What Does Egg on Your Face Mean?

Egg on Your Face Meaning

Definition: To feel embarrassed; to have made a fool of oneself.

Origin of Egg on Your Face

This expression first appeared in mid-20th-century America. It quickly made its way into British parlance as well.

Its exact origin is unclear. Sources speculate that it might come from eating eggs, and having some of the food stuck to one’s face in an embarrassing way.

Others think it might come from the theater, when angry audience members threw rotten food, such as eggs, at bad performers.

No matter the origin, the connotation is the same. The have egg on your face is to have made an embarrassing error or blunder. It implies making an error in public, since making an error in private isn’t embarrassing.

Examples of Egg on Your Face

egg on my face meaningThis example shows two college students using the idiom while discussing their past weekend.

Frank: So what did you do over the weekend?

Karl: Not much. I went out on Friday night and embarrassed myself so badly that I didn’t want to go out again.

Frank: Really? What happened?

Karl: I was at a party, and I somehow locked myself in the bathroom and couldn’t get out. I don’t know how it happened. Anyway, everyone found out and was making fun of me. I finally was able to get out, but after that happened I didn’t want to risk getting egg on my face for the second time in one weekend. I just stayed home all day on Saturday and Sunday.

what does it mean to have egg on your face In this example, two friends are talking about an awkward meeting one of them went to.

Lily: I’m sorry! I really messed up at the meeting!

Grace: Oh no! What happened?

Lily: Well, it started out pretty well, but after it was over, I thought I’d make some chit chat with Samantha. I saw she was pregnant, so I asked her when her baby was due.

Grace: And?

Lily: And she told me she wasn’t pregnant. She just gained some weight. I don’t know why I always have egg on my face!

More Examples

The excerpt below is about a pop star who tried to destroy property. This was an embarrassing incident for him.

  • Justin Bieber may end up with more than just egg on his face over the Calabasas vandalism incident — he could end up a felon. –New York Daily News

This excerpt is about a U.S. Attorney who is having trouble winning his cases. This is bad for his reputation.

  • Particularly after Bharara recently had egg on his face when some of his Wall Street insider trading convictions were tossed, those interviewed said. –New York Daily News

Summary: To Have an Egg on Your Face

The phrase to have egg on your face means that you did something embarrassing that made you look silly or ridiculous.