I’d like to verify a claim found on several platforms, with regards to sexual innuendo in the movie "The Goonies".

The website states the following:

The boys are looking for the treasure of One-Eyed Willie. “One-Eyed Willie” is a name for a penis. The fact they are looking for his treasure indicates they seek a positive relationship with their penis, which has been conditioned to be surrounded in shame and confusion.

This claim seems to be supported by other unofficial sources, like Urban Dictionary (where anyone can add a random definition of a word), Reddit (another random claim) and many others. This is a list published on Quora and here there is an extensive research on the term "willy" but only a single mention of "one-eyed willy", which does not cite any source whatsoever.

I'm not a native speaker, so I can only check the usage of this expression based on the English corpus. This is the result from Ngram:

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Using english-corpora.org resulted in barely 50+ mentions of "one-eyed willy" and none seems to be used as a reference for penis.

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Is this a made up definition or is there any truth to the sexual innuendo?

  • 2
    There's one-eyed trouser snake dating back to 1970s, and "willy" as a slang term seems to date to 1900s at the latest. Even if "one-eyed willy" weren't a coined phrase as such, it would still probably elicit some giggles. Jan 8 at 9:42
  • 2
    As a native English English-speaker I'd have immediately understood this as a double-entendre there only as a joke, but without any deeper meaning. Not putting this as an answer because its OR. Jan 8 at 11:42

1 Answer 1


The earliest references I see for the exact term "One Eyed Willy" meaning penis are from 1996:

According to Do We Really Know what Love Is? A Guide for Improving Love Relationships (1996):

Here below are some words males and females use for their vagina and penis...One-Eyed-Willy

See also Just Before Midnight (1996)

Men's brains are in their pants! And One-Eyed Willy does all the thinking

However, prior to the movie, multiple expressions beginning with "one-eyed" were known to mean "penis":

"one eyed trouser snake" Folklore in Situ (1972)

"one-eyed trouser worm" Take Me Home: The Rise of Country and Western Music (1974)

"winking one-eyed snake" Canadian Drama (1980)

"One-eyed Dick" and "Old One-eye" Hellenes and Hellions Modern Greek Characters in American Literature (1981)

"one eyed worm" Gender The Myth of Equality (1981)

"one-eyed monster" Hanoi Hellground (1985)

Furthermore, for over 100 years, "willy" itself has meant penis. See the English Dialect Dictionary (1905).

  • 5
    Note that The Goonies came out in 1985. It is entirely possible that these terms came about as a direct result of the movie. Jan 8 at 9:08
  • @JeanCharles I agree with you. I can't find any reference BEFORE the movie came out. Without it, I guess the whole innuendo-thing becomes unsourced. Jan 8 at 10:09
  • 3
    You might also want to comment on the history of using "willy" to meam penis.
    – TimRias
    Jan 8 at 13:25
  • 1
    @DavePhD I guess the mystery is solved. Thank you all for your help. Jan 8 at 13:57
  • 1
    The word "willy" has meant penis in British English for much longer than that though.
    – Simd
    Jan 19 at 11:04

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