double take

dou·​ble take | \ ˈdə-bəl-ˌtāk How to pronounce double take (audio) \

Definition of double take

: a delayed reaction to a surprising or significant situation after an initial failure to notice anything unusual usually used in the phrase do a double take

Examples of double take in a Sentence

His parents did a double take when he came home with a tattoo.

Recent Examples on the Web

Often times, those who thrive on restoring classic cars also enjoy painting them in vivid colors that make one do a double take. Annie Gentile,, "Car And Bike Show A Good Time For A Worthy Cause," 5 Sep. 2019 For example, a key feature of human vision is the ability to do a double take. Quanta Magazine, "Computers and Humans ‘See’ Differently. Does It Matter?," 17 Sep. 2019 The electric blue house on Queen Street usually causes passersby to do a double take and reach for their cameras. Patti Nickell,, "Near the nation’s capital, Alexandria offers history come to vibrant life," 1 July 2019 Wuhan, China Lily Airways Restaurant First-time visitors to Wuhan, the largest city in central China, often do double takes... Bob Cooper, WSJ, "Vintage Trains and Planes Converted Into Novel Restaurants and Bars," 31 Jan. 2019 Major hair moments provoked a few double takes this week as well. Akili King, Vogue, "The Best Beauty Instagrams of the Week: Gabrielle Union, Pharrell, and More," 2 June 2019 But a recent photo Bella shared to her Instagram Stories had fans and followers doing a double take. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Bella Hadid Dyed Her Hair Blond and Looks Exactly Like Gigi Now," 18 July 2019 Julia Cho’s unusual story is lovingly brought to life by director Jeffrey Lo, who includes a touch of sentimentality, a snippet or two of audience participation, punchy laugh lines, double takes and more. Joanne Engelhardt, The Mercury News, "Theater review: ‘Language Archive’ talks the talk," 18 July 2019 The actress and singer stepped out in New York City earlier this week in a subtle, polished ensemble that was still worthy of a double take. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Jennifer Lopez Gets a Headstart on Fashion’s New Mood," 24 Mar. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'double take.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of double take

1930, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about double take

Statistics for double take

Last Updated

13 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for double take

The first known use of double take was in 1930

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for double take

double take


English Language Learners Definition of double take

: an act of quickly looking at something that is surprising or unusual a second time after looking at it a moment earlier

More from Merriam-Webster on double take

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with double take

Comments on double take

What made you want to look up double take? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


suitable to be imparted to the public

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!