Etymology
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black eye (n.)

"discoloration around the eye from injury" c. 1600, from black (adj.) + eye (n.). The figurative sense of "injury to pride, rebuff" is by 1744; that of "bad reputation" is from 1880s.

In reference to dark eyes, often as a mark of beauty, from 1660s. Black-eyed is from 1590s in reference to women, from 1728 in reference to peas. The black-eyed Susan as a flower name (various species) is by 1881, for their appearance. It also was the title of a poem by John Gay (1685-1732), which led to a popular mid-19c. British stage play of the same name.

All in the Downs the fleet was moored,
  The streamers waving in the wind,
When black-eyed Susan came aboard,
  "Oh! where shall I my true love find?
Tell me, ye jovial sailors, tell me true,
If my sweet William sails among the crew?"
[etc.]

updated on October 13, 2022

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