in the groove



Originally mid-19th century slang with (usually pejorative) reference to the difficulty of leaving a well-worn rut (see in a rut). As back in the groove, the phrase acquired a positive sense of returning to one's usual self after a period of illness, setbacks, &c. With special regard for music, originally 1920s US jazz slang, possibly with reference to the grooves of early records.

Prepositional phraseEdit

in the groove

  1. Used other than figuratively or idiomatically: see in,‎ groove.
    • 1869, J.E.T. Rogers's preface to Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, Vol. I, p. 27:
      The whole course of legislation... had flowed in the same groove for centuries.
    • 1932 Oct., Melody Maker, p. 836:
      ...having such a wonderful time which puts me in a groove...
  2. (colloquial) Running or performing extremely smoothly, especially (music, slang) playing perfectly, perfectly in sync with others, or with perfect focus.
    • 1933 Aug., Fortune, p. 90:
      The jazz musicians gave no grandstand performances; they simply got a great burn from playing in the groove.


See alsoEdit