[… …]

Harry yanked his robes straight and headed for a seat at the very back of the class, where he busied himself with piling all seven of Lockhart's books in front of him, so that he could avoid looking at the real thing(refers to Lockhart).

[… …]

You could've fried an egg on your face,” said Ron.

“You'd better hope Creevey doesn't meet Ginny, or they'll be starting a Harry Potter fan club.”

“Shut up,” snapped Harry.

The last thing he needed was for Lockhart to hear the phrase “Harry Potter fan club.”

I don't quite get the meaning of “You could've fried an egg on your face,”. I think it's a metaphor. The close phrase I can get is "have egg on one's face", which means: Fig. to be embarrassed by something one has done. But the phrase "fried an egg on your face" might be different. What does it mean exactly? Is it the same as have egg on one's face?

-- From Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

  • 1
    There's probably a clue in the preceding context. You should include it here, as it could be anger or embarrassment that is making his face flushed and hot. I don't suppose he'd eaten a Scotch Bonnet at Hogwarts.
    – TimR
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 12:15
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo The previous context might suggest both. I will add it later.
    – dan
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 12:19
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo, the preceding context is a bit long. I just added the content that seems to indicate how Harry feeled, in my opinion.
    – dan
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 13:08

3 Answers 3


More or less you got the meaning. Harry was embarrassed and probably he was blushing.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary


to become redder or darker in the face, usually from embarrassment

His face was so red that it was almost red-hot and he could've fried an egg on his face


extremely hot

It's a metaphor that exaggerates the grade of embarrasment of Harry in that situation. He was embarrassed, blushing, so red that you can almost feel the heat.

  • 14
    I agree with this definition - I would just add that I believe the relationship with the phrase "egg on your face" is purely coincidental. "Egg on your face" would usually be considered as looking silly because a decision or action you're responsible for has backfired - "John promised so much for this product, and now it's failed he's been left with egg on his face." This example appears more that a situation has caused you immediate embarrassment causing you to blush. In this case you've not necessarily done anything - it could simply be that a girl you like has said something to you.
    – timbstoke
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 11:30
  • 2
    @timbstoke Great explanation of the no-relation between the phrases. It should be an answer.
    – RubioRic
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 11:34
  • 3
    Yes, this. And not only can someone else "almost feel the heat" from seeing the blush, but the person blushing probably could feel the heat (for those of us who blush hard, the sensation of heat rushing to the face in embarrassing situations is very familiar).
    – 1006a
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 19:23

I agree with @RubioRic's answer that this expression means his face was flushed red, that he looked heated, like a frying pan where you could fry an egg.

“You could've fried an egg on your face”

Normally this expression is used in hot weather conditions, for example:

You could fry an egg on that pavement


You could've fried an egg on the bonnet (hood) of my car

Your example is a little unusual and it is not one I would recommend using in this context myself, for two reasons: Firstly, because it would be logistically impossible to fry an egg on the side of someone's face, so the imagery doesn't really work. In the commonly heard examples I give they are both flat surfaces. But secondly because it is far too similar to the widely used expression "egg on your face" which means you look stupid because of something that you have done.


Frying an egg requires heat. So to say that you could "fry on egg on your face" means that your face is very hot, presumably from either anger or embarrassment.

This is not a common idiom. The writer may have invented it for this story.

It's not a metaphor as nothing is being compared to anything else. It's more hyperbole, that is, poetic exaggeration. His face may be hot, but it's not REALLY hot enough to fry an egg. That's an exaggeration.

It reminds me of the well known idiom, "it was so hot you could fry an egg on the sidewalk", meaning that the temperature outside was so hot that the sidewalk got hot enough to fry an egg. Again, not intended literally, but as an exaggeration.

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