Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Eye shit

The other day I was speaking with a Chinese friend, who thought she might be getting sick, because when she woke up her eyes had been filled with "eye shit". She said it so matter-of-factly, as if that was the official name for the gunk that collects in one's eyes while sleeping.

Well, it turns out that in Chinese, it is!

It is written 眼屎 and pronounced yǎnshǐ - the translation given by MDBG.net is "gum in the eyes".

The first character 眼 is 'eyes' - that's easy'. And according to the same online dictionary, the translation for 屎 is 'excrement, shit, dung'.  So yes, "excrement from the eyes" is a more palatable translation.

But I definitely think that "eye shit" is the winner here today, folks.

PS. In English I call it "sleep in my eyes" - what do you call it?


  1. Leave it to the Chinese to call things for what they are :)
    In Dutch we call it "slaapzand" - "sleeping sand". From the tale about the sandman.

    1. Ah yes, that's ringing bells - the story of when you're sleeping the Sandman will come and leave sand in your eyes. Was it meant to help you dream, or something? Or was he just marking out his territory? :-)

  2. It seems that 屎 also means 'secretion (of the eye/ear/etc.)', according to Wenlin. Interesting :D

    1. Thanks Maximilian, yes it seems to have that 'type' of meaning - Wenlin probably makes a good call with the word 'secretion'. 'Eye shit' definitely remains my favourite :-)