home in on



home in on ‎(third-person singular simple present homes in on, present participle homing in on, simple past and past participle homed in on)

  1. (military, of an aircraft) To draw close to a destination, especially using radar; (of a guided missile) to move towards a target.
  2. (idiomatic) To focus or narrow down to something; to find, draw closer or move towards, as by trial and error or a gradual seeking process.
    He used the clues to home in on the source of the flames.
    We are homing in on a solution.

Usage notesEdit

The phrase originates in military use in the early 20th century, apparently by analogy with the older term homing pigeon. From the 1960s it is also found in the mistaken variant hone in on. [1]

Derived termsEdit

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