What does the idiom "make quite a scene" mean?

Idioms are generally defined as groups of words that form a meaningful whole when they come together, even though the words in them do not make sense on their own. They have produced many idioms according to their own cultural characteristics in communities using the English language. What does make quite a scene mean? In what situations is make quite a scene used?

Meaning of "make quite a scene"


The phrase “make quite a scene” is usually used as an idiom to describe a situation or person who draws widespread attention due to their outrageous behavior. The scene in question can vary widely in nature, ranging from something humorous to something disturbing or upsetting. This phrase can also be used when someone is so shocked by the behavior of another person that they feel compelled to express their disbelief.


The phrase “make quite a scene” is first mentioned in the 17th century by the British author, Thomas Shadwell, in his play “The Squire of Alsatia”. In the play, the phrase is used to express a dramatic moment—one that is so outrageous that it grabs the attention of everyone in the room. Since then, the phrase has been adopted as an idiom to describe a variety of scenes or situations, both in the theatrical and everyday world.


The phrase “make quite a scene” can be used to describe a person or situation that draws a lot of attention. For example, if someone has an outburst at a party or in a public place, they could be making quite a scene. It can also be used to describe a situation that is so extreme or surprising that onlookers are shocked or fascinated by it. For example, if a celebrity unexpectedly shows up at an event, they may be making quite a scene.

Example Sentences

  • The competition was heated, but when one of the judges started shouting, he really made quite a scene.
  • The bride was so happy when the groom surprised her with a horse-drawn carriage, he made quite a scene.
  • When the celebrity showed up at the party, everyone stopped and stared - she definitely made quite a scene.

The meanings of the words in the "make quite a scene" idiom

Beyond the Literal: Figurative Language in Idioms

Idioms often use figurative language to convey a message that is not meant to be taken literally. For instance, the idiom "bite the bullet" means to endure a painful or difficult situation without complaint, while "hold your horses" means to be patient and wait. Other idioms, like "kick the bucket" or "pop your clogs," use euphemisms to talk about death.


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