\ 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 pluralthe 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
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 The fires removed excess vegetation, pests and cleared low lying branches that blocked sight lines for hunting. Peter Fimrite,, "California tribe offered solution to wildfire management. Was U.S. Forest Service listening?," 11 Oct. 2020 Texas had its opening drive wiped out by junior tailback Keaontay Ingram’s fumble, an ominous sight after his goal-line fumble in the loss to TCU. Nick Moyle,, "Four-overtime thriller with Oklahoma leaves No. 22 Texas exhausted, disappointed," 10 Oct. 2020 Beachgoers are such an unusual sight at public sites that suspicious coast guards often shoo them out of the water. Donna Abdulaziz And Stephen Kalin, WSJ, "Saudi Staycations Lay Bare Obstacles to Kingdom’s Tourism Drive," 8 Oct. 2020 Based on Aaron Starmer’s 2016 YA novel, writer-director Brian Duffield’s slick adaptation relies on random geysers of death built for startling sight gags. Michael Phillips,, "‘Spontaneous’ review: When 'Heathers’ met 'Scanners,’ with a side order of ‘Fault in Our Stars’," 6 Oct. 2020 The challenge faced by Hawke and company is that for white men to prominently place their names on a tale of slavery on Showtime in 2020 is a far sight riskier than for McBride, a Black man, to have spun his yarn in a novel in 2013. Carvell Wallace, New York Times, "‘The Good Lord Bird’ Is Good TV. But Mix Art and Slavery at Your Peril.," 6 Oct. 2020 The sight would be compared to a graveyard: Along a bay shore on Russia's far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula, more than a dozen octopus washed up lifeless. Washington Post, "In Russia’s Far East, suspected oil leak blamed for killing octopi, sickening surfers," 5 Oct. 2020 Moments after the red card, Kane got his first as Eric Bailly lost possession trying to play the ball out from the back, exchanging passes with Son -- a familiar sight this season -- before blasting a shot past David de Gea. George Ramsay, CNN, "Tottenham Hotspur puts six past Manchester United at Old Trafford," 4 Oct. 2020 ReBag founder Charles Gorra chalks it up to the popular Dior Oblique pattern, another omnipresent sight in our street style pictures. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "Bottega Veneta—A Hot Commodity on the Street Style Scene and in the Resale Market," 1 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 In Dongguan, a key manufacturing city in the Pearl River Delta, a government document sighted by Bloomberg requires manufacturers to carry out a checklist to ensure facilities are clean and staff are healthy., "China Pushes Factories to Reopen, Risking Renewed Virus Spread," 20 May 2020 An invasive South American lizard Georgia officials are attempting to eradicate was sighted for the third year in a row, a reptile conservation group said. NBC News, "Invasive South American lizard sighted in Georgia for 3rd year, conservation group says," 13 May 2020 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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Learn More about sight

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

18 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sight.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for sight


How to pronounce sight (audio)

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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Comments on sight

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