Today, I would like to talk about the proverb, "Out of sight, out of mind".  There seems to be confusions to some about its definition and usage.  I hope that you will get a better understanding of the proverb after reading this article.   I have also provided several references throughout my article to help you understand the usage of it.     


Out of sight, out of mind

(a) 眼不見為淨

(b) 沒看見就不記在心, 不見就忘了


(a) 眼不見為淨 


(1) 眼睛看不到的,也就認為是乾淨的了。通常是懷疑食物不潔時的自我安慰之詞。,+out+of+mind.html


Out of sight, out of mind is used to suggest that someone will not think or worry about something if it isn't directly visible or available to them.,+out+of+mind

Not able to be seen and so not thought about


For example:

When we dine out, we do not think of how the dishes are prepared.  It may be prepared in a filthy kitchen.  It is out of sight, out of mind only if we get food poisoning.   





If you don’t see it, you don’t have to think about it, worry about it or deal with it.


看不見, 不用面對, 不用煩心, 不用憂慮, 不用生氣. 不用


For example:

A lot of us take the attitude of out of sight, out of mind when dealing with things that we do not want to think about, worry about or deal with.  It is an easy way out.  We turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to global warming, the homeless people, human right injustice in China, and etc.         


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Out of sight, out of mind:

We don't want to suffer through the mayhem playing out in the news, so we change the channel; we don't want to be troubled by that homeless soul begging at the street light, so we change lanes; or we don't want to deal with that someone who triggers in us certain inconvenient emotions, so, no matter how dear or close to us, we shut down and leave them hanging.  Eyes don’t see heart that doesn’t feel.  It's an easier way around life.  Oh but what a blatant act of indifference.


From Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS care

Out of Sight, Out of Mind: The Impact of 9/11 on HIV-Positive Persons


From America’s Defense Monitor

Military Nuclear Mess: Out of Sight, Out of Mind?

Also, there's not a lot of emphasis placed on fixing things that don't appear to be broken among the average taxpayers. Out of sight, out of mind - until your car gets swallowed by a water main break caused sink hole.



(b) 沒看見就不記在心, 不見就忘了,+out+of+mind

If you do not see someone or something frequently, you will forget about it

Not able to be seen and so not thought about


For example:

A lot of time, friends are out of sight, out of mind.  It is hard to maintain friendship if you don’t see one another often.


Subordinates working from home are sometimes out of sight, out of mind to their boss.  It is easy for the workers to wander off doing things non work related during work hours.  It is also easy for the boss to forget about those subordinates that work from home when it comes to recognition.     


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