‘Seeing Eye To Eye’: Definition, Meaning and Examples

By Sophia Merton, updated on June 10, 2023

Did someone say to you ‘seeing eye to eye’ and you’re wondering what it means? In this article, we’ll take a look at the meaning, origin, examples, and more.

‘Seeing eye to eye’ means to agree with someone– to be on the same page about a specific topic or in general. Though it can be used in its positive form, it is more commonly used in its negative form, as in “it seems like we’re not ‘seeing eye to eye.’”

What Does ‘Seeing Eye To Eye’ Mean?

The phrase ‘seeing eye to eye’ means that people are in full agreement. When you ‘see eye to eye’ with someone else, it means that you have similar attitudes or views toward a particular topic or situation. It can also mean that two or more people generally get along with one another.

  • You can use this expression when you want to convey that two or more people agree.

If you want to communicate that two or more people don’t agree on something or don’t get along– either having a specific disagreement or they just generally clash as personalities– you can say that they ‘don’t see eye to eye.’

In fact, the negative form of the phrase is more common than the positive version.

Where Does ‘Seeing Eye To Eye’ Come From?

‘Seeing eye to eye’ is an old idiom– it can be found in the Bible.

In Isaiah 52:8, the following passage can be found in the King James version:

“The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice; together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the Lord to Zion.”

However, the meaning here is thought by some to be a different way to describe people that are of the same mind. For example, the same passage is translated differently in the New American Standard Bible:

“Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices, They shout joyfully together; For they will see with their own eyes When the LORD restores Zion.”

The New Living Translation of the Bible translates the same passage as follows:

“The watchmen shout and sing with joy, for before their very eyes they see the LORD bringing his people home to Jerusalem.”

Historical Examples of ‘Seeing Eye to Eye’ In Print

Using the Google Books Ngram Viewer, we see that ‘seeing eye to eye’ is discussed in texts in the early 1800s but largely in the context of the Biblical passage discussed above.

In discussing this part of Isaiah, we find the phrase in Life and Works: a Collection of Pamphlets - Volume 6, published in 1806:

“Now I shall explain the meaning of the words; seeing eye to eye, is one light against another, one sight against another, that ye may see both together in one likeness; and perfectly so will the end be, when I come to fulfill my Gospel, and the words I have revealed to thee. Then, as ye may see eye to eye, when fixed to look at one the other, so will the light appear, that ye may see the whole together.”

In the 1847 publication The Evangelical Repository - Volume 6, we find the phrase used with its current meaning in relation to another Biblical verse about the mote in one’s eye:

“If so, how can we have the face to go to our brethren with whom we wish to be in ecclesiastical fellowship, and say, “Let us pull the mote out of your eye, which prevents you from seeing as we see, the necessity of not being so forbearing with each other in some points of faith and practice which appear to us to be of vast importance for us to walk together as brethren, minding the same things and speaking the same things,” when there is such a large beam in our own, which prevents us from seeing eye to eye on certain points of faith and manners, some of which have been judicially condemned, and others have been authoritatively enjoyed upon all in our communion?”

Examples of ‘Seeing Eye To Eye’ In Sentences

How would ‘seeing eye to eye’ be used in a sentence? Let’s take a look at some examples:

  • “In the story, the protagonist simply can’t see eye to eye with the antagonist. No matter how hard he tries, he just can’t understand where he’s coming from.”
  • “Even though we don’t see eye to eye, I’m rooting for you. I want you to succeed even though I’m concerned about the path you’re taking.”
  • “It seems like we’re not seeing eye to eye on this. I thought we were on the same page, but your last email has me concerned.”
  • There’s a thin line between seeing eye to eye and being a complete pushover. If you disagree with me, say so.”
  • “It’s rare that an amateur will see eye to eye with a master, but it seems like you two are practically two peas in a pod.”

Other Ways to Say ‘Seeing Eye To Eye’

What are some other idioms and phrases that have a similar meaning to ‘seeing eye to eye’?

Here are some options:

  • Being on the same page
  • Being on the same wavelength
  • In accord
  • Being in harmony

Final Thoughts About ‘Seeing Eye To Eye’

‘Seeing eye to eye’ is a phrase that dates back to the Book of Isaiah in the Bible that has the meaning in modern English of being in agreement and getting along. It is often used in its negative form, such as “the two of us can’t ‘see eye to eye’” or “it seems like we just don’t ‘see eye to eye.’”

Are you ready to learn more English phrases and expand your vocabulary? Be sure to check out our idioms blog for idioms, expressions, sayings, and more!

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

Written By:
Sophia Merton
Sophia Merton is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. Sophia received her BA from Vassar College. She is passionate about reading, writing, and the written word. Her goal is to help everyone, whether native English speaker or not, learn how to write and speak with perfect English.

Add new comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WritingTips.org Newsletter
Receive information on
new articles posted, important topics, and tips.
Join Now
We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.