You may have heard someone use the term ‘I spy with my little eye’ during an English conversation. But what does this term mean? We are going to look into the meaning of the phrase and how we can use it in a conversation. We will also look into where this saying came from in the first place.
I Spy with My Little Eye
“I Spy with My Little Eye” Meaning
When someone uses the term ‘I spy with my little eye’ they are literally saying that they can see something. The phrase is usually associated with a game of the same name.
Origin of this idiom
The term ‘I spy with my little eye’ originated in a game, as we previously mentioned, that has the same name as the term. The game was first seen in England in Victorian times. The idea of the game is to say the phrase ‘I spy with my little eye something…..’ and the sentence can be finished with either a letter or a descriptive word such as size or color. Your opponent then has to guess what it is that you are looking at.
“I Spy with My Little Eye” Examples
Examples in Statements
This is a statement made by a player of the game from which the phrase derives.
- ‘I spy with my little eye something that begins with H.’
This statement is made by someone who is pointing out that they can see something.
- ‘I spy with my little eye a dress that I want to buy.’
If you are wondering how the term ‘I spy with my little eye’ would fit into a conversation, here are some examples of what it might look like.
This first conversation is an example of a game of ‘I spy.’
- Person 1: “Shall we play I spy to pass the time?”
- Person 2: “Ok, I spy with my little eye something that is blue.”
- Person 1: “The sky?”
- Person 2: “Yes, that’s correct.”
This next conversation is happening between two friends.
- Person 1: “I cannot find my keys anywhere!”
- Person 2: “Have you look under the sofa?”
- Person 1: “No, will you look please?”
- Person 2: “I spy with my little eye…..your keys!”
Other Ways to Say the Phrase
‘I spy with my little eye’ is a phrase that is unique and designed for a specific reason. However, there are other ways in which you could express that you see something significant.
Here are some examples of what you might say.
- I spy
- Guess what I see
- I saw
- I can see
I Spy with My Little Eye | Image