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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"airplane flight which deprives travelers of sleep," 1968, from the red eyes of sleeplessness; earlier as a noun meaning "raw and inferior whiskey" (1819, American English).


a. (context informal English) overnight: said of airplane flights. n. 1 (context informal English) An overnight airplane flight. 2 The rudd. 3 The redfish 4 (context US dialect English) The goggle-eye, the fresh-water rock bass.


v. travel on an overnight flight; "The candidate red-eyed from California to the East Coast the night before the election to give a last stump speech"

Usage examples of "red-eye".

By the time the party ended, Gordy Kravitz was on the red-eye flight from Los Angeles, where he had that day successfully concluded a hard-fought palimony suit.

This monad was once supposed to be a single animal, but the microscope shows it to be a group of animals connected by means of six processes, and each little growing volvox exhibits his red-eye speck and two long spines, or horns.

To the aliens what he said must have been a ghastly hodgepodge of gibberish but he was able to transmit his command to the general-something about a Day in May, the Alma Mater and a Donnybrook, red-eye cement mixers, a 'beef trust' and the sheenies-all of which was decipherable as: no Terran engagement in the battle between Arkon robots, Mounders and Springers except in case of catastrophe.

Chase, entered the dining room of the now comfortable but entirely resplendent house at Sixth and E to be greeted by his daughter Kate, both comfortable and resplendent in morning robe, as she presided over a vast breakfast of buttermilk cakes and honey, of two kinds of Virginia sausage, and hominy grits with red-eye gravy, a rebel dish to which he was addicted, and Kate not.

Red-eyes were larger, sidewinders were faster—at least, that was the theory.

It was hoped the red-eyes and sidewinders would be attracted to their heat.

Red-eyes and sidewinders burst like coveys of incandescent birds from beneath the wings of the buzz bombs, trailing red or blue or green fire, accelerated at a frightening rate, screaming in bloodthirsty joy as they suicidally dived into the bonfire wagons or chased skyrockets or, all too often, were not fooled and raced along a few meters above the ground to spread liquid fire over the pock-marked landscape.

Red-eyes and sidewinders hung in clusters, squirming eagerly in the high wind.