The Plot Thickens


If ‘the plot thickens,’ that means a situation or story has become more interesting in some way due to newly introduced information.

Example: My brother told me that he’s been on a strict diet for the past couple months. However, I just found a hidden stash of junk food in his room! Is he lying about dieting, and if so, why? The plot thickens.

1. More here than meets the eye
2. Things just got more interesting

The Origin Of ‘The Plot Thickens’

What is a plot and how does it thicken? Well, the word ‘plot’ can refer to the story, or narrative of something. For example, movies have plots in them; they have a sequence of events that unfold throughout the film and this is the overall ‘plot’ of the film. As the story is told, things can become more complicated as new developments take place, thus making ‘the plot,’ or story, thicker.

Anyway, the first known use of this phrase is believed to be from the 17th century. The phrase appears in a play called The Rehearsal, 1671, by George Villiers. A part from it reads: 

“Ay, now the Plot thickens very much upon us.”

That means this phrase is nearly 350 years old, at least!

Example Sentences

  • When Rachel went to visit her friend Jessica, she heard kids playing in another room. She thought to herself, “Jessica never said she had kids. Hmm, the plot thickens.” Shortly after, she realized that her friend was simply babysitting.

Similar Examples:

  • The rotten smell is not coming from the garbage; there is more here than meets the eye. I think it’s the old food in the fridge.
  • Just as class was getting a little boring, my teacher made a surprise announcement — things just got interesting.

Tip: Know Your Phrase (this website) has plenty of common idioms that you can read about. You can learn what these idioms mean and sometimes, where they come! If you’re looking for a specific expression or just want to browse through our phrase’s list, use the menu at the top. Pick a letter to start exploring!