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This often happens at school in Asia where teachers or school supervisors sometimes roll their eyes towards one side (to the left or right) to look at their students with anger, probably the students are doing something bad.

Or we often see that in kindergarten, for example, a child is trying to sneakily take some candies in a box and the teacher gives that kind of look to him/her.

Is it idiomatic and common to say "to give somebody a black look" or "to give a black look to/at somebody" to express the idea of to roll your eyes towards one side and look at somebody with anger/ jealousy or any negative attitude"?

For example,

"The teacher gave a black look at / to him as he was trying to sneakily take some candies in the box"

Note: I am not sure I should use "at" or "to" because we have the structure "to give something to somebody" but "to have a look at somebody")

Also, can we use "look askance" for example,

"She looked askance at him when he began to eat before everybody else."

but I am not sure this phrase is common or not.

  • Note: we roll our eyes. Jul 16, 2020 at 10:18
  • Sometimes shorter titles are better, the details go in the body
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 16, 2020 at 10:25
  • The teacher gave him a black look. No: to or at. look askance is very literary.
    – Lambie
    Jul 16, 2020 at 13:49

1 Answer 1


First, the word is "roll", not "role", to indicate movement of the eyes.
Your suggestion of "look askance" is about right for the expressions in your pictures.

American Heritage Dictionary "askance"

  1. With disapproval, suspicion, or distrust: The area is so dirty that merchants report the tourists are looking askance.
  2. With a sideways glance; obliquely.

I think "black look" is more negative.
Cambridge "black look"
"an expression on your face that is full of anger and hate"

The pictures show something milder than hate, to me.

  • But is "look askance" a common everyday term or not many people know it?
    – Tom
    Jul 16, 2020 at 10:28
  • It's not very common, but "black look" is even less common. There are many synonyms of both terms searchable on google, such as "frown", and "look skeptically" for "look askance", and "glower" for "black look". Also, you can use google ngram viewer to check the frequency of the terms in books. Jul 16, 2020 at 10:37
  • I am looking for a common one that a child can learn.
    – Tom
    Jul 16, 2020 at 10:39
  • 2
    A colloquial expression for this is to give someone the stink eye. Jul 16, 2020 at 12:26
  • 1
    @CanadianYankee, can we say "give/shoot somebody a dirty look": "​(informal) to look at somebody in a way that shows you are annoyed with them"?
    – Tom
    Jul 16, 2020 at 15:16

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