What Does the Eyes Are the Window to the Soul Mean?

The Eyes Are the Window to the Soul Meaning

Definition: Looking into a person’s eyes can tell you what the person thinks and feels.

Origin of Eyes Are the Window to the Soul

The exact origin of this expression is unclear. Similar ideas appear in ancient Latin works and in the Bible.

Matthew 6: 22-23 says,

  • (22) The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy,[a] your whole body will be full of light. (23) But if your eyes are unhealthy,[b] your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

This is exactly the same as today’s expression, but it contains a similar sentiment. The first appearances in the current form are from the early 1800s.

Examples of Eyes Are the Window to the Soul

the eyes are the window to the soul Bible verse The dialogue below shows two women discussing a stranger one of them met.

Mila: I just met the most wonderful man! He’s such a kind, smart person.

Betty: Really? Where did you meet him?

Mila: I met him at the cafe around the corner.

Betty: Tell me more! What’s his name? What does he do for a living? What makes him so kind and so smart?

Mila: I don’t know yet!

Betty: What are you talking about?

Mila: I haven’t actually spoken to him. I just looked into his eyes and knew.

Betty: How could you know all that just from looking at him?

Mila: Eyes are the window to the soul. I just knew.

Betty: You’re ridiculous. Go talk to this guy.

the eyes are the window to your soulThis dialogue shows a couple of roommates arguing about the importance of eye contact.

John: Amanda, will you please look at me when we’re talking. You’re always putting your head down, or looking the other direction. I can’t see your face at all when you’re talking to me.

Amanda: So what? I’m busy. I have other things to do while we are talking.

John: There’s lots of reasons why you should make eye contact. First of all, it’s rude to not make any eye contact. It makes it seem like you don’t care what the person is saying.

Amanda: I care. I just am multitasking.

John: Secondly, eyes are the windows to the soul. If I can look into your eyes, it will help me understand what you are thinking, and communicate better with you.

Amanda: Ugh, fine.

More Examples

This excerpt is part of a movie review.

  • If the eyes are the window to the soul, then Oscar’s offer a view of a young man struggling to do better. –Denver Post

The second excerpt is also from a movie review.

  • The notion that eyes are the window to the soul has been attributed variously to Shakespeare, Cicero and Leonardo Da Vinci. Now the concept resurfaces in the fascinating low-tech sci-fi thriller I Origins. (***½ out of four; rated R; expanding nationwide Friday). –USA Today


The phrase eyes are the window to the soul is the idea that you can understand a person’s emotions and sometimes thoughts by looking into his or her eyes.