\ ˈsīt How to pronounce sight (audio) \

Definition of sight

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : something that is seen : spectacle
2a : a thing regarded as worth seeing usually used in plural the sights of the city
b : something ludicrous or disorderly in appearance you look a sight
3a chiefly dialectal : a great number or quantity
b : a good deal : lot a far sight better not by a damn sight
4a : the process, power, or function of seeing specifically : the physical sense by which light stimuli received by the eye are interpreted by the brain and constructed into a representation of the position, shape, brightness, and usually color of objects in space
b : mental or spiritual perception
c : mental view specifically : judgment
5a : the act of looking at or beholding
c : view, glimpse
d : an observation to determine direction or position (as by a navigator)
6a : a perception of an object by or as if by the eye never lost sight of the objective
b : the range of vision was nowhere in sight
7 : presentation of a note or draft to the maker or draftee : demand
8a : a device that aids the eye in aiming or in finding the direction of an object
b sights plural : aspiration set her sights on a medical career
in sight
: at or within a reasonable distance or time
on sight
: as soon as seen ordered to shoot on sight
out of sight
1 : beyond comparison
2 : beyond all expectation or reason
3 used as a generalized expression of approval
sight for sore eyes
: one whose appearance or arrival is an occasion for joy or relief


sighted; sighting; sights

Definition of sight (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to get or catch sight of several whales were sighted
2 : to look at through or as if through a sight especially : to test for straightness
3 : to aim by means of sights
4a : to equip with sights
b : to adjust the sights of

intransitive verb

1 : to take aim
2 : to look carefully in a particular direction



Definition of sight (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : based on recognition or comprehension without previous study sight translation
2 : payable on presentation a sight draft

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Cite, Sight, and Site

The three homophones cite, sight, and site are occasionally confused by some people when used as nouns (sight and site) or as verbs (all three words). They needn’t cause trouble: with a little thought, most people who struggle with them can settle upon the correct choice.

Cite is most often encountered in the sense of “to name in a citation”; it may also mean “to mention as an example” or “to order to appear in a court of law.“

Most of the senses of sight are concerned with the act or action of seeing. A wonderful spectacle might be described as a sight, as might the general capacity to see anything (“my sight is not as good as it once was”).

Site is most often concerned with location; it is related to the verb situate "to locate" and situation "a position." A building site is the place where the building is, or will be, located. In contemporary English, site has increasingly been used as a shortened form of website, for the location of a specific page on the Internet.

If you connect citation with cite, eyesight with sight, and situate with site, you are unlikely to make an error.

