sight

1 of 3

noun

1
: something that is seen : spectacle
2
a
: 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
3
a
chiefly dialectal : a great number or quantity
b
: a good deal : lot
a far sight better
not by a damn sight
4
a
: 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
5
a
: the act of looking at or beholding
c
d
: an observation to determine direction or position (as by a navigator)
6
a
: 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
8
a
: 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

sight

2 of 3

verb

sighted; sighting; sights

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
4
a
: to equip with sights
b
: to adjust the sights of

intransitive verb

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

sight

3 of 3

adjective

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

Did you know?

Cite, Sight, and Site

As homophones—words that sound alike but are distinct— cite, sight, and site are easily confused, but they have different meanings, uses, and origins.

Cite is most often encountered in the sense of "to name in a citation"—that is, a line or short section taken from a piece of writing or a speech; it may also mean "to mention as an example" or "to order to appear in a court of law." Cite is from the Latin citare, "to rouse, call on, summon," source too of citation and recite.

Most of the senses of sight are concerned with 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"). Sight is also used in a number of fixed phrases, such as "out of sight, out of mind," "sight unseen," and "set one's sights on." Sight comes from Old English gesiht, meaning "the faculty or act of sight, thing seen."

Site is most often concerned with location; it is related to situate, "to locate," and situation, "relative position or combination of circumstances at a particular moment." A building site is the place where a building is, or will be, located. In contemporary English, site is frequently used as a shortened form of website, to refer to the location of a group of web pages. Site comes from Latin situs, meaning "place, position, site."

Associating citation with cite, eyesight with sight, and situate with site may be helpful in applying these correctly.

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
Houses stacked tight along a narrow road, the buildings go on for miles, no end to the concrete clusters in sight. Holly Jones, Variety, 20 Feb. 2024 The enjoyment lessened somewhat for older respondents whose sight and hearing had deteriorated. Terry Spencer, Fortune, 19 Feb. 2024 That will push the topic of Ukraine down the Congressional agenda and eventually out of sight. Andy J. Semotiuk, Forbes, 19 Feb. 2024 While Western civilian clothes have become a rare sight on Kabul’s streets, some residents were surprised to see the Taliban embrace military uniforms that bear striking similarities with those worn by their former enemies. Rick Noack, Washington Post, 19 Feb. 2024 Get The Recipe 35 of 47 Tuna Pasta Salad A light and bright take on pasta salad using spiraled rotini and lemon-herb vinaigrette, this summer favorite packs in the fresh veggies with no mayo in sight. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 16 Feb. 2024 His killing took place within sight of the Kremlin. Lauren Said-Moorhouse, CNN, 16 Feb. 2024 The previous leader, Boris Nemtsov, was gunned down within sight of the Kremlin in 2015. The Editors, National Review, 16 Feb. 2024 But without a plan in sight, the ladies prepare to embark upon the great unknown, piling into a van and hitting the road to promote their album and get back on top. Dory Jackson, Peoplemag, 15 Feb. 2024
Verb
Pop icon Taylor Swift spent much of the season cheering on the Chiefs — so the question now on many Kansas City minds is whether there be a Swift sighting at the parade to celebrate their Super Bowl victory? Noelle Alviz-Gransee, Kansas City Star, 13 Feb. 2024 The dangers of whale watching crowds During the orca sighting on Monday, Biagini said there were between 12 to 15 boats in the water around the pod all trying to catch the rare sighting. Natalie Kainz, NBC News, 21 Dec. 2023 Officials used videos shared on social media to identify the mom as Juno, a whale first sighted in 1986 in the southeastern U.S., according to the NOAA. Aliza Chasan, CBS News, 11 Jan. 2024 Since the December assessment, gear was removed from a live whale sighted off the Mexico coast, the state agency said. Linda Zavoral, The Mercury News, 11 Jan. 2024 The Washington County Sheriff’s Office was called to the school, located at Wilder Forest in May Township, on a possible mountain lion sighting around 8:15 a.m. Wednesday, said Cmdr. Mary Divine, Twin Cities, 10 Jan. 2024 Soon Bigfoot was being sighted all over the Northwest. Daniel T. Ksepka, Scientific American, 1 Dec. 2023 Kelce's last public sighting with Swift, 33, came after the Chiefs' 31-17 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Oct. 22 at Arrowhead Stadium. Natasha Dye, Peoplemag, 3 Nov. 2023 Not that details are non-negotiable—notched lapels and straight pockets are sighted on the studio’s in-progress garments. Eric Twardzik, Robb Report, 10 Jan. 2024
Adjective
In an earlier video shared on his Instagram Story, Cohen was baffled to discover a toy that shows flashcards with a sight word and photo for toddler daughter Lucy Eve, 20 months, also included a set of cards with car brands and their logos. Angela Andaloro, Peoplemag, 16 Jan. 2024 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 examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sight.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

First Known Use

Noun

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

Verb

1602, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Adjective

1801, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near sight

Cite this Entry

“Sight.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sight. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

sight

1 of 2 noun
1
: something that is seen : spectacle
2
a
: something that is worth seeing
showed us the sights of the city
b
: something that is peculiar, funny, or messy
you're a sight
3
: the process, power, or function of seeing
especially : the animal sense of which the sense organ is the eye and by which the position, shape, and color of objects are perceived
4
: the act of seeing
knows him by sight
faints at the sight of blood
5
: the perception of an object within the visual field
lost sight of the plane
6
: the space over which a person can see
a ship came into sight
7
: a device that aids the eye in aiming or in finding the direction of an object
8
plural : aspiration sense 3a, goal sense 2
set her sights on a career in law

sight

2 of 2 verb
1
: to get or catch sight of
several bears were sighted
2
: to look at through or as if through a sight

Medical Definition

sight

noun
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
3
a
: a perception of an object by the eye
b
: the range of vision

Legal Definition

sight

adjective
: payable on presentation see also sight draft at draft

More from Merriam-Webster on sight

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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