plugged in

[pluhgd in]

What does plugged in mean?

Get with it! If you're plugged in, you're in the know. You can also be so plugged in to a task, usually a technological one, to the point where you shut everything else out.

Related words:

  • connected
  • in the loop
  • in the zone
  • oblivious
  • on trend
Examples of plugged in


Examples of plugged in
...Start getting plugged in in the world around you. It’s so many opportunities you don’t want to miss out on. If you wait too long, you’ll missed them!
@_Suchaladee, July, 2018
Every day this week—heading into the start of free agency at 12:01 a.m. ET July 1—Bleacher Report will look at every angle of LeBron James' upcoming decision with reports and features from our most plugged-in NBA reporters.
Bleacher Report, June, 2018
When I’m driving, why the feck do I see so many people crossing the road with their heads down, looking at their phones? What’s so urgent about needing to be “plugged in” 24/7? Trust me, you ain’t missing jack shit! Rant over!
@LiverpoolBird, June, 2018

Where does plugged in come from?

plugged in

The expression plugged in comes from the image of an electronic device being plugged in to a socket or circuit. People have been doing and saying this since the beginning of electricity (the early 1900s, people).

In the 1960s, being plugged in meant you were knowledgeable about the goings-on of the day. It’s likely the imagery was promoted by the popularization of television, including the heyday of 30-minute nightly network news and hit TV shows like the futuristic Jetsons.

By the 2000s, plugged in expanded its sense to “hip” and “fashionable,” used for someone who has their finger on the cultural pulse.

It also started narrowing, too, in the 2000s. Like a kid with headphones plugged in to a gaming console, plugged in also came to characterize someone so focused on a task that they tune everything else out around them.

Who uses plugged in?

Of course, plugged in is widely used to refer to some piece of electronics plugged in to a socket or circuit, like a lamp or computer cable.

As an expression, plugged in is used to describe someone who’s involved in or knowledgeable about some matter, from World Cup stats to hyper-local community concerns to politics.

The “in-the-know” meaning of plugged in has inspired a sub-sense of the phrase. If you’re in possession of drugs or the knowledge of where to buy them, you could be described as plugged in.

It’s common to see adults worried that the kids these days are too plugged in, especially when it comes to their personal technology. If you find that you’re too plugged in, you should unplug. That modification of the phrase gets lobbed out by self-help advice columnists and health brands a lot.

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