From take (“a visible (facial) response to something”) as used in acting, especially in comedy.
- An abrupt movement, used, for example, as a comical reaction to a surprising sight, in which someone casually sees something, briefly stops looking at it, realizes what it is, and snaps attention back to it with an expression of surprise or disbelief.
Smith passes the car and does a double take as he realizes it is on fire.
I swear I did a double-take when I spotted that $100 bill lying in the gutter!
1949, Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr.; Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, Cheaper by the Dozen:
- Once a neighbor complained that a Gilbreth had called the neighbor's boy a son of an unprintable word.“What are the facts of the matter?” Dad asked blandly. And then walked away while the neighbor registered a double take.
reaction to surprising sight
- “double take” at OneLook Dictionary Search