Examples of sight in a Sentence

Noun She regained sight in her left eye. The officers were ordered to shoot on sight. Keep out of sight until I tell you it's OK to come out. The child wandered out of sight. Don't let the puppy out of your sight. The rabbit disappeared from sight into the tall grass. The controls are hidden from sight behind a panel. Verb They sighted a ship in the distance. Several bears have been sighted in the area.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Strand a gaggle of them in outer space with no chaperones or end(er’s) game in sight, however, and things are likely to get extremely tribal. David Fear, Rolling Stone, "‘Voyagers’: Teenagers, Lost (and Horny) in Space," 8 Apr. 2021 The ball plopped on the turf, umpires called it fair, and Sterling raced the bases with Casey nowhere in sight. Joe Freeman, oregonlive, "Oregon State suffers 5-2 loss to Gonzaga Bulldogs as bats go cold, late rally falls short," 7 Apr. 2021 Alex Caruso was sandwiched between Toronto’s Stanley Johnson and Malachi Flynn, the basketball in sight of the Lakers guard. Broderick Turner Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Alex Caruso hustles to make big plays for Lakers in win over Raptors," 7 Apr. 2021 Though dozens of surveillance cameras on tall poles kept watch throughout the parking lot, no police were in sight. Joanne Silberner, Anchorage Daily News, "Misgivings rise over U.S.-Canada neutral zone where border-crossing parties rendezvous and risk coronavirus transmission," 6 Apr. 2021 The vaccine rollout continues to speed up, and recent studies confirm that vaccines are effective against the coronavirus in the real world, giving experts hope that an end may be in sight. Lauren Leatherby, New York Times, "As Variants Have Spread, Progress Against the Virus in U.S. Has Stalled," 6 Apr. 2021 As highly effective Covid-19 vaccines have started to roll-out, the end of the pandemic - which is likely a once-in-a-lifetime event that helped delivery volumes - appears to be in sight. Trefis Team, Forbes, "DoorDash Stock Falls Further, Time To Buy?," 6 Apr. 2021 The end is in sight — but there’s plenty of time to screw it up and needlessly prolong the pandemic. Erin Allday, San Francisco Chronicle, "Yes, you can travel, but please don't: What's going on with the CDC's mixed messaging," 6 Apr. 2021 But without a deal in sight, experts say people like Romero often must make difficult decisions to sustain themselves. USA Today, "Rationing insulin. Skipping meals. One woman’s struggle to survive on minimum wage," 6 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Did Russian astronomer Kozyrev really sight a volcanic burst on the moon? Dan Q. Posin, Popular Mechanics, "Race to the Moon: A Look at the Space Race a Decade Before Apollo 11," 11 Mar. 2021 After stretching a string from nail to nail, use this line to sight the tops of the slats. Merle Henkenius, Popular Mechanics, "How To Make Your Own Picket Fence," 23 Oct. 2020 Jim Kauber, my friend and former Navy SEAL Master Chief, taught me it’s smarter to get the rifle on paper at 100 yards first and then sight it in at 200. Joe Genzel, Outdoor Life, "How New Rifle Shooters Can Become More Accurate Inside 300 Yards," 20 Aug. 2020 The other day, 100 of my neighbors on Nextdoor were hotly debating the validity of a mountain lion sighting on Twin Peaks. Rachel Levin,, "In the Bay Area, wildlife comes out to play while humans shelter in place," 3 June 2020 The experiment reportedly worked in both sighted people and blind participants who had lost their sight in adulthood, according to the study, published May 14 in Cell. Fox News, "Blind study participants 'see' shapes via electrodes: study," 15 May 2020 At the same time, there is a need for more clear-sighted thinking on some of the lazy assumptions and sweeping generalisations that have been a part of the case for labour reforms. Saurabh Bhattacharjee, Quartz India, "Reckless waiver of labour laws will be counter-productive for the Indian economy," 13 May 2020 Many are exhausted, even in normal times, by simplistic depictions of their heroic survival in a hearing and sighted world. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, "Who Is “Worthy”? Deaf-Blind People Fear That Doctors Won’t Save Them from the Coronavirus," 28 Apr. 2020 Legendary mountaineer Chris Bonington was the first to scale the column in 1966, and a number of blind climbers have since followed sighted partners on the famous route. Ben Morse, CNN, "Blind climber Jesse Dufton pushing boundaries after leading 449-foot climb," 28 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Officials say the goal is to improve safety by giving drivers more sight distance. Fred Swegles, Orange County Register, "San Clemente news briefs: Free swimming at city pools, I-5 bridge work begins, more," 22 Feb. 2017 Sure, there are parts that stretch credibility (a tiny but apparently evil, rabbit is one), and there are sight jokes galore. Joanne Engelhardt, The Mercury News, "‘Spamalot’ is an infectious crowd-pleaser at Palo Alto Players," 3 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sight.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sight


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1602, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1801, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sight


Middle English, from Old English gesiht faculty or act of sight, thing seen; akin to Old High German gisiht sight, Old English sēon to see

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Time Traveler for sight

Time Traveler

The first known use of sight was before the 12th century

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Statistics for sight

Last Updated

10 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sight.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for sight



English Language Learners Definition of sight

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the sense through which a person or animal becomes aware of light, color, etc., by using the eyes : the ability to see
: the act of seeing someone or something
: a position in which someone or something can be seen



English Language Learners Definition of sight (Entry 2 of 2)

: to see (something or someone that is being looked for or that is rarely seen or difficult to see)


\ ˈsīt How to pronounce sight (audio) \

Kids Definition of sight

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the function, process, or power of seeing : the sense by which a person or animal becomes aware of the position, form, and color of objects
2 : the act of seeing It was love at first sight.
3 : something that is seen : spectacle The northern lights were an amazing sight.
4 : something that is worth seeing He showed us the sights of the city.
5 : something that is peculiar, funny, or messy You're a sight!
6 : the presence of an object within the field of vision I can't stand the sight of blood. She caught sight of an eagle.
7 : the distance a person can see A ship came into sight.
8 : a device (as a small metal bead on a gun barrel) that aids the eye in aiming or in finding the direction of an object


sighted; sighting

Kids Definition of sight (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to get a look at : see Their dog was sighted in a neighbor's garden.
2 : to look at through or as if through a device that aids the eye in aiming or in finding the direction of an object


\ ˈsīt How to pronounce sight (audio) \

Medical Definition of sight

1 : something that is seen
2 : the process, power, or function of seeing specifically : the one of the five basic physical senses by which light stimuli received by the eye are interpreted by the brain and constructed into a representation of the position, shape, brightness, and usually color of objects in space
3a : a perception of an object by the eye
b : the range of vision

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Legal Definition of sight

: payable on presentation — see also sight draft at draft

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More from Merriam-Webster on sight

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sight

Nglish: Translation of sight for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sight for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sight

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