n.— «There had been a family of seven or eight dolpins cruising up and down the local beaches.…I paddled towards them (nothing violent or sudden, just an easy paddle out towards ‘em).…he Lead Dude (Bull?) stopped his up and down swimming style, and slowed down a bit, spearing me with stink-eye, and staying on the surface until the rest of the family went by.» —“Re: Only Surfing” by Leif Eric Johnson Usenet: alt.surfing Jan. 30, 1992. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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4 Responses

  1. Heimhenge says:

    Never heard “stink-eye” before, but then, that could just be surfer jargon. And I don’t surf … at least not on liquids. From the context, I’d guess that it means about the same as “evil eye” or “dagger eye.” Curious about how “stink” fits into that meaning. I read that usenet post you cited. No clues there. Any ideas?

  2. EmmettRedd says:

    Here is the earliest that Google Ngrams found. Yes, it says ‘dirty look, evil eye’.

  3. Glenn says:

    I didn’t grow up hearing stink-eye or dagger eye, although phrases with daggers — he was looking daggers at me — were common. We used evil eye.

    I remember hearing stink eye on TV. It was pretty clear. I presumed it to be a west-coast expression.

  4. BigDan says:

    The movie Juno uses the term:


    Juno MacGuff: Your little girlfriend gave me the stinkeye in art class yesterday.

    Paulie Bleeker: Katrina’s not my girlfriend alright? And I doubt she gave you the stinkeye that’s just how her face looks, you know? That’s just her face.”


    I live in MN, and we say it a fair amount. My family never said it, I think we may have gotten it from TV/ Movies in the last 10 years or so.