lay an egg

Slang Dictionary

lay an egg definition


  1. tv.
    [for someone] to do something bad or poorly. : I guess I really laid an egg, huh?
  2. tv.
    [for something] to fail. Death of a Salesman. : The community theater laid an egg last night with the opening performance of , The film was fun to make, but it laid an egg at the box office.
  3. tv.
    to laugh very hard; to cackle long and loudly. (As if one were a chicken.) : Half the audience laid an egg when I told this one.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

lay an egg

Fail, especially in a public performance; make a humiliating error. For example, Carol really laid an egg last night when she forgot her lines, or, as Variety had it in October 1929: "Wall Street Lays An Egg." The term originated in the late 1800s in vaudeville and was extended to nontheatrical failures in the early 1900s.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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