Egging Someone On—Idiom, Origin & Meaning

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Curious about the phrase egging someone on? Does it involve throwing eggs at someone to encourage them? Not quite, although that would be an interesting (and messy) way to motivate someone. Stick with me as I crack open the meaning behind this expression and explore its origins, synonyms and usage in sentences. So, let’s get cracking!

Meaning of Egg Someone On

Egging Someone On Idiom Origin Meaning

To egg someone on means encouraging, provoking or urging someone to do something they don’t want to do, often recklessly or inappropriately. This phrase is used when someone pushes someone else to take action or make a decision, even if it might not be the wisest choice.

Think of when you were a kid. Was there a friend that urged you to jump off something high or eat something really gross? They egged you on!

Origin and Etymology of Egging On

The phrase egging on has nothing to do with actual eggs. In fact, its origins go all the way back to the Old Norse word eddja, which means to incite or provoke.

This term made its way into the English language during the 13th century, and one of the first known appearances in print was in the Trinity College Homer as eggede sometime in the 1200s.

What Is a Synonym for Egged On?

If you’re looking to scramble up your vocabulary, here are some synonyms for egged on.

  1. Urged
  2. Encouraged
  3. Prodded
  4. Goaded
  5. Spurred
  6. Prompted
  7. Incited
  8. Provoked

Egging on Examples in a Sentence

Egging Someone On Idiom Origin Meaning 1

Now that you know the meaning and origin of egging on, let’s see how you can use the expression in various sentences.

  • The crowd was egging on the singer to do an encore, so she came back on stage and did two!
  • He didn’t want to play the prank, but his friends egged him on until he finally gave in, and now one kid has a broken leg.
  • I feel that maybe I egged you on a little too much, so don’t feel that you have to do this if you don’t want to.
  • Karen knew it wasn’t a good idea, but her curiosity egged her on to explore the abandoned and haunted building.
  • My friends egged me on for years to finish my book, and I finally did it!
  • The coach egged the team on to give their all in the game’s final minutes.
  • Jack was nervous about asking for a raise, but his coworkers egged him on to speak to the boss, which paid off.
  • I love when people egg me on; it really amps me up and gives me that little push I need to get things done.

It’s Not About Eggs

And there you have it! A crash course about the English expression egging on. Remember, it means to push someone or convince them to do something risky or scary. Now that you know the meaning behind this eggcellent phrase, go forth and use it wisely!