What Does In My Mind’s Eye Mean?

In My Mind’s Eye Meaning

Definition: In one’s mental vision or imagination.

Origin of In My Mind’s Eye

People see with their eyes, but it is also possible to picture the way something looks with one’s eyes closed. For example, if I mention Technicolor elephants, most people will have a brightly colored pachyderm spring into their mind, despite not being able to see it physically.

The idea of one’s imagination, or ability to see something from memory or mental creation, as a mind’s eye goes back to at least the 1300s. The author Geoffrey Chaucer referred to it in his work titled The Man of Law’s Tale.

  • It were with thilke eyen of his mynde, With whiche men seen, after that they been blynde.

the mind’s eye However, the first recorded written use of mind’s eye was in the year 1577. Perhaps more importantly, the famous English playwright William Shakespeare used it in his play Hamlet, from the year 1602.

HAMLET:

Thrift, thrift, Horatio! the funeral baked meats

Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.

Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven

Or ever I had seen that day, Horatio!

My father! – methinks I see my father.

HORATIO:

Where, my lord?

HAMLET:

In my mind’s eye, Horatio.

This helped popularize the expression, as Shakespeare is arguably the most famous English author, and Hamlet is one of his most famous plays.

Examples of In My Mind’s Eye

eye of minds In the following example, two friends are discussing their future goals.

Kerry: What do you hope to be doing in five years?

Christine: Well, I really hope to be doing medical research. I have a plan on how to reach this goal, and I can see myself accomplishing it in my mind’s eye. Now all I have to do is get to work on actually doing it!

In this dialogue, two friends are discussing whether or not to go to a party.

Arlena: Hey! I’m going to a party next weekend. Would you like to join me?

Nyima: It sounds fun, but will Aria be there?

Arlena: She might be. Why?

Nyima: I’m trying to avoid her. She always tries to start political arguments with me.

Arlena: Are you sure? This time might be different.

Nyima: Maybe. But I’m picturing now in my mind’s eye, and I feel like it probably will happen.

More Examples

The example below is from an article about opioid addiction.

  • In her mind’s eye, her mother stumbles, dances and stumbles again. Mom is both happy and tragic, a caring mother who made sure her daughter’s clothes were perfect yet also took her 5-year-old to the worst places to score heroin. –OC Register

This excerpt is from an article about a baseball shortstop.

  • “In my mind’s eye, when he’s there and Javy’s at second, it’s difficult to beat.” –Chicago Tribune

Summary

The phrase in my mind’s eye means in my imagination.

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