hone in


honed in; honing in; hones in

intransitive verb

: to move toward or focus attention on an objective
looking back for the ball honing inGeorge Plimpton
a missile honing in on its targetBob Greene
hones in on the plights and victories of the common manLisa Russell
Hone in vs. Home in: Usage Guide

Most usage commentators consider hone in to be a mistake for home in. The use may have arisen from home in by the weakening of the \m\ sound to \n\ or it may have developed simply because of the influence of hone, with perhaps an underlying sense that "honing" figuratively involves a narrowing or sharpening of focus. Whatever the explanation of its origins, it has established itself in American English and has begun to make a few inroads into British English as well. Even so, your use of it especially in writing is likely to be called a mistake. Home in or in figurative use zero in is an easy alternative.

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The 16-day trip, which is shorter than most of the other itineraries, focuses on one region and thus allows guests to really hone in on the local culture, history and cuisine. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 14 Dec. 2022 The University of California Santa Cruz made the image available in a zoomable format, allowing people to hone in on individual galaxies for a closer look. Denise Chow, NBC News, 11 July 2022 Extremist influencers like Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene and Fox News host Tucker Carlson both honed in on the shooter's gender identity, with Taylor Greene earning a brief suspension from Twitter for her comments. Will Carless, USA TODAY, 31 Mar. 2023 Plug this into a TV for an easy, kid-friendly gaming console, and your 3-year-old can hone in on her number, shape, letter and color skills through its electronic games. Rachel Rothman, Good Housekeeping, 18 Nov. 2022 The film will hone in on the dichotomy of fame — to be seen by all but known by none. Emily Maskell, Vulture, 26 Oct. 2022 For the brand’s SS23 collection, Blumarine continued to hone in on its core design spirit of femininity and Y2K aesthetics while creating new life with denim. Essence Fashion, Essence, 26 Sep. 2022 While the arrangements and melodic flourishes give the album unpredictability, REECE decided to hone in on a few specific themes with his lyrics. Spin Staff, SPIN, 26 Sep. 2022 Many of the new features hone in on Microsoft’s vision for the future of hybrid work. Catherine Thorbecke, CNN, 21 Sep. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hone in.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


alteration of home in

First Known Use

1965, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hone in was in 1965

Dictionary Entries Near hone in

Cite this Entry

“Hone in.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hone%20in. Accessed 7 Jun. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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