In Chinese, we use an expression which literally "I'm so tired and my eyes could only focus on one point (or my eyeballs can not move anymore)" after a long workday to express that we are extremely tired.

I want to know whether there are similar expressions related to eyes to express tired?

I also want to know if I can say 'I've got two glazed eyes after finishing all my work' to express my tiredness? And can a native speaker understand what I want to express after hearing this?

  • Henry, look at Is there any expressions. Do you see any conflict? Sep 21, 2016 at 15:44
  • @Alan Carmack Thanks for your reminding. It should be 'are there any expressions'.
    – Henry Wang
    Sep 22, 2016 at 5:59
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    You've completely changed the title and the question, making the submitted answers almost null and void, you realize that, don't you? None of the answers refer to the new question about glazed eyes. A visitor who sees this page will be very confused as to why nobody is answering your query. This should have been posted as a NEW question.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 22, 2016 at 7:26
  • @Mari-LouA When I see that, I just roll it back This was an especially egregious case, since there were so many answers to the original question, as you mention. Sep 22, 2016 at 10:29
  • @AlanCarmack Although I have been a member for a couple of years, I feel like a newbie here. I think rollbacks are accepted in a better spirit by senior and high rep members. That's just me.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 22, 2016 at 10:46

8 Answers 8


There's also the phrase I could barely keep my eyes open, implying that you are having to work hard just to keep your eyelids from closing and going to sleep.

For example,

...after the two previous sleepless nights I can barely keep my eyes open.

So tired she could barely keep her eyes open, let alone walk a straight line, Maddy numbly followed wherever Ace led...

Okay, okay, here's one more goodnight story – the last one. I'm knackered and can hardly keep my eyes open!

  • 1
    this seems to be the closest to OP's phrase imho
    – Some_Guy
    Sep 21, 2016 at 14:31
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    Any phrase that indicates that you are having difficulty "keeping your eyes open" would work. I can't keep my eyes open, She struggled to keep her eyes open, They had a hard time keeping their eyes open Sep 21, 2016 at 15:27

Weary-eyed is an expression that means "with eyes that look tired".

From: Family finances for the flabbergasted:

  • I know I'd find weary-eyed fathers waiting for lost sons and weary-eyed sons waiting for lost fathers. We live lives of remarkable similarity

From: Sealskin and shoddy: working women in American labor press fiction

  • The weary-eyed mother watched her stealthily. How pretty — and how like the girl he had married! She sighed.


  • physically or mentally exhausted by hard work, exertion, strain, etc.; fatigued; tired:

    • weary eyes; a weary brain.



One expression is bleary-eyed.

Definition from Merriam Webster:

having the eyes dimmed and watery (as from fatigue, drink, or emotion)

Example usage from the New York Times:

By the end of Alabama's 48-43 victory over Ole Miss in a Southeastern Conference showdown on Saturday, a weary, bleary-eyed Saban looked exhausted when the clock finally hit all zeroes.

  • Often it's associated with having just gotten out of bed and not being fully awake yet, though. Sep 22, 2016 at 4:07

When someone is looking tired they are said to have "bags under their eyes" or be "baggy-eyed".

From idiomeanings.com:

After partying all night, Thomas had bags under his eyes the next day.

Another one is to have "heavy eyelids," "heavy eyes," or "heavy lids."

From the Oxford Dictionary:

‘an elderly man with a deep-lined, heavy-eyed face’

To answer the edited question:

Can I say "I've got two glazed eyes"

Yes, it's comprehensible. Saying eyes are "glazed" or "glazed over" means that they're not focussing as expected. This is associated with tiredness or eye-strain. Be aware when using it that it's also (perhaps more strongly) associated with being bored, in general with not concentrating and with not looking at any particular thing. So depending on context there may be some ambiguity whether your work was exhausting or just boring. If you've finished the work and moved on to something else, and your eyes are still glazed, then I'd tend to interpret it as tiredness.

I think it's more natural to say "my eyes are glazed" rather than "I have two glazed eyes".

I can't give you a rule for when English-speakers put redundant numbers in, and when we don't. In this case I think it can go without saying that you have two eyes, and that over-work causes both to be equally glazed. Some people have fewer eyes, but using the plural rules that out, it must be at least two. So there's no need to tell the listener exactly how many eyes you have (although if you had three or more eyes then it might be of interest to mention it).

  • 1
    "My eyes have glazed over" is how I'd expect to hear it. Sep 22, 2016 at 10:12
  • FYI, the question has been rolled back to its original. But I'm sure the OP appreciates your post, and I'd leave it here, unless the OP does what he should have and asks a new question instead of editing his first question to be entirely new—something extremely frowned upon here. Sep 22, 2016 at 10:31
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    @Alan: and that's why I quoted the second question in my answer :-) Sep 22, 2016 at 10:34
  • Good enough. Then I'll just edit the question and insert the second question. Sep 22, 2016 at 10:37

My mom often said

Prop your eyes open with toothpicks.

For example

I was so tired today that I had to prop my eyes open with toothpicks.

  • My mom said that too! Is it a mom-expression? (Actually, she would say prop your eyes open with toothpicks. Ick.) Sep 21, 2016 at 18:36
  • Yea maybe it was "prop". Now that you mention it, that sounds right. Sep 21, 2016 at 19:44
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    @Malvolio It's a Tom & Jerry thing. i.stack.imgur.com/uPn8e.png Sep 22, 2016 at 14:51
  • @AndrewLeach It is possible (unsure) that Tom & Jerry used an already known saying. Maybe someday evidence will show one way or the other. Oct 2, 2016 at 6:41

You can use the expression 'Glossy Eyed' ....

"I'm so tired I'm all glossy eyed."

"Look how glossy eyed those guys are over there after all that gaming."

"We smoked too many joints and are all glossy eyed" (also can be used in the context of cannabis)


This is extremely informal, and crass, but if someone has really had no sleep (e.g. they have been out partying), you might say "Wow, you have eyes like piss-holes in the snow!" Obviously very rude, and not one for polite company! Between good friends only, and people who are happy with expletives (piss)! I'll leave you to imagine the simile for yourself here ;)

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