Eyes are Windows to the Soul - Meaning, Origin and Usage

Did you just hear the expression, "the eyes are windows to the soul?" What does it mean? Does it have a religious meaning, or is it a secular saying? This post unpacks the origin and meaning of this idiomatic expression.


The "eyes are windows to the soul" is an old proverb suggesting that the eyes are the windows into how you feel or what you are thinking. When we talk to people, we use body language to emphasize points.

When congruent in your thoughts and speech, you'll come across as natural to the other person. However, if you're hiding something, your body language won't match what you're saying, causing the person to become suspicious of you.

The eyes produce micro-expressions that give away the intent behind what you're saying. We're intuitively programmed to notice this micro-expressions, and it's how we develop a feeling that the person is misleading us or lying to us.

Example Usage

"The eyes are windows to the soul. A person will always give away their true feelings if you watch their facial expressions."

"She told me she didn't cheat on me, but the eyes are windows to the soul, and I could tell she was lying."

"The eyes are window to the soul. I can tell there is something you're not telling me."

"Why are you being coy? The eyes are window to the soul, and somethings not right with what you're saying."


The origin of this idiomatic phrase comes from the works of William Shakespeare, where the author once said the following.

"The Eyes are the window to your soul, or was it just an all an illusion, his version of what was, is or could be, conception of a thought brought into reality by the wandering of the ever-restless mind of William."

The phrase also has a root in the days of the Roman Empire, where the philosopher, Cicero, said, "The face is a picture of the mind as the eyes are its interpreter."

If we go back further, the phrase also has a similar root to the biblical passage in Matthew 6: 22-23, which reads, "If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!"

The phrase would enter the modern language in its existing format in the early 1800s, where it became popular in literary works.

Phrases Similar to Eyes are Windows to the Soul

  • The truth always comes out.
  • You can run, but you can't hide.

Phrases Opposite to Eyes are Windows to the Soul

  • Soulless stare.
  • Blank expression.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Eyes are windows to the soul.
  • The eyes are the window to the soul.

Ways People May Say Eyes are Windows to the Soul Incorrectly

Some people may use the phrase when talking about animals. Since animals do not have a soul, this would be the incorrect use of the term. Some people may also use the phrase in a spiritual manner, but that is not the correct use of the saying. The expression implies that the movements around the eyes will eventually give away the truth.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Eyes are Windows to the Soul

You can use "eyes are the window to the soul" when you're trying to impress on someone that their facial micro-expressions will give away the truth and their intentions. Most people are unable to control their micro-expressions, and small movements in the eyes give away what they really think if you understand how to read them.

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