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"Egg on your face"

Posted by ESC on June 24, 2000

In Reply to: "Egg on your face" posted by amy on June 20, 2000

: Where does the phrase "egg on your face" come from?

EGG ON ONE'S FACE -- "Random House Dictionary of American Slang, Vol. 1, A-G" by J.E. Lighter (Random House, New York, 1994): "have egg on (one's) face -- to look foolish or be embarrassed. Now colloq. 1951-53 'Front Page Detective (syndic. TV series): I can see egg all over my face..."

Another source says the phrase is "newer" than the 50s. From The Dictionary of Cliches by James Rogers (Ballatine Books, New York, 1985): "to have egg on your face - To be embarrassed or chagrined at something one has done or the way one did it; to do something ineptly. The expression originated in the United States some 25 years ago, probably from the fact that someone eating an egg sloppily is likely to wind up with some of it on his face and therefore not looking his best. By 1972 the saying had been picked up in England, as Lord Chalfont reflected in 'The Times' of London: 'There is something reassuringly changeless about the capacity of the highest military authorities for getting egg on their face."

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