twinkle in his eye/eyes

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taked4700

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Hi,

I just came across a sentence: "There was an amused twinkle in Santa's eyes."

Is this idiomatic? I guess it should be 'eye', not 'eyes'.

Thanks in advance.
 

MikeNewYork

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Hi,

I just came across a sentence: "There was an amused twinkle in Santa's eyes."

Is this idiomatic? I guess it should be 'eye', not 'eyes'.

Thanks in advance.

Why one eye and not both?
 

MikeNewYork

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Because if you a twinkle in both eyes, you could be on the verge of crying, which isn't what the idiom is trying to imply.

I think "amused" pretty much discards that possibility.
 

Tdol

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In BrE, I generally hear eye, but the plural sounds OK too.
 

BobK

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I have to say the the whole twinkle in his eye makes me a bit dubious about trusting this Santa with my kids. ;-)

b
PS Explanation: there is an idiom meaning 'before you were born': '..when you were no more than a twinkle in your father's eye'.
 

emsr2d2

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I would say:

- There's a twinkle in his eye!
- He has twinkly eyes.
- He's a twinkly-eyed young man.

I feel a difference depending on whether we use the singular or the plural. Using the plural literally describes the appearance of the eyes. "To have a twinkle in your eye" usually suggests that you're looking a bit cheeky, like you might have some naughtiness in mind.
 

BobK

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...
... "To have a twinkle in your eye" usually suggests that you're looking a bit cheeky, like you might have some naughtiness in mind.
And if an elderly man might have some naughtiness in mind, the appropriate idiom would be 'he still has lead in his pencil'. ;-)

b
PS This idiom should be usd with care. :oops:
 
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