- a popular simile for anything valuable. Probably a corruption of the _Italian_, GIOJE; _French_, JOAILLE, a jewel. In ancient times, when a king was short of cash, he generally issued orders for so many JEWS’ EYES, or equivalent sums of money. The Jews preferred paying the ransom, although often very heavy. It is notorious that in this country the order often went forth to draw Jews’ teeth in the event of their refusing to contribute so much to the Exchequer. A probable idea is, that as a Jew’s teeth brought in so much money, the value of a JEW’S EYE must be something fabulous. Possibly, also, from the _lex talionis_ so strongly believed in by Jews,—an eye for an eye, and nothing less. The term is used by Shakspeare.
More About jew’s eyePosition in the dictionary: 1809 of 4022 slang words.
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