Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Homing

Homing. No, this has nothing to do with moving into our new house.

This is my question. When you focus on something, when you zero in on it, do you hone in on it or do you home in on it?

Recently, I have seen in several places as "homing in." I guess I always, and maybe I'm really stupid, thought it was "honing in." Because, when you hone something you sharpen it, refine it, pay particular attention to the details, practice it, perfect it? Yes? So I figured it was like giving something all your attention. But I guess homing could work, like if you're talking about a homing pigeon for instance, it goes to a particular spot, it homes.

So I ask you. Which is it?

Also, Sasha will get her man, but she will probably not get him until after Christmas at the post office and I get my computer moved into the new house and life settles down a litte. Sorry, Sasha fans.

3 comments:

Russ said...

I believe it is 'hone' and not 'home'. Like you said hone means to focus and sharpen, you hone a chisle I believe. You can hone skills. However there is a level of uncertainty in the population so it is probably interchangeable with home.

Dan said...

I believe both terms are correct, but are used in slightly different ways. I look at them in terms of micro vs macro.

Honing in on something, in my view, would be compared with what you do with a microscope: you already know what you're looking at, but you need to get down to a more detailed view.

Homing in on something is used in a more general sense: you're trying to find a target in a vast universe of possibilities. This would be compared with what a homing pigeon does.

So, as I use the terms, homing in gets you from the universe to a specific target, and honing in gives you the details of that target.

You shouldn't confuse either of these with "horning in", like some people do in other peoples' business.

digendai

Claire said...

Hello! Just stumbled in on this while investigating "horning in". :)

In actual fact, it's not possible to "hone in". You can "hone" something, refine it as with a chisel, but the original expression you're talking about is very definitely "home in" like a pigeon. "Hone in" is an accidental adaptation that has become quite widespread.

Hope this makes sense and is useful!