What Does it Mean to ‘Egg Someone On’ in English?

Dive into the meaning behind the idiom ‘egging someone on’ in English. Discover its origins, how it’s used in context, and the broader social implications. Click to learn more!


The English language is teeming with idioms and phrases that, taken literally, would appear quite puzzling to non-native speakers. One of which is ‘egging someone on.’ Despite the mental image it might conjure up, this term has nothing to do with breakfast food. So, what exactly does it mean?

Definition and Origin

‘Egg someone on’ is an idiom used when someone is encouraging or inciting another person to do something, particularly something reckless, unwise, or harmful. The term originated from the Old Norse word ‘eggja,’ which means ‘to incite.’ So when you ‘egg someone on,’ you are provoking them to continue or intensify their actions, usually in a negative context.

Use in Context

To better grasp this, consider the following examples:

  • During a heated argument, John’s friends egged him on, which resulted in him making some regrettable comments.
  • In many movie scenarios, a group of teenagers might egg on a friend to carry out a dare, regardless of the potential consequences.

Studies and Statistics

Research indicates that peer pressure plays a significant role in ‘egging on.’ A 2017 study published in ‘Developmental Psychology’ found that peers normalizing or encouraging harmful behavior could lead to an increase in that behavior. Thus, the act of ‘egging someone on’ can have serious psychological impacts.


Understanding idiomatic expressions like ‘egging someone on’ can enrich our communication and allow us to express nuanced ideas. The phrase emphasizes the power of persuasion and its potential for good or harm. Therefore, next time you feel compelled to egg someone on, think about the possible outcomes. Are you encouraging positive action, or could your incitement lead to unintended negative consequences?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *