verb (used with object)
Origin of egg1
- a bad person
- an exclamation of dismay
- a good person
- an exclamation of delight
- to make a joke or give a performance, etc, that fails completely
- (of a joke, performance, etc) to fail completely; flop
Word Origin for egg
Word Origin for egg
mid-14c., from northern England dialect, from Old Norse egg, which vied with Middle English eye, eai (from Old English æg) until finally displacing it after 1500; both are from Proto-Germanic *ajja(m) (cf. Old Saxon, Middle Dutch, Dutch, Old High German, German ei, Gothic ada), probably from PIE *owyo-/*oyyo- "egg" (cf. Old Church Slavonic aja, Russian jajco, Breton ui, Welsh wy, Greek oon, Latin ovum); possibly derived from root *awi- "bird." Caxton (15c.) writes of a merchant (probably a north-country man) in a public house on the Thames who asked for eggs:
And the goode wyf answerde, that she coude speke no frenshe. And the marchaunt was angry, for he also coude speke no frenshe, but wolde have hadde egges, and she understode hym not.
She did, however, recognize another customer's request for "eyren." Bad egg in the figurative sense is from 1855. To have egg on (one's) face "be made to look foolish" is attested by 1948.
[Young & Rubincam] realize full well that a crew can sometimes make or break a show. It can do little things to ruin a program or else, by giving it its best, can really get that all-important rating. They are mindful of an emcee of a variety show who already has been tabbed "old egg in your face" because the crew has managed to get him in such awkward positions on the TV screen. ["Billboard," March 5, 1949]
Eggs Benedict attested by 1898. The figure of speech represented in to have all (one's) eggs in one basket is attested by 1660s.
A female gamete.
walk on eggs
Proceed very cautiously, as in I knew I was walking on eggs when I asked about the department's involvement in the lawsuit. This metaphoric idiom transfers walking on fragile eggs to discussing or investigating a dangerous subject. [First half of 1700s]
In addition to the idioms beginning with egg
- egg in your beer
- egg on
- egg on one's face, have
- bad egg
- good egg
- goose egg
- kill the goose that lays the golden eggs
- lay an egg
- put all one's eggs in one basket
- walk on eggs