chew the scenery

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Its earliest reference is listed in the Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang as being used by Mary Hallock Foote in Coeur D'Alene in 1894.[1]


chew the scenery

  1. (idiomatic, performing arts) To display excessive emotion or to act in an exaggerated manner while performing; to be melodramatic; to be flamboyant.
    • 2006 October 11, James Poniewozik, "Fall TV Preview," Time:
      Starring as a Great White Hope police commissioner sent to clean up Washington, D.C., Nelson displays a set of pipes barely hinted at in his years on "Coach," spending the long pilot hour barking, bloviating, singing(!) and generally chewing the scenery.




  • Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang