What Does Cause Raised Eyebrows Mean?

Raised Eyebrows Meaning

Definition: To cause people to be suspicious, worried, or surprised.

Behavior that causes raised eyebrows is shocking. Usually, it is shocking in an inappropriate way, though it does not always have to be. Anything surprising can raise eyebrows.

Very often, the phrase caused raised eyebrows is used to describe things that people disagree with or are made uncomfortable by.

Origin of Caused Raised Eyebrows

Define raising eyebrowsThis phrase comes from the early-1900s. People often literally raise their eyebrows when they are shocked by something, and so this phrase came to be used to figuratively describe things that shocked people.

The first known written use of the phrase comes from The Eminent Victorians in 1918.

When describing behavior that was previously shocking but is not anymore, the book stated,

The most steady-going churchman hardly raises an eyebrow at it now.

In this example, a certain behavior was once considered shocking, but now it is widely accepted. Not even a devout churchgoer raises an eyebrow.

This phase can also be structured as to raise one’s eyebrows. When someone raises one’s eyebrows, he or she is feeling shocked or surprised.

Examples of Cause Eyebrows to Raise

 Meaning of raised eyebrowCelebrities who behave inappropriately cause eyebrows to raise. For example, tabloid magazine may read like this,

The actress caused eyebrows to raise by her excessive drinking and partying this past weekend.

Parents may also raise their eyebrows at their children’s behavior. A mother may say,

My daughter’s belly shirt caused my eyebrows to raise. I could see so much of her stomach that it was inappropriate for her to wear it outside!

The mom is shocked and disapproves of her daughter’s clothing choice.

Many other things may cause a raised eyebrow. One’s political or religious beliefs may cause it; one’s choice of friends may cause it; even one’s home may cause eyebrows to raise if it is a mess.

More Examples

  • Richard Lugar raised eyebrows recently when disclosure reports showed the PAC gave a $5,000 contribution to a Democrat in December. –Indystar
  • This isn’t the first time a photo of Melania Trump raised eyebrows. –Houston Chronicle


To cause raised eyebrows is to cause shock or disapproval.