Her husband was deathly pale. His eyes started and bulged from their sockets. The car key was in one hand.

What's the meaning of eyes started in this context? Could anyone please elaborate?

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2 Answers 2


The verb 'to start' can mean to suddenly move. When someone is surprised, shocked, very afraid, or is choking, their eyes may seem to bulge, or "start", out of their sockets. The expression is somewhat old-fashioned, and it is unusual to see "start" and "bulge" used together like this. I suspect the redundancy is for emphasis.



The verb start can be used in several ways apart from the sense of begin.

Here, the writer is using the word in the sense described by Merriam Webster below:

to protrude or seem to protrude eyes starting from their sockets


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