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Related to eyeballed: see eye to eye

up to (one's) eyeballs (in something)

Extremely busy (with something); deeply or overly involved (in something); possessing, filled up with, or overwhelmed by an excessive amount (of something). There's no way I can take a vacation right now, I'm up to my eyeballs in work at the moment! I only meant to be peripherally involved in David's business venture, but, before I knew it, I was in up to my eyeballs! Dana was worried she wouldn't find any work as an accountant working for herself, but she's up to her eyeballs in clients!
See also: eyeball, up

be up to (one's) eyeballs in (something)

To have too much of something; to be overwhelmed by something. I'm still unpacking, so I'm up to my eyeballs in boxes. If any of my guys get hurt at the construction site, I'll be up to my eyeballs in paperwork.
See also: eyeball, up

eyeball to eyeball

Having confronted or encountered someone or something directly. I had been trying to avoid my math teacher, but then I came eyeball to eyeball with her in the cafeteria. Only when I was eyeball to eyeball with Tim and we were screaming in each other's faces did I realize how much we needed to break up.
See also: eyeball


Fig. face-to-face and often very close; in person. They approached each other eyeball-to-eyeball and frowned. Let's talk more when we are eyeball-to-eyeball.

*up to one's eyeballs

(in something) Go to up to one's neck (in something).
See also: eyeball, up

*up to one's neck (in something)

 and *up to one's ears (in something); *up to one's eyeballs (in something)
having a lot of something; Fig. very much involved in something; immersed in something. (*Typically: be ~; get ~.) I can't come to the meeting. I'm up to my neck in these reports. Mary is up to her ears in her work. I am up to my eyeballs in things to do! I can't do any more!
See also: neck, up

eyeball to eyeball

Face to face; especially, about to begin a conflict. For example, We are eyeball to eyeball with the enemy, or In the playoffs we go eyeball to eyeball with the Yankees, or In the first debate our candidate's going eyeball to eyeball with his opponent. This term was originally used only in a military context but later entered civilian language, particularly in political or sports confrontations. [Colloquial; c. 1950]
See also: eyeball

up to one's ears

Also, in up to one's eyes or eyeballs or neck . Deeply involved; also, oversupplied, surfeited. For example, I'm up to my ears in work, or He's in up to his eyes with the in-laws. This hyperbolic and slangy idiom implies one is flooded with something up to those organs. The first was first recorded in 1839; up to the eyes in 1778; to the eyeballs in 1911; to the neck in 1856.
See also: ear, up

eyeball to eyeball

If two people are eyeball to eyeball, they are facing each other and are very close, usually while arguing or threatening each other. Stam went eyeball to eyeball with the linesman and can count himself lucky to have escaped a red card. Note: Eyeball-to-eyeball can also be used before a noun. It was a tough negotiation that led to eyeball-to-eyeball confrontations with union leaders.
See also: eyeball

drugged up to the eyeballs

If someone is drugged up to the eyeballs, they have taken a lot of drugs which have strongly affected them. He wasn't making much sense, lying in his hospital bed, drugged up to the eyeballs.
See also: drug, eyeball, up

up to your eyeballs

If you are up to your eyeballs in an unpleasant situation, you are very deeply involved in it. He was out of a job and up to his eyeballs in debt. I simply won't have the time — I'm up to my eyeballs in work.
See also: eyeball, up

eyeball to eyeball

face to face with someone, especially in an aggressive way.
See also: eyeball

eyeballs out

with maximum physical effort. informal
See also: eyeball, out

give someone the hairy eyeball

stare at someone in a disapproving or angry way, especially with your eyelids partially lowered. North American informal
1992 Guy Vanderhaeghe Things As They Are The commissioner giving him the hairy eyeball all through the service didn't do anything for Reg's increasing bad humour either.
See also: eyeball, give, hairy

up to the (or your) eyeballs

used to emphasize the extreme degree of an undesirable situation or condition. informal
2000 Time Consumers are up to their eyeballs in debt, and the strain shows.
See also: eyeball, up

drugged up to the ˈeyeballs

have taken or been given a lot of drugs: She was drugged up to the eyeballs, but still in a lot of pain.
See also: drug, eyeball, up

ˌeyeball to ˈeyeball (with somebody)

(informal) standing very close, facing one another, for example in a fight: The two men stood eyeball to eyeball, shouting insults at each other.
See also: eyeball

be up to your ˈeyes/ˈeyeballs in something

have a lot of something to deal with: He was up to his eyes in debt.
See also: eye, eyeball, something, up

give somebody the hairy ˈeyeball

(American English, informal) look at somebody in a suspicious or disapproving way: When I say I’m into hunting, people either laugh or give me the hairy eyeball.
This refers to looking at somebody with your eyes slightly closed so that your eye is partly covered by your eyelashes.
See also: eyeball, give, hairy, somebody


tv. to look hard at someone or something. The two eyeballed each other and walked on.

eyeball to eyeball

mod. face to face. Let’s talk more when we are eyeball to eyeball.
See also: eyeball

get an eyeball on someone/something

tv. to manage to spot someone or something; to catch sight of someone or something. When I finally got an eyeball on the speeding car, it was too far away for me to read the license plate.
See also: eyeball, get, on, something

up to one’s eyeballs

and up to one’s ears
mod. filled up with something. We are up to our eyeballs with trouble around here. She’s up to her ears in marriage proposals.
See also: eyeball, up

up to (one's) neck

Deeply involved or occupied fully: I'm up to my neck in paperwork.
See also: neck, up