Wednesday Word: Eye

Personal note: a more regular number, length and variety of posts coming soon… we recently traveled across the Pacific, faced the terrors of jet lag and the delay of transfer to new computers. Life is almost settled again. Meanwhile, a quick Wednesday Word:


In Palawano, the thread-hole in a needle is not the “eye” (or mata). The eye of the needle is… (I should make you guess, but I’ll just tell you. I’m nice like that), the eye is the sharp tip of the needle! This is interesting, since on a knife or sword, the “eye” is the sharp blade. The tip, in those cases, is called the mouth.

Another idiom using mata (eye) shows up when describing sleigh-of-hand magic. Such tricks are called balik-mata, which means they “turn your eyes inside out”!

But back to our sewing implement… if the hole is not called the “eye,” what do you suppose it might be? It is called (I hope you’re sitting down) the “hole of the needle.”

Any of you speak other languages with idioms about the eye or about the needle? Chime in…

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About Bill Davis

Writer, speaker and translation and language learning consultant. I write technical articles, poetry and humor, and I am working on my first novel which is set on the island of Palawan in the Philippines.
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