12

I would like to know how do you say this action in common spoken English.

Suppose that someone puts their hand on someone's eyes in order not to let them see.

So, someone is ordering someone else to this action:

A. Put your hand on her eyes.
B. Blindfold her with your hand.
C. Catch her eyes off ...

So what's the way saying it?

  • 4
    Does a common spoken expression exist in your language? – James K Mar 12 '18 at 11:19
  • 5
    At least in my cultural experience, the only time I would ask someone to do this is when the two people are very close, such as lovers, dating, or married. I wouldn't even ask two close friends to do this to each other. At the same time, asking someone to cover their own eyes is quite common. – Todd Wilcox Mar 12 '18 at 17:12
  • 3
    @ToddWilcox I agree that a situation where this phrase might be used implies a level of familiarity, though perhaps not as much as you do. I wouldn't be surprised to hear friends say this in a playful manner without expecting it to actually be done, like when a surprise is about to be revealed, or to acknowledge that the "coveree" might not fully approve of something happening. – brichins Mar 12 '18 at 17:58
  • 1
    @brichins This seems most normal for two adults to say in reference to a child, say during a scary/inappropriate part of a movie, if surprise gifts are being brought through, or if a beloved item is being removed; "Cover her eyes" just makes sense in that context. Similar to having someone cover their ears, you protect them from what they shouldn't know/hear, or what you simply don't want known/heard. But I can also perfectly imagine its place in gentle ribbing between friends. – raisinghellyer Mar 13 '18 at 20:19
47

I think the simplest, yet most idiomatic way to say that in English would be this:

Cover her eyes with your hands.

Or, as was suggested by brichins down below, the sentence can be made even shorter:

Cover her eyes.

if it's implied that it is your hands that you're going to use to cover her eyes.

  • 13
    Or simply "Cover her eyes" - use of the hands would be generally be implied, unless perhaps the person being addressed was holding something appropriate to the action. – brichins Mar 12 '18 at 17:52
9

"Put your hands over her eyes" would be most natural to me. ("Over" seems more natural than "on" but I can't really explain why. Perhaps "on" feels like you're saying to touch her eyes, which would be painful.)

If you said "blindfold her with your hand(s)", that would be understood perfectly. "Catch her eyes off" makes no sense to me and I wouldn't be able to guess what you meant.

  • 1
    "on" feels, to me, like you're saying "touch her eyes" -- i.e. it feels like "directly on". – Fund Monica's Lawsuit Mar 13 '18 at 22:53
9

None of your examples feel natural to me.

As an American in the western U.S., we would simply say "close your eyes," it being implicit that the eyes may need to be covered (by one's hands or something else) to ensure the necessary blindness or surprise. It is a common enough concept in my area that a surprise should be met with covered eyes that I don't hear people say anything more explicit.

If the situation requires the eyes to be covered by hands (whether it be a playful moment with a child or an intimate moment with a lover), I'd use "cover your eyes." If asking a third person to cover the second person's eyes, it would be most natural to say, "please cover her eyes." Again, the use of hands being implicit.

It would be tedious to say "cover her eyes with your hands" as it suggests there are multiple ways to cover the eyes and the most appropriate is with your hands. This would be highly circumstantial. Ignoring situations with sexual overtones, I could see using it at a child's birthday party where a blindfold was used by children striking a piñata — until one with a runny nose took a turn, afterwhich the blindfold couldn't be used. You might then ask a second child to "cover her eyes with your hands" to take the place of the blindfold.

7

As an American (who has lived in the midwest and east coast), a common phrase I would use is

Shield her eyes!

to indicate covering their eyes so they cannot see. This has the same meaning as "cover", but the use of "shield" adds a sense of urgency or need to avoid danger. Because it sounds exaggerated, I most often hear this in playful and joking contexts. (For example, I was very shy and modest when I was younger, and a friend teased me by saying "oh no, shield your eyes!" when two characters had a PG kissing scene in a movie.)

Note that "shield" can also mean "protect" in a purely functional sense, as in the case of debris or wind, which does not necessarily imply that the person is unable to see. The context should make it clear which is meant, but to avoid ambiguity or for a more serious situation,

Cover her eyes!

is appropriate and to-the-point. It would seem a little strange to specify "with your hands", since that is already the most likely method of covering someone's eyes. But if you would like to specify,

Put your hands over her eyes.

is a natural way to phrase it, since the use of "put" requires that you explain what you are going to use, rather than tacking on a prepositional phrase to the "cover" sentence.

  • 6
    In my experience the phrase "shield her eyes" would mean to protect the eyes (from the sun, from debris when using a saw, from the wind, etc.) and does not imply blindness. However, it is a colloquialism and my have regional meanings. – JBH Mar 12 '18 at 22:06
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    @JBH That's another meaning, yes, but the context in which the phrase is said should make it clear. I added a note to my answer, thanks. – user812786 Mar 13 '18 at 12:48
  • "shield" a good one, but is it spoken? – Shahrooz Mar 18 '18 at 10:10
  • In fact the majority of questioned phrases here, I reckon ppl are asking for the usage in "spoken language", otherwise there are ample synonyms for stating something in such a rich-of-vocabulary language as English! – Shahrooz Mar 18 '18 at 10:13
  • @Shahrooz yes, this is something I have heard spoken (and said out loud myself) :) – user812786 Mar 18 '18 at 23:10
3

I'm reminded of one of my favorite songs by Weird Al (Everything You Know is Wrong). In the song you hear the lyrics:

"When suddenly a guy behind me in the back seat Popped right up and cupped his hands across my eyes"

It's a variation of the other answers here, but especially the word "cupped" in this case sounds like the right way to me. Also, I think where space is at a premium in song lyrics, if there were a shorter way to say this, he likely would have used it.

  • "cupped", maybe literally, but is it common in spoken language which you'd hear here and there amid kids playing and interacting one another? I doubt it! – Shahrooz Mar 18 '18 at 10:09
3

As a Mississippi native, to ask a person to do this to themselves:

Hide your eyes!

To ask someone to do it to someone else:

Hide her eyes!

  • 1
    Is this something that is said only in Mississippi? Only to children? Yikes?! "Hide your eyes" sounds like you are asking someone to remove their eyeballs and put them in a place where nobody can find them. – Mari-Lou A Mar 14 '18 at 9:44
2

Not appropriate for the particular case in question, but closely related:

There's a little rhyme you say to small children:

Open your mouth
And close your eyes,
You're going to get
A big surprise!

When the child closes its eyes, you pop a sweet into the child's open mouth.

  • Thanks, but "close your eyes" , do not denote that it is being done by hands / covering them, the kid simply "closes" their eyes by their eyelids! – Shahrooz Mar 18 '18 at 10:15
-2

No peekaboo. (or peek-a-boo) It's usually said to children/infants to have them cover their own eyes, though I think with context, most would understand the idea of covering someone else's eyes.

  • 4
    I think this is an interesting contribution, but it really needs more explanation to link it back to the question. Peekaboo is a game, so "No peekaboo" to me means "we're not playing peekaboo right now". I think "No peeking!" might be something that you tell someone once they've closed their eyes (or covered them with their own hands) to make sure they don't try to sneak a look, but it doesn't express "Hey Joe put your hands over Jill's eyes so she can't see the surprise." – ColleenV parted ways Mar 13 '18 at 14:42
  • In my mind it would be all gone then. Which I think would be AWESOME. "Hey Joe, all-gone Jill's eyes so she can't see the surprise." – Aaron R. Mar 19 '18 at 23:25

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