Hairy eyeball is a slang term that means a narrow glance with partially lowered eyelashes usually indicating suspicion or hostility. In some contexts, it can also be used for a flirtatious look.
The expression appeared in print in 1961 in an interview with the American actress and comedian Carol Burnett. She told a story about her sister, talking about a boy giving her the “hairy eyeball” in the sense, that he liked her.
However, two years later The New York Times Magazine claimed that to give a hairy eyeball “means that somebody was disapproving”.
The term gained popularity and started to spread widely in the everyday spoken language during the 1990s in the U.S. and skyrocketed from 2000 to 2013 but is still commonly used.
The first post of “Hairy eyeball” was published on Urban Dictionary in 2003.
“Wear a mask […] . Or better yet, stay home so I don’t have to give you the hairy eyeball on the street.” posted by @WeHearPodcast on Twitter in August 10, 2021.