lay eyes on
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lay (one's) eyes on (something)
To see or look at someone or something, especially for the first time. A possessive adjective can be used between "lay" and "eyes." I'll never forget the first time I laid eyes on my son. That sunset may be the most beautiful thing I've ever laid my eyes on. He knew he had to buy the watch from the minute he laid his eyes on it.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
lay eyes on
Also, clap or set eyes on . Look at, see, as in As soon as I laid eyes on him I knew he would be perfect for the lead in our play, or I'd never set eyes on such a beautiful gown. The first term dates from the early 1200s and the third from the late 1300s; the second, using clap in the sense of "a sudden movement," dates from the first half of the 1800s.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
lay eyes on, to
To see, to look at. This expression is first recorded in a Middle English manuscript from about 1225. Poet Andrew Marvell used it in Mr. Smirke (1676), “The fairest thing that ever eyes were laid on.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer