What Does Making a Scene Mean?

Making a Scene Definition

Definition: Being disruptive.

This expression has a negative connotation and therefore describes behaviors that are unwanted and overly emotional and dramatic. As such, when it’s used, it’s usually in a negative construct.

  • Don’t make a scene.
  • Stop making a scene.
  • Let’s not make a scene.
  • Quit making a scene.

Origin of Making a Scene

what does the phrase making a scene meanThis idiom originated as early as the first half of the 1800s. It is unclear as to how it developed exactly; however, some sources speculate that it comes from the theater.

Theatrical plays often showed very emotional and dramatic scenes, which are appropriate when performed for an audience but less appropriate in public places in real life.

Examples of Making a Scene

he made a sceneIn this example, two friends are having coffee together at a local restaurant and begin to discuss an emotional topic.

Neha: So, what was the news you wanted to tell me?

Tyrese: Okay. I guess it’s better not to put this off any longer.

Neha: That makes me a little nervous. Is this bad news?

Tyrese: Actually, it’s good news! It might seem like bad news at first, though, so please don’t make a scene.

Neha: I would never make a scene! What is it?

Tyrese: I got a new job offer.

Neha: That’s great!

Tyrese: It’s in another country.

Neha: What? You can’t leave!

Tyrese: Calm down! Everyone is looking at us. You said you wouldn’t make a scene.

Neha: You’re right. Sorry, I was just surprised. Congratulations!

In this example, two coworkers are discussing some recent changes at their workplace.

Barry: That’s it. I’ve tried to adjust to these new policies, but they’re terrible. I can’t take it anymore.

Rachel: Shh! The boss will hear you. Why don’t you take a walk until you calm down?

Barry: No, I don’t care. I’m going to tell him what I think!

Rachel: You’re causing a scene!

Barry: Good! I want everyone to hear this!

More Examples

  • But Sacca “wouldn’t take no for an answer,” the witness said. “He kept making a scene, saying how they had flown from California and it was his birthday.” –New York Post
  • Prosecutors had thrown out a variety of theories over four trials in their quest to win a conviction: Officers gave Gray a “rough ride”; officers callously ignored Gray’s cries for medical help; officers illegally arrested Gray and didn’t put him in a seat belt to punish him for making a scene as he was being detained. –Washington Post


The phrase making a scene is a verb phrase that describes being loud and drawing a lot of attention in a negative way.