make a scene

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make a scene (third-person singular simple present makes a scene, present participle making a scene, simple past and past participle made a scene)

  1. To bring unnecessary attention to oneself, especially through a public expression of tumultuous emotion.
    • 1814, Elizabeth Hervey, Amabel; or, Memoirs of a Woman of Fashion, London: H. Colburn, Volume II, Part VIII, p. 287,[1]
      I saw, though he tried to conceal it, that he was very much hurt at your behaviour, and I was sure, by his looks, that he did not think my jealous apprehension groundless; however, he protested he did, and persuaded me not to make a scene by arriving her in the middle of the night []
    • 1893, Henry James, “The Real Thing” in The Real Thing and Other Tales, New York: Macmillan, p. 25,[2]
      The next time I saw Miss Churm after this incident she surprised me greatly by making a scene about it—she accused me of having wished to humiliate her.
    • 1935, Christopher Isherwood, Mr Norris Changes Trains in The Berlin Stories,
      She snuggled against me, while from the other side a boy was amateurishly trying to pick my pocket. I opened my mouth to protest, but thought better of it. Why make a scene at the end of such an enjoyable evening?
    • 2003, Michael Berry (translator), To Live (1993) by Yu Hua, New York: Knopf Doubleday, 2007, p. 125,[3]
      This time I had really hurt my son. Youqing wasn’t upset because I had hit him, but because I had made a scene in front of so many of his teachers and classmates.