[Ads-l] "Read the room"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed May 19 20:54:03 UTC 2021

To quote gloss and two sample sentences provided by The Free Dictionary::

'To use one's intuition to analyze the general mood of the people in a particular setting and act accordingly. Often used as an imperative.' 

I'll read the room and see if it's the right time to have the conversation. If people already seem on edge, I'll probably wait to bring it up. 

Read the room, James. No one here is interested in talking politics right now.

I was wondering when this originated and when it caught on again to show up in commercials.  Does anyone know?  I’m assuming that since it’s not really a word (even by our extended WOTY-style definition), it won’t show up in back issues of Among the New Words, but someone here might have tracked it.  If I had to guess, the guess would involve usage by stand-up comedians.  


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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