the evil eye

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evil eye

1. The power believed by the superstitious to inflict harm, injury, or misfortune by a look or stare. They say that the old lady living in the house at the end of the road has an evil eye—if she catches you in her gaze, you'll be cursed with bad luck for a year!
2. A hateful, malicious, or villainous look or stare that suggests or is thought to be capable of inflicting harm or misfortune. I saw him giving me the evil eye, so I turned around and walked the other way.
See also: evil, eye
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

the evil eye

The evil eye is a harmful magical force that is given by looking at someone. Some people said an evil eye had been put on her.
See also: evil, eye
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

the evil eye

a gaze or stare superstitiously believed to cause harm.
See also: evil, eye
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

evil eye, the

The power of being able to inflict harm at a glance. This age-old superstition—the Roman poet Virgil speaks of it bewitching lambs—is in modern times expressed figuratively and sometimes ironically. Edward Bulwer-Lytton used it in The Last Days of Pompeii (1834): “‘He certainly possesses the gift of the evil eye,’ said Clodius of Arbaces the Egyptian.” As for a modern jocular example: “Where house plants are concerned, I seem to have the evil eye.”
See also: evil
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Belief in the evil eye is strongest in West Asia, Latin America, East and West Africa, Central America, South Asia, Central Asia and Europe.
The power of liquids is reflected in the Talmudic interpretation of Jacob's biblical blessing of Joseph: "Just as the fishes in the sea are covered by water and the evil eye has no power over them, so the evil eye has no power over the seed of Joseph." The pervasive use of fish imagery and amulets in the Middle East and North Africa can be linked to this and similar sources.
This translation draws attention to the fact that in the Italian American context, at least, she who cures the evil eye metaphorically participates in the nature of the godmother: just as the godmother takes responsibility for the spiritual well-being of an infant in the baptismal ritual, the comare takes responsibility for the spiritual welfare of her entire community through her special gift of intercession.
Thus, when a Welsh farmer received a compliment for his healthy cows, he would expect the phrase "God bless it", otherwise that person could be pronouncing a false praise and casting the evil eye over the animals.
Both cattle and children could be protected by the use of red threads tied to their bodies, usually with three knots in them in an attempt to distract the evil eye from its objective.
These items range from glass beads for protection against the evil eye, to the mezuzah found on door frames, to the hamsa (five fingered hand), engraved pendants, tiny boxes containing special prayers, Aaron's breastplate, the knots on the prayer shawl, the teffilin, henna hand and foot painting, amulets from the Sefer Raziel that protect newborn infants from evil forces, and so much more.
Frederick Thomas Elworthy's THE EVIL EYE: THE CLASSIC ACCOUNT OF AN ANCIENT SUPERSTITION (0486434370, $17.95) reprints an 1895 classic treatise first published over a century ago, and holding importance for modern researchers.
Madonna and her film director husband Guy Ritchie are just two of the famous celebs who've adopted the sect's trade-mark red wool bracelet, which is believed to ward off the evil eye.
"It's one thing to say that a company is flexible and wants a work-life balance for its employees and quite another thing when you try and take time off and are given the evil eye. Or, if the boss is in at 6 a.m.
Children who lived in households where the inhabitants believed that diarrhea is caused by forces such as the evil eye were more at risk than those in households that linked diarrhea with hygiene practices or contaminated food and water.
She would put the evil eye on them and go into a rage.
3 HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU KID: Adams gives Thompson the evil eye as refereee Mike Dean comes down in City's favour.
It was believed that the verses averted the evil eye; hence, some early authors connected the name with fascinum ("charm, bewitchment").
New Mexico State University astronomer Rene Walterbos is investigating the Evil Eye, a peculiar galaxy that appears to stare back at astronomers like an eyeball.