Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
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. and 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.