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.

Examples of hone in in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The defense was largely focused on cross-examining witnesses called by prosecutors during the last month, honing in on attacking Daniels' and Cohen's motivations and credibility. Graham Kates, CBS News, 21 May 2024 Assistant coach Thomas Ford honed in on Glass and was able to secure his pledge on the heels of an official visit to Corvallis. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, 23 May 2024 Babes follows suit by honing in on the bond between Glazer and Buteau, who have been friends since meeting in the New York comedy scene in the late 2000s. Rachel Brodsky, Rolling Stone, 20 May 2024 Though scotch connoisseurs can easily spend hefty sums on their hobby — some bars serve pours priced at more than $700 — Birds of a Feather honed in on the more affordable options. Amanda Yeager, Baltimore Sun, 1 Apr. 2024 Saturn is known to be the disciplinarian in the zodiac, overlooking structure, order and responsibility, so this is a great time to hone in on your foundations. Stephanie Sengwe, Peoplemag, 12 May 2024 Use the weeks and months before your sailing to study deck plans and hone in on your favorite amenities. Elizabeth Heath, Travel + Leisure, 11 May 2024 After all, season 1 largely focuses on his sister Daphne while season 2 hones in on his brother Anthony. James Mercadante and Stephanie Kaloi, EW.com, 11 May 2024 The change may also mirror a shift in emphasis in the Republican Party: while conservatives, like those at the Cato Institute, have long focused on personal independence and limited government oversight, the right wing in recent years has honed in on election security. Ian Max Stevenson, Idaho Statesman, 8 May 2024

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 12 Jun. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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