\ 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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For those who advocate for reproductive rights, the apocalypse seems almost in sight. Globe Staff,, 14 May 2022 Abu Akleh, 51, was a household name across the Arab world, synonymous with Al Jazeera's coverage of life under Israeli rule, which is well into its sixth decade with no end in sight. Josef Federman, ajc, 14 May 2022 Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov welcomed the heavy weapons making their way to the front lines but said there is no quick end to the war in sight. Arkansas Online, 14 May 2022 There is now a broad consensus that inflation is not only too high but that there’s no immediate end in sight. Zachary Karabell, Time, 13 May 2022 The ranch — where no neighbors are in sight — is listed with Kerry Mormann and Joe Ramos of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties. Degen Pener, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 May 2022 Now imagine agreeing to pay billions for an online social media platform, only to see that the stock price is plummeting, some prominent people threaten to boycott the platform, or just leave it altogether, with no end in sight? Anat Alon-beck, Forbes, 13 May 2022 As fan bases compete to attract the best athletes, NIL spending will grow year over year with, seemingly, no end in sight. James S. Hirsch, WSJ, 13 May 2022 Still, there are hopes that a bottom may soon be in sight. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, 12 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Next stop is southern Patagonia to sight the frostbitten Andes and icy fjords. Julia Zaltzman, Robb Report, 8 Apr. 2022 But the country’s religious affairs minister had announced Friday that Ramadan would start on Sunday, after Islamic astronomers in the country failed to sight the new moon. Samy Magdy, Anchorage Daily News, 3 Apr. 2022 In 1840, the Maori sailor Te Atu became the first New Zealander to sight the Antarctic Coast while aboard a United States expedition in the southern oceans. New York Times, 2 July 2021 The outdoor athletes to whom Yosemite Valley serves as a second home are always trying to sight the next audacious feat in the mountains: rock climbing, skiing, BASE jumping. Gregory Thomas, San Francisco Chronicle, 18 June 2021 In 1642, a Dutch explorer became the first European to sight New Zealand. Cynthia Ozick, The New Yorker, 14 June 2021 While Gojira-purists will sight their earlier classics From Mars To Sirius (2005) or The Way Of All Flesh (2008) as their magnum opuses, Gojira were able to craft an accessible yet heavy sound on Magma that was unlike any of their previous records. Quentin Singer, Forbes, 7 May 2021 Did Russian astronomer Kozyrev really sight a volcanic burst on the moon? Dan Q. Posin, Popular Mechanics, 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, 23 Oct. 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, 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, 3 May 2017 See More

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.

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

Learn More About sight

Time Traveler for sight

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near sight



sight board

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for sight

Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sight.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for sight


\ 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



Legal Definition of sight

: payable on presentation — see also sight draft at draft

More from Merriam-Webster on sight

Nglish: Translation of sight for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sight for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Color

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!