We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is "Eye Candy"?

By Marco Sumayao
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

"Eye candy" is one of many idiomatic expressions in the English language used to refer to a visually-appealing person or object. The term is most commonly used to describe something that both catches and keeps an observer's attention with its attractiveness; eye candy is often ogled at more immediately and for longer periods than most relatively attractive objects. Although the term is usually meant as a compliment, many individuals also use the idiom as an insult to visually-pleasing objects with little to no substance.

The term "eye candy" is considered part of modern slang, although its origins are debatable. While some sources cite the first instance of the expression being used in 1984, others claim the original use was in 1978. Others believe it was a little-used derivative of the term "nose candy," which referred to cocaine and was first recorded in the 1930s. Regardless of the origin, "eye candy" grew in use steadily over the 1980s to early 2000s, eventually becoming part of modern colloquial English.

The expression alludes to the feeling people experience when eating candy — generally pleasant and often appetizing. People or objects considered to be "eye candy" evoke the same emotions in the aesthetic sense; their visual appeal is considered to be more stimulating than average. People who observe eye candy often report feeling happy, excited, and dazzled while at the same time wanting to see more.

Many people, however, use the association with candy to make derogatory remarks. Candy is a superficially-good food in that it has little to no nutritional value to go along with its pleasing flavor. In the same regard, "eye candy" is often used to refer to an attractive person or object that has few positive qualities outside of appearance. The expression can then be used, for example, to insult a model with a bland personality, or a technological device with a stylish design, but limited functionality.

Few businesses benefit from this negative idea of eye candy more than the entertainment industry. A movie may be criticized for being all spectacle with no substance, yet end up being more profitable than more critically-acclaimed films. Movies with over-the-top action scenes or extremely attractive people, for example, generally do better than dramas with average-looking actors. This is likely due to the fact that many individuals treat movies and television shows in the same way they treat candy — as something to stimulate the senses without need for additional benefits.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By recapitulate — On Dec 15, 2011

I won't see movies because of eye candy, but I have been known to watch a bad television show at least a few times because an actor I think is especially gorgeous is on it.

I think there's not real problem with eye candy so long as people can separate innocent attraction from infatuation; a lot of television, movies, and music these days seem to be devoted to showing us excessively pretty people all the time, without much more substance. I don't have a solution, except suggesting we all pay a little less attention to looking "perfect"; But I still don't think there is anything wrong with a little eye candy here and there, though.

By DentalFloss — On Dec 14, 2011

@widget2010- I see what you mean, but to me eye candy is an innocent term. It's suggesting someone is good looking and fun, without being over the top.

To me it can also describe people who are just acquaintance, or who you don't know at all, yet find attractive. It might feel weird to call your boyfriend's roommate handsome, but you could easily call him eye candy. That's my take anyway.

By widget2010 — On Dec 13, 2011

I have trouble with the term eye candy. It seems demeaning no matter what gender of person you are talking about, even though it sounds like a compliment to the person who says it. I don't just mean things like men making catcalls at women on the street, but even if a girl jokes that her boyfriend is good "eye candy". Maybe I just need to lighten up, but I don't think so.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.