egg on

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Incite, urge ahead, provoke, as in Jack is always egging me on to drive faster, or Seemingly quiet, Margo actually eggs on Donald to quarrel with his staff. This expression has nothing to do with hen's eggs but comes from an Old Norse word, eggja, “to edge.” Both edge on and egg on were used interchangeably, but today the latter is preferred. [c. 1200]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.


What does egg on mean?

Egg on is to goad or urge someone else to do something, as in The teacher eggs his students on to study hard and get good grades. 

Egg on is also used in a negative context to accuse someone of trying to start problems or making a bad situation worse by pushing others to misbehave, as in The two men circled each other, while the crowd egged them on to throw punches. 

Example: My sister is always egging me on to skip school, but I won’t because I don’t want to get in trouble.

Where does egg on come from?

The first records of egg on come from around 1200. The egg in the phrase actually comes from the Old Norse eggja, meaning “to edge.” In the past, the phrases edge on and egg on were used interchangeably, but today egg on is the more common of the two.

Egg on is often used to describe a person who is trying to cause trouble or escalate a situation. Egg on can often describe the idea of peer pressure, in which you might not have normally done something but peers goad you into doing it.

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What are some synonyms for egg on?

What are some words that share a root or word element with egg on

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How is egg on used in real life?

Egg on is often used to refer to a situation in which someone is being prodded or encouraged to do something.

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Is egg on used correctly in the following sentence?

The teachers yelled at the older students for egging on the younger students to misbehave in class.