chew the scenery

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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]

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (file)

Verb[edit]

chew the scenery (third-person singular simple present chews the scenery, present participle chewing the scenery, simple past and past participle chewed 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.

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References[edit]

  • Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang