Are you listening to some friends or work colleagues talking about a topic where you have information that could benefit the conversation? If that’s the case, you could ask the other parties if they mind if you “chime in” on the subject.
This post unpacks everything you need to know about the meaning and origin of this idiom, along with its use in conversation.
Chime In Meaning
A chime is a set of long cylindrical and hollow tubes, typically made from steel or wooden materials. Many people keep wind chimes on their porch for a comforting sound when the wind blows through the air. The chimes clash against each other in the wind, producing a light, melodic sound that’s appealing.
So, when you ask someone if you can “chime in” on their conversation, you’re making a polite interruption into their conversation because you think you can add value to the subject matter. Typically, the phrase is suitable for lighthearted and serious discussion, and it’s a great way to interject yourself into a conversation without upsetting other people.
When using the phrase, you’ll wait for a break in the conversation and then interject utilizing the term. However, if the conversation moves past what you were going to add, it’s probably better to stay quiet than drag the conversation back to a previous topic.
The phrase does well in agreeable conversation, and if you were trying to step into a heated argument, it would be better to use “let me cut in here” rather than “chime in” on the other parties. The idiom has plenty of use in everyday conversation, and you probably hear it all the time.
Chime In Example Usage
“Let me chime in on this conversation; I think you guys will find this interesting.”
“Why do you think you can just chime in on our conversation whenever you want without asking.”
“Kim decided to chime in with some relevant thoughts to the conversation.”
“He comes, Mike; he’s probably going to chime in with his thoughts.”
“Chiming in on our conversation is fine; just make sure you have something important to say.”
Chime In Origin
To “chime in” on a conversation first appeared towards the end of the 1600s. The phrase gained traction with the English-speaking population, and it started to reach everyday use in the 1700s.
The word chime comes from the Greek “kiamos.” Chimes were popular in the 1600s, and many people would talk in rooms or on porches where wind chimes would sound in the wind during conversations. People would pause to remark on the sound of the chimes, which led to the formation of the expression.
The phrase is still common in the English language today, and you probably hear it yourself from time to time.
Phrases Similar to Chime In
- Let me add my two cents.
- Here’s what I think.
Phrases Opposite to Chime In
- I’m out.
- Please don’t ask me.
What is the Correct Saying?
- Chime in.
- Chiming in.
Ways People May Say Chime In Incorrectly
Some people may use “chime in” in a conversation when they are looking to add their opinion forcibly. They may also use it to relay unimportant information. Both of these cases are the incorrect use of the phrase.
Acceptable Ways to Phrase Chime In
You can use “chime in” in a conversation when you want to add your opinion to the subject matter. It’s a polite way of interrupting the flow of the conversation without making yourself look arrogant. Typically, you’ll use the phrase when you want to add value to the conversation, not to make a request.