Egg on


      • to embarrass or shame
        To experience humiliation or embarrassment due to one's own actions or words, often in a public setting or in front of others. Can also be used to describe someone else's embarrassment that is witnessed by others.

      • to provoke or instigate
        To deliberately stir up or incite a reaction or response from someone, often with the intention of causing trouble or conflict. Can also refer to encouraging or urging someone to take a particular action, usually with negative consequences.

    Examples of Egg on

    • The hecklers' taunts egged on the comedian to deliver even more risqué material.

      In this example, "egg on" is used in a figurative sense to mean that the hecklers' taunts encouraged or provoked the comedian to do something impulsive or daring. Just as throwing an egg can provoke a response (yelling or throwing things back), the hecklers' taunts had a similar effect on the comedian. It urged the comedian to escalate the situation by delivering more edgy material.

    • The boss's constant criticism egged on the employee to resign.

      In this example, "egg on" is used in a negative context. It implies that the boss's harsh criticism pushed the employee over the edge, causing them to make a drastic decision. The use of the idiom represents the futility of the boss's critical behaviour and how it led to an adverse outcome.

    • The sales team's high-pressure tactics egged on the company to offer a hefty bonus to win that major contract.

      In this example, "egg on" is used in a commercial context to mean that the sales team's tactics applied pressure on the company to respond in a certain way. Just as throwing an egg at someone can provoke an action, the sales team's tactics caused the company to act impulsively by offering an attractive bonus to win the contract.

    • The child's bad behavior continued to egg on the parents until they grounded her for two weeks.

      In this example, "egg on" is used in a parent-child context. It highlights how a repeated negative action prompts a reaction. The child's persistent misbehaviour pushed the parents to a drastic step, grounding her for two weeks. Just as continuing to throw an egg can result in an adverse consequence, the child's behaviour elicited punishment from her parents.

    • The rival team's fans egged on their players as they scored the winning goal, causing a chaotic celebration.

      In this example, "egged on" is used as a phrasal verb, meaning to encourage or provoke someone into doing something. The fans' enthusiasm and cheers acted as a catalyst for their team's success, driving them to score the winning goal.

    • The teacher accused the student of cheating and egged him on to explain himself.

      In this example, "egged him on" implies that the teacher intentionally goaded or provoked the student into responding, likely to clarify or defend his actions. The teacher's actions could be viewed as deliberate because of the connotations associated with the use of "egged on."

    • The mother egged her child on to take the first step on her own, encouraging her to gain independence.

      In this example, "egged her child on" denotes the mother's efforts to motivate her child to be more self-reliant. The phrase could be interpreted as a way of instilling confidence and independence in the child, encouraging her to take that crucial first step.

    • The fearless leader egged the army on to charge at the enemy, despite the overwhelming odds against them.

      In this example, "egged the army on" implies that the leader inspired the troops to follow her into battle, despite the apparent challenges and disadvantages. This phrase could be seen as an expression of leadership and bravery, as the leader encouraged the soldiers to act with conviction and courage.


    The idiom "egg on face" is used to describe situations where someone experiences embarrassment or shame, usually as a result of their own actions or words. It can also refer to deliberately provoking or instigating a reaction from someone, often with the intention of causing trouble or conflict.

    Origin of "Egg on"

    The origin of this idiom is uncertain, but it is believed to have originated from the ancient Roman custom of throwing eggs at actors who performed poorly on stage. This was seen as a form of ridicule and embarrassment, and the phrase "having egg on your face" came to be associated with feeling humiliated or ashamed.

    In modern usage, the idiom is often associated with the act of eating messy foods, such as eggs, which can leave residue on one's face if not properly cleaned up. This physical imagery adds to the sense of embarrassment and humiliation conveyed by the idiom.

    Overall, the idiom "egg on face" has evolved to convey a sense of embarrassment, shame, or provocation, and is used in various contexts to describe these emotions.