lay eyes on, to

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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.
See also: eye, lay, on
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.”
See also: eye, lay
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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