Pointy eyes

What's that you say? You want posts about words, not about feelings? Oh, I weep for you cold-hearted lexiphiles, but here is a word: gimlet-eyed. I finished William Gibson's Pattern Recognition a few days ago, and it contained this passage, from the main character's point of view:

  • "He looks somewhat gimlet-eyed now, though maybe she's misreading some Chinese-American nerd thing, an unabashed intensity of focus."

As an adjective, the American Heritage Dictionary defines gimlet as:

  • Having a penetrating or piercing quality: gimlet eyes.

That derives  from the first definition of gimlet as a noun (with picture from Answers.com, where I get the AHD definitions):

  • A small hand tool having a spiraled shank, a screw tip, and a cross handle and used for boring holes.

A gimlet is also a drink:

  • A cocktail made with vodka or gin, sweetened lime juice, and sometimes effervescent water and garnished with a slice of lime.

The AHD etymology for gimlet:

  • Middle English, from Anglo-Norman guimbelet, perhaps from Middle Dutch wimmelkijn, diminutive of wimmel, meaning auger.