Maybe if you were a baby monkey, a tarsier, a baby owl, or a Gecko your eyes might be bigger than your stomach. As with most idioms“Eyes bigger than your stomach”does not have literal meaning when we use it.
This idiom had been around for about 200 years and is often use figuratively when talking about someone or something who desires something (like) food but it is more than they thought it would be or too much for them to handle.
One of the earliest mentions of this idiom: I’m afraid that our eyes are bigger than our stomachs, and that we have more curiosity than comprehension. We try to embrace everything but succeed only in grasping the wind. ~ Michel de Montaigne: On Cannibals (1580)
Most commonly, we use this to describe a situation where someone takes more food or had more food on their plate than they can eat in one meal.
Example of “Eyes Bigger than Your Stomach”.
- I was starving when I ordered this food, now I am stuffed and I won’t be able to eat it all. I think my eyes were bigger than my stomach.
- You have taken on too many clients and I don’t think you will have time for them. I know you need the money, but I think your eyes were bigger than your stomach.
Johnny: Mom can I have some more chicken and French fries?
Mom: Johnny, you have already eaten 3 pieces of chicken and a lot of fries already.
Johnny: But I am still hungry! I will eat it all it, I promise!
Mom: Ok, here is a leg and a thigh and a handful of fries.
Johnny: Thanks Mom! You’re the best!
Mom (about 20 minutes later): Johnny! There is still one piece of chicken and fries left on your plate. Next time you will have to wait and let your stomach settle. Your eyes are sometimes too big for your stomach!
Other words you can create: noun, verb, adjective, adverb, etc (ex: mug – mugger)
eat to excess
shovel it in
I can’t finish it all, my eyes were bigger than my stomach.
I took too much, I think my eyes are bigger than my stomach.
I couldn’t eat another bite, my eyes are bigger than my stomach.
You need to clean your plate, you took all those French fries and you say you are full?! Your eyes are always bigger than your stomach.
Related phrasal verbs:
Polish (something) Off- This is a phrasal verb used to describe someone consuming food quickly
- I was starved after not eating lunch, I polished off a whole extra-large pizza myself.
Pack Away- this refers to a person who can eat a lot of food.
- It is amazing that she is so thin, she is always packing away food and never gets fat!
Force (food) down- to force a person or yourself to eat or drink something you/they may not want because of being full.
- I really had to force that last bite of pie down. I think my eyes were bigger than my stomach.
Work up an appetite- do activity that causes a person to become very hungry.
- I know you have really worked up an appetite, but make sure you eyes are not bigger than your stomach. I don’t want the food wasted!
Put away- this has a similar meaning to the phrasal verbs polish off and pack away. It describes some who can or does eat/drink a lot.
- I have never seen anyone put away that many beers in 10 minutes!
Sweet Tooth- this describes someone who really likes sweet or sugary foods and usual has a hard time resisting them or describes someone who eats to much sweet foods.
Pig Out- this describes a person who eats a lot of food in a short period of time.
Eat like a horse / Eat a horse- someone might say this to indicate they are very hungry and/or that they have a large appetite.
Scarf Down- this idiom describes a person who consumes food and/or drinks in a large quantity and in a hurry. Often times people will scarf down food when they do not have a lot of time to eat and are very hungry.
Wolf Down- this idiom is similar to scarf down and pig out. We often use this to describe some (or ourselves) who hurriedly eat our meals because we are short on time to sit and eat at a normal pace.
Synonyms (other ways to say):
Eyes bigger than your belly.