1. Stammis

    Stammis Senior Member

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    A word for looking without moving the head

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Stammis, Jun 6, 2016.

    Is there a good word for describing when someone looks around only with their eyes? I've been using 'his eyes flickered' but I think that means he blinks rapidly

    Perhaps: 'His eyes went between the sign and the man standing next to it' works better?
     
  2. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Writing is a form of Sadomasochism. :P Contributor

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    I would like Glanced, for 200 Alex?:superlaugh:

    Pat I would like to solve the puzzle: He gazed from one end of the room as he examined each nook and cranny with his eyes.:supergrin:

    Pat: "That's it, unfortunately you don't win a new car." (wah wah):superfrown:

    Shifting gaze would work, or darting. (shrugs)
     
  3. BayView

    BayView Contributor Contributor

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    I don't think "went" is doing you any favours - it's pretty vague, and if someone tries to pull more meaning from it they could get a sort of weird image of his eyes actually jumping around the room, like mobile eyeballs!

    This may be a time when more than one word is your best bet. That's especially the case if this is something you think is worth emphasizing. You could try something like:

    He kept his face pointed toward the beautiful view he was supposed to be admiring but allowed his gaze to roam, taking in all the relevant details within his field of vision. No visible weapons, but lots of hiding places where they might be stashed. No doors other than the one behind him--that was good, at least. etc.​

    or if all you're looking at is something as simple as the example you gave, I think you'd be fine with "His gaze cut between the sign and the man standing next to it." Instead of "cut" you could consider "darted", or, yeah, if you say "gaze" instead of "eyes" I think flickered would be fine.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2016
  4. SethLoki

    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    Someone beat me to darted. Errr: snuck a look, scoped, scanned ?
     
  5. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributor Contributor

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    If I understand what you're looking for, I'd say it's a sidelong glance. I'm not sure there's a one-word replacement for that.
     
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  6. izzybot

    izzybot Oportet Vivere Contributor

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    I use 'flicked' a lot (too much probably), eg "His eyes flicked between the sign and the man standing beside it". 'Cut' and 'darted' are good options too. You can also restructure and say something like "He glanced between the sign and the man standing beside it without moving his head", or use a word like 'surreptitiously' or 'slyly' to imply the lack of movement ("He looked between blahblahblah surreptitiously") if sneakiness is the case.
     
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  7. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributor Contributor

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    From another point of view, getting that detailed about what he's looking at, when he's looking at each thing, etc. might be considered too much. Rather, put in a succinct description of each item and then go straight to the character's reaction to these things. His actually looking at them is implied by the fact that he's reacting to them.
     
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  8. SethLoki

    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    A furtive flick if ever there was one...
     
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  9. Seraph751

    Seraph751 If I fell down the rabbit hole... Contributor

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    Tracked
    Observed
    Noted
    Studied
    Gazed
     
  10. Laze

    Laze Active Member

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    Depends on the context. Are they being sneaky? Are they socially anxious and don't want to draw attention by moving their face towards what they want to look at? To me it sounds like you're writing a character who is mindful and quiet, and doesn't want to be noticed by anyone. If that's the case then I'd just simply write it as it is: Without moving his head he flicked his eyes between the sign and the man standing next to it. I mean that seems fine to me?
     
  11. joeh1234

    joeh1234 Active Member

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  12. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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  13. mashers

    mashers Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I recently used 'swivelled' to describe how a character moved his eyes without moving his head. I also, however, wrote specifically that the character did not move his head.
     
  14. taariya

    taariya Member

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    Use any of the words used above (properly), but one word of advice is that for words that imply some kind of movement/action (i.e. darted, tracked, flicked) use the word "gaze" not "eyes" because otherwise it creates a wrong image. For example, when someone says "His eyes darted around the room" what they really mean is that he's looking quickly around the room, but what I envision is eyes popping out of their sockets racing back and forth. A better alternative is "His gaze darted around the room" or "He quickly scanned the room".
     
  15. Stammis

    Stammis Senior Member

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    I went with; dart, flicked and shifted.

    Quick glance is also good.

    I use 'his eye drifted' too when they move slowly

    Thx everyone!
     
  16. mrieder79

    mrieder79 Probably not a ground squirrel

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    His gaze alternated between the sign and the man standing next to it.
     
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