Egg on my/your face

I have started hearing the idiom, “egg on my [your] face” more and more often. I never really knew what it meant, but this morning I did a quick search on it to find the meaning and possible origin of the phrase.

I did find my answer. As for the meaning or implication:

It often implies that you have made a serious mistake, but more strictly it indicates that something you have done (or some turn of events) has left you looking extremely embarrassed or foolish.

About the phrase’s history, the World Wide Words website, a site that traces word/phrase origins mentions a few possible roots:

It feels like one of those expressions that have been around for ever, but the evidence suggest that it’s an American expression from the middle of last century (its first known appearance was in an American television series about 1951). It’s possible, though, that it is somewhat older, though I haven’t been able to find it in my large collection of out-of-copyright e-texts, which suggests it is more recent than the 1920s.

I know of two possibilities for where it came from. My assumption to start with was that it was a comment on a minor social gaffe at a meal, when poor manners or sloppy eating left egg around your mouth. The late John Ciardi, however, suggested an origin in the lower and more rowdy kind of theatrical performance, in which an incompetent actor would have been pelted with eggs and forced off the stage.

The full origin can be found at the link above.

Also, if you recall the theme song of Frasier, there’s a part where he sings about scrambled eggs being all over his face…so, I always find origins like this interesting.

Advertisements