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exit stage left

1. noun A timely and inconspicuous exit or departure, done so as not to make a scene or attract attention to oneself. An allusion to stage directions in theater, indicating when (and where) an actor should leave the stage from a scene. When the rally was interrupted by protesters, the senatorial candidate made a quick exit stage left to avoid undue media attention.
2. verb To leave in a timely and inconspicuous manner, so as not to make a scene or attract attention to oneself. (Sometimes used as an imperative.) The CEO decided to exit stage left from the company before his embezzlements became too noticeable. I suggest you exit stage left before I lose my temper.
See also: exit, left, stage

stage-door Johnny

A man who spends a lot of time at a theater so as to seek the romantic attention, favor, or company of an actress. Ms. Gabler is such a stunning beauty that she always has some stage-door Johnny or another waiting for her after the curtain falls each night.
See also: johnny

all the world's a stage

Life is full of acting. The phrase originated in the Shakespeare play As You Like It. I can't look this excited when I leave your office, or they'll all know I got the promotion. Well, all the world's a stage!
See also: all, stage

at this stage (of the game)

Fig. at the current point in some event or situation; currently. We'll have to wait and see. There isn't much we can do at this stage of the game. At this stage, we are better off not calling the doctor.
See also: stage, this

boo someone off the stage

 and boo someone off
to jeer and hoot, causing a performer to leave the stage. The rude audience booed the performer off the stage. The audience booed off the comedian.
See also: boo, off, stage

hoot someone off the stage

[for an audience] to boo and hiss until a performer leaves the stage. The rude audience hooted Carl off the stage. Carl was hooted off the stage.
See also: hoot, off, stage

in a stage whisper

Fig. in a loud whisper that everyone can hear. John said in a stage whisper, "This play is boring." "When do we eat?" asked Billy in a stage whisper.
See also: stage, whisper

laugh someone off the stage

Fig. to laugh rudely, forcing a person to leave a stage. The rude audience laughed the politician off the stage. The children laughed the soprano off the stage. She really wasn't very good, you know.
See also: laugh, off, stage

make a comeback

to return to one's former (successful) career. After ten years in retirement, the singer made a comeback. You're never too old to make a comeback.
See also: make

set the stage for something

1. Lit. to arrange a stage for an act or scene of a production. The stage crew set the stage for the first act. They set the stage for the second scene while the orchestra played.
2. Fig. to prepare something for some activity. The initial meeting set the stage for further negotiations. Your negative comments set the stage for another big argument.
See also: set, stage

take the stage

Fig. to become the center of attention; to become the focus of everyone's attention. Later in the day, the problems in the warehouse took the stage, and we discussed them until dinnertime.
See also: stage, take

walk on stage and off again

Fig. to play a very small role where one goes on stage and quickly leaves again. It was a very small part. I walked on stage and right off again.
See also: again, and, off, stage, walk

at this stage of the game

at a particular place in a process At this stage of the game, it's really too late to switch computer software.
See also: game, of, stage, this

set the stage for something

to prepare the way for something else to happen This new information sets the stage for a long and interesting trial.
Etymology: from the preparation of the stage in a theater for the performance of a play
See also: set, stage

take center stage

to be the center of interest Collecting food and clothes for disaster victims has taken center stage in our town. A new line of electric cars took center stage at the automobile show.
See also: center, stage, take

be/take centre stage

  (British) also be/take center stage (American)
to be the most important thing or person at an event or in a situation, or to be the thing or person that people notice most A new range of electric cars will be centre stage at next month's exhibition.
See also: centre, stage

set the scene for something

if you set the scene for something, you make it possible or likely to happen The recent resignation of two government ministers has set the scene for a pre-election crisis.
See also: scene, set

set the stage for something

if you set the stage for something, you make it possible or likely to happen The purpose of that first meeting was to set the stage for future co-operation between Russia and the USA.
See also: set, stage

at this stage

Also, at this or that stage of the game . At this (that) step, phase, or position in a process or activity, as in I'm not sure if you can help at this stage, but perhaps you can pitch in later, or I don't need an assistant at this stage of the game. The variant uses game in the sense of "a particular process or activity." [Early 1800s]
See also: stage, this

make a comeback

Also, stage a comeback. Achieve a success after retirement or failure, as in After years in mediocre movies, she made a comeback on Broadway, or The humble hamburger is about to stage a comeback. [Colloquial; c. 1920] Also see come back, def. 1.
See also: make

set the scene for

Also, set the stage for. Provide the underlying basis or background for, make likely or inevitable, as in Their fights about money set the scene for a divorce, or The comptroller's assessment of the firm's finances set the stage for a successful bond issue . These expressions allude to arranging a play's actors and properties on a theatrical stage. The first term dates from the late 1700s, the variant from the late 1800s.
See also: scene, set

stage fright

Acute nervousness when performing or speaking before an audience, as in When John first had to present his findings to the board of directors, stage fright made him stutter . [Second half of 1800s]
See also: fright, stage

stage whisper

A whisper loud enough to be overheard, as in Our three-year-old behaved beautifully at the ceremony, but then he asked in a stage whisper, "Why does that lady have blue hair?" This expression alludes to an actor's whisper on stage, which is meant to be heard by the audience. [Mid-1800s]
See also: stage, whisper

honeymoon (period)

and honeymoon stage
n. an early stage in any activity, before problems set in. You’ll know the honeymoon period is over when everything seems to go wrong at once. Of course, this is still the honeymoon stage, but everything seems to be going all right.
See also: honeymoon, period

honeymoon stage

See also: honeymoon, stage
References in periodicals archive ?
Before treatment, animals were selected at random and staged as described previously, placed individually in one of the five treatment solutions selected at random, with treatment and time recorded for each individual.