What Does The Plot Thickens Mean?

The Plot Thickens Meaning

Definition: A situation becomes more intense, complicated, or interesting.

Origin of The Plot Thickens

This expression comes from a satirical play called The Rehearsal, written by the poet George Villiers, in the year 1671. It refers to the plot, or storyline, of a play becoming more exciting.

Examples of The Plot Thickens

as the plot thickensThis dialogue shows two coworkers having a discussion about a stolen bagel.

Deanna: I can’t believe this! Someone stole my bagel!

Emily: Are you sure?

Deanna: Yes! I had one right here on my desk when I left work yesterday, and now it’s gone.

Emily: That’s terrible! Who would do such a thing?

Deanna: I’m not sure, but I’m going to figure it out.

Emily: You know what? You were the last person to leave last night, and you were the first person to get here this morning. Someone must have stolen it in the middle of the night.

Deanna: Actually, the only person who was here after I left was my boss!

Emily: The plot thickens!

the expression plot thickensIn the second example, two teammates are playing baseball. One of them uses the expression to describe the actions of the other team.

Billy: What is going on right now with the other team? They’re behaving very strangely.

Angie: Yeah, they aren’t letting any of their best players play.

Billy: And their coach hasn’t been giving them any instructions this whole time. Actually, now that I think of it, I think I heard that the coach had a gambling problem. Maybe he bet against his own team, and now he’s trying to lose!

Angie: The plot thickens!

More Examples

The first excerpt explains the rising action in an exciting fictional song.

  • Then, in an attempted overthrow, West’s imagined plot thickens: “The cheeseburger and the shakes formed a band/ To overthrow the french fries plan/ I always knew them french fries was evil man.” –Chicago Tribune

The second excerpt uses this idiom to describe the plot of a popular movie.

  • The plot thickens, along with the emotional tension, which was always the best part of the Potter universe, and not the dazzling special effects. –Washington Post


The phrase the plot thickens is another way to say that something just got more intriguing and exciting.