic, vibrant, even if he was an unapologetic wonk.
Rating the 2012 Veep Candidates: How Biden, Ryan Did Paul Alexander November 7, 2012

Historical Examples

The sight of the young artist’s note recalled her earlier subject.
The Market-Place Harold Frederic

She’d marry me—she’d marry you, if you was the best thing in sight.
The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson

Aggy turned with a startled defiance, but at sight of Quinn’s face she recoiled.
Peak and Prairie Anna Fuller

From the camp only plains were in sight, not a tree visible.
Explorations in Australia John Forrest

Insensibly the sight of that ever-rolling flood must have deeply affected them.
The Heart of Nature Francis Younghusband

the power or faculty of seeing; perception by the eyes; vision related adjectives optical visual
the act or an instance of seeing
the range of vision: within sight of land
range of mental vision; point of view; judgment: in his sight she could do nothing wrong
a glimpse or view (esp in the phrases catch sight of, lose sight of)
anything that is seen
(often pl) anything worth seeing; spectacle: the sights of London
(informal) anything unpleasant or undesirable to see: his room was a sight!
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
an observation or alignment made with such a device
an opportunity for observation
(obsolete) insight or skill
(informal) a sight, a great deal: she’s a sight too good for him
a sight for sore eyes, a person or thing that one is pleased or relieved to see
at sight, on sight

as soon as seen
on presentation: a bill payable at sight

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
(informal) not by a long sight, on no account; not at all
out of sight

(slang) not visible
extreme or very unusual
(as interj.): that’s marvellous!

set one’s sights on, to have (a specified goal) in mind; aim for
sight unseen, without having seen the object at issue: to buy a car sight unseen
(transitive) to see, view, or glimpse

to furnish with a sight or sights
to adjust the sight of

to aim (a firearm) using the sight

Old English sihð, gesiht, gesihð “thing seen; faculty of sight; aspect; vision; apparition,” from Proto-Germanic *sekh(w)- (cf. Danish sigte, Swedish sigt, Middle Dutch sicht, Dutch zicht, Old High German siht, German Sicht, Gesicht), stem that also yielded Old English seon (see see (v.)), with noun suffix -th (2), later -t.

Verily, truth is sight. Therefore if two people should come disputing, saying, ‘I have seen,’ ‘I have heard,’ we should trust the one who says ‘I have seen.’ [Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 5.14.4]

Meaning “perception or apprehension by means of the eyes” is from early 13c. Meaning “device on a firearm to assist in aiming” is from 1580s. A “show” of something, hence, colloquially, “a great many; a lot” (late 14c.). Sight for sore eyes “welcome visitor” is attested from 1738; sight unseen “without previous inspection” is from 1892. Sight gag first attested 1944. Middle English had sighty (late 14c.) “visible, conspicuous; bright, shining; attractive, handsome;” c.1400 as “keen-sighted;” mid-15c. as “discerning” (cf. German sichtig “visible”).


1550s, “look at, view, inspect,” from sight (n.). From c.1600 as “get sight of,” 1842 as “take aim along the sight of a firearm.” Related: Sighted; sighting.

sight (sīt)

The ability to see.

Field of vision.

sight for sore eyes, a
sight unseen


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