Preaching to the Choir – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you looking for a way to tell someone that you’re fully agreeing with what they are saying and there’s no need to continue with the point they’re trying to make? If so, you could tell them they are “preaching to the choir.” This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.

Meaning

The expression “preaching to the choir” means that you’re talking to people already on board with what you’re saying. It means that you’re not adding any value to the conversation with what you’re saying. You’re arguing with people trying to get them to accept an ideology or concept that they already agree to.

The phrase can be a way of telling someone that you agree with them and you are aligned in your ideology. It can also be a way to tell someone that you find what they are saying is boring as it is not new information.

Example Usage

“I hear what you’re saying, Jim, and I’m with you. You’re preaching to the choir here. We need to get that person out of office this election.”

“You’re preaching to the choir Gareth, everyone here is already on the same page, and we’ve been investing in Bitcoin for years.”

“You’re preaching to the choir. I’m his biggest supporter, and I’ve been following him for years. I’m surprised you agree with all this.”

“Joe is over there preaching to the coir again. He always finds people that are in agreement with him and then banters on about things they already know.”

“Get on with it already, Mark; we’ve heard this all before, you’re preaching to the choir