Behaving in such a way that it disturbs the public; drawing undue attention to oneself by being dramatic.
Example: While Bob was waiting in line at a fast food restaurant, he saw a woman receive the wrong order, and so she became furious. She started yelling at the staff working there, making a scene all because of a simple mistake!
‘Making a Scene’ – Its Origin
This phrase possibly has a background in theater, where comedic, dramatic, and other sorts of scenes are performed on a stage. Such performances draw the attention of the audience to the stage. Thus, if someone is being dramatic and drawing unnecessary attention to themselves, it might be said that they are ‘making a scene,’ it’s as if they are an actor on stage during a theatrical performance.
The Facts on File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins mentions that Samuel Foote, a British playwright, wrote a play in the 1760s called The Liar. One of the characters from the play says:
“We parted this moment. Such a scene!”
The expression with its modern phrasing is found in a book from 1825, where it 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 super embarrassing.
Note: An alphabetical list filled with the meanings for phrases is what this site is all about! However, are you aware that the origins for many common idioms cannot be said with a certainty? Indeed, so what you’ll see provided in those cases are explanations as to how a phrase may have come to be.
If no explanations are given, there will usually at least be a quote of the saying being used in writing. These quotes are to give you an idea on how far back in history a saying goes.