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on the same wavelength

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In complete accord, in rapport, as in Conductor, orchestra members, soloists, and chorus all were on the same wavelength, making for a wonderful performance. This term alludes to radio waves that carry a broadcast. [First half of 1900s]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

BEHIND THE PHRASE

What does on the same wavelength mean?

On the same wavelength is a phrase that means people are acting or thinking in accord or agreement, The plan went off without a hitch because everyone was on the same wavelength and worked great together. 

On the same wavelength describes a situation in which people are working well together or operating in harmony because they have the same thought process. On the same wavelength is generally used to mean people are cooperating or at the very least agreeing with each other.

The negative form—not on the same wavelength—is often used to mean that people don’t agree or have completely different thoughts on something, as in The painters clearly weren’t on the same wavelength as every wall was painted a different color. 

Example: The actress and director were clearly on the same wavelength, because she barely had to give her any directions on her performance. 

Where does on the same wavelength come from?

The first records of on the same wavelength come from around 1925. The phrase alludes to radio waves that carry radio broadcasts. If two radio stations are literally on the same wavelength, you would hear both stations at the same time on your radio.

On the same wavelength is often used to describe relationships of a team or group who are supposed to be working together on something. The phrase is used to describe groups that are cooperating very well and appear to agree on what should be done or how to accomplish tasks. More generally, on the same wavelength is used to mean that people agree with each other about something.

Did you know … ?

What are some synonyms for on the same wavelength?

What are some words that share a root or word element with on the same wavelength

What are some words that often get used in discussing on the same wavelength?

How is on the same wavelength used in real life?

On the same wavelength refers to people agreeing or acting in harmony.

Try using on the same wavelength!

Is on the same wavelength used correctly in the following sentence?

Paul and John must have been on the same wavelength because they just couldn’t agree on anything.

How to use on the same wavelength in a sentence

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