What Does Blind as a Bat Mean?

As Blind as a Bat Meaning

Definition: Unable to see well or unable to notice something obvious.

To be blind as a bat is to have bad vision. Someone who is legally blind or wears very thick prescription glasses may describe himself as blind as a bat without his glasses.

In a more figurative sense, this phrase can mean unable to notice something, but not literally vision-impaired. A person who has lost his car keys and spent 10 minutes searching his house for them only to find them sitting on the kitchen counter may describe himself as blind as a bat because he missed seeing the keys earlier, even though they were in an obvious place.

Origin of Blind as a Bat

bats blindAlthough they typically have poor eyesight, bats are not blind. Hundreds of years ago, though, people believed bats were blind because of their zigzagging flight patterns. (We now know their flight patterns are because of echolocation.)

Examples of Blind as a Bat

In addition to a describing a person with poor eyesight, blind as a bat can also describe a situation in which people cannot see well. When entering a cave, a person might say, “I am as blind as a bat in here” to describe the dark conditions of the cave.

the expression blind as a batThis phrase can also refer to behaviors that people should notice or behaviors people are not willing to recognize.

For example, if a person is typically rude to his co-workers, but gets a promotion anyway, one of his coworkers may say, “our boss is blind as a bat as to how his behavior affects our team.”

In another situation, parents might be told, “you are blind as a bat to the appalling behavior of your son.”

More Examples

  • I suffer from a medical condition that top ophthalmologists refer to as “blindas a bat.” –Chicago Tribune
  • For anybody to listen to Feinstein as she condemns the CIA for “torture,” you would have to be as blind as a bat and totally forgetful as the terrorists flew planes into buildings and killed innocent people for the sake of their cause. –Houston Chronicle

Summary

The English phrase to be as blind as a bat is to be unable or unwilling to see.