hone in

[ hohn-in ]
See synonyms for hone in on Thesaurus.com
verb phrase
  1. to focus one’s attention more narrowly or precisely on a particular task, issue, etc. (usually followed by on): When we started looking for a condo, our agent took time with us to hone in on what we really wanted and needed.They run a workshop to help you hone in and understand the parts of the software that are most relevant for you.

  2. to find, reach, or strike a target in a precise way, as with a camera, weapon, location device, or other instrument (usually followed by on): They’re working to improve cameras that can hone in on a single object or pick a person out of a crowd.

Origin of hone in

First recorded in 1965–70

usage note For hone in

Although increasingly common even in educated speech and writing, the expression hone in is in fact a corruption of home in. Home in was used originally of weapons moving toward their target (or “home”) under the control of an automatic aiming mechanism, and became a metaphor for focusing one’s attention on an objective. The similarity in sound between home and hone , and the fact that the basic meaning of the verb hone is “to sharpen,” explain why people use hone in when they’re thinking about “sharpening” their focus or aim. Style guides criticize this use, however, and careful speakers and writers will avoid it.

Words Nearby hone in

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023