double take

double take


  • to be so surprised at something that you have to take another look (American meaning)
  • a delayed reaction to something (British meaning)
  • It can be accompanied by a sudden movement of the head in order to take another look

Example Sentences

  1. I did a double take when I saw how much weight my best friend had lost.
  2. When the new car entered the parking lot everyone did a double take.
  3. Keanu Reeves would typically be easy to pick out in a crowd, but his new appearance can make just about anyone do a double takeDaniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli, Houston Chronicle, "Keanu Reeves spotted looking like Forrest Gump at an event in Italy."
  4. "I just looked up and that's when I spotted the flickering in the water."
    "It looked as though the light was bouncing off something but there were no boats or people and it was something long - very long."
    "I had to do a double take because there was just nothing to explain it."


The phrase originated in the 1920s. It is said to have originated from directors needing to take a second look at a recording because something seems wrong. They would then have to do another "take" meaning that another shot is needed.

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