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The word ‘cockeyed’ has several connotations1: it can apply to physical structure or to an idea or logic. Its several meanings include foolish, ridiculous, absurd, askew, crooked, intoxicated, derisory, laughable, nonsensical, preposterous, ridiculous or drunk among others. As a lay medical term, it is used to describe an individual with cross-eyes or a squint. A nursing student once wrote down a message received over the phone from a microbiology laboratory, pertaining to an eye swab, thus: ‘Gram-positive cock eye grown.’ She was obviously more familiar with the term ‘cockeyed’ than ‘cocci.’
If ‘cockeyed’ pertains to two eyes that are not aligned, what happens when one is endowed with a hundred eyes or more, not all of which are looking the same …
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.