What is a good word to describe watery eyes?


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Before someone cries, their eyes often appear watery. Is there a good name for that effect?

This was my attempt to describe it so far:

“My eyes become ________ [glossy] as I hold back my tears.”

Is there a better word to be used in place of glossy? The whole “eyes become glossy” part can be reworded to suit the new word.

single-word-requests

edited Nov 2, 2018 at 10:32

alwayslearning

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asked Nov 2, 2018 at 9:56

NathanNathan

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Although it may not seem to be the most logical answer, the standard phrase is “to mist over”.

From Oxford Learners’ Dictionary:

[intransitive, transitive] if your eyes mist or something mists them, they fill with tears mist (over/up) Her eyes misted over as she listened to the speech. Her eyes misted over with tears.

https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/mist_2

answered Nov 2, 2018 at 10:27

chasly – supports Monicachasly – supports Monica

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I have seen moist used often in this context.

“My eyes become moist as I hold back my tears.”

ODO:

moist
ADJECTIVE

1.1 (of the eyes) wet with tears.

‘her brother’s eyes became moist’

Another word used often in this context is (quite literally as used in the question itself), watery.

“My eyes become watery as I hold back my tears.”

ODO:

watery

ADJECTIVE

1.1(of a person’s eyes) full of tears.

‘My eyes were a bit watery, something that happens after anyone shouts at me.’

With some rearrangement of words, you can also use the verb well.

“My eyes welled with tears as I tried to hold them back.”

ODO:

well. VERB

[oftenwell up]

1 [no object, with adverbial(of a liquid)] rise up to the surface and spill or be about to spill.

‘tears were beginning to well up in her eyes’

‘His eyes welled with tears as they rushed down his cheeks like waterfall.

edited Nov 2, 2018 at 12:29

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answered Nov 2, 2018 at 10:31

alwayslearningalwayslearning

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Two common ways is to say one’s eyes or tears “well up”

verb
often well up
1. no object, with adverbial (of a liquid) rise up to the surface and spill or be about to spill.
‘tears were beginning to well up in her eyes’
Oxford Living Dictionaries

v. To rise to the edge of a container, ready to flow:
Lava welled up in the crater.
Tears welled up in my eyes, but I did not cry.
I could feel anger well up in me.
The American Heritage Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs

well up
(from something) and well up (out of something) [for a liquid] to gush or pour up and away from something.
Tears welled up out of the baby’s eyes.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs

According to Google NGram Viewer, the terms “eyes welled up” and “tears welled up” have become quite popular over the recent years.

“eyes welled up” and “tears welled up” Google NGram chart. You can also compare these terms with other alternatives.

“My eyes welled up as I held back my tears.”

edited Nov 2, 2018 at 12:12

answered Nov 2, 2018 at 12:04

ZebrafishZebrafish

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Misty EyesDefinition of misty-eyed 1 : having tearful eyes

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misty-eyed

answered Nov 2, 2018 at 10:45

Uhtred RagnarssonUhtred Ragnarsson

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3

You could use “glisten” in this context (although you might want to reconstruct the sentence in that case), something like:

My eyes glisten as I hold back my tears

answered Nov 2, 2018 at 12:39

microenzomicroenzo

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Teary may be further along in the process than you mean, but conversationally I have heard it used to mean ‘beginning to cry’ and ‘already crying.’

e.g. She looked up with teary eyes.

Merriam Webster

answered Nov 3, 2018 at 4:52

rightbracerightbrace

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