Ask the Editor
What does it mean to "raise eyebrows"? — Sammy, Ghana
To raise eyebrows means to cause other people to react with surprise or mild disapproval. To raise an/your eyebrow means to move your eyebrows up in a way that shows surprise or mild disapproval.
Both of these phrases are often used figuratively. The following example sentences show how each phrased is used.
To raise eyebrows
- Her sudden outburst in class raised eyebrows. [=classmates reacted with surprise or mild disapproval to her outburst]
- He raised eyebrows when he walked down the street in a winter coat during summer. [=people were surprised to see him in clothing that was not appropriate for the weather]
- The band's new album is raising eyebrows [=causing people to act with surprise or disapproval] with its shocking lyrics.
- The scandal raised eyebrows [=caused surprise and/or disapproval] all over town.
To raise an/your eyebrow
- He raised an eyebrow at his mother when she bought a sports car. [=he was surprised that his mother bought a sports car]
- The townspeople raised their eyebrows at the new strict laws. [=they felt disapproval towards the new laws]
- No one raised an eyebrow [=no one was surprised] when he quit his job; he never liked it anyway.
- Her brother raised an eyebrow [=he expressed surprise and/or disapproval] when she told him she was moving to Los Angeles to pursue acting.