Is there a verbal expression or idiom that means "to show mock surprise," particularly by touching a part of one's body?

  • In what way does "touching a part of one's body" relate to "pretending to be surprised"? Mar 24, 2021 at 15:06
  • 1
    Cf. "clutch the/one's pearls."
    – Apollyon
    Mar 24, 2021 at 15:20
  • I don't understand that either! Well, actually, I've just looked it up. But a necklace isn't a body part. People slap their forehead to indicate surprise at their own foolishness (or affectation thereof), but I've never heard of that necklace version. Mar 24, 2021 at 16:20
  • clutch one's pearls means something other than mock surprise. It is a sarcastic phrase used to characterize what someone says or does.
    – Lambie
    Mar 24, 2021 at 19:57
  • @FumbleFingers Have you seen any pictures illustrating the said idiom? No real pearls or necklaces, but body parts, are involved in the action.
    – Apollyon
    Mar 25, 2021 at 4:26

1 Answer 1


I don't know that there is a phrase that demonstrates mock surprise. Surprise is often shown with raised eyebrows. For example, you can say something "raised eyebrows" or someone "raised their eyebrows in surprise". Another physical action is covering your mouth but that is clearer when followed by "...in surprise". You're better off describing a comical overexertion or saying "...in mock surprise".

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