If a person makes a scene, they behave in such a way that it disturbs the public. In other words, they draw undue attention to themselves by being dramatic.
‘Making a Scene’ – Its Origin
The phrase make a scene might have its origin in theater. The reason is because in a theater, comedic, dramatic, and other sorts of scenes are performed on a stage. These performances draw the attention of the audience. Thus, if someone is being dramatic and drawing unnecessary attention to themselves, it might be said that they are “making a scene” because it’s as if they are an actor on stage in a theatrical performance.
Now, how old is this phrase? Well, the earliest I have seen this expression with its modern wording is in a book from 1825. A part from this book reads:
“When the company reached the dining-room, each placed himself at table where he chose, and the master and mistress of the house easily found means, without making a scene, to induce the four most distinguished women in company to sit by them.”
- I know you’re angry, but there’s no need to make a scene in front of all these people! It’s so embarrassing.
- When I was at the grocery store, I heard someone down the aisle was making waves because they were out of her favorite cereal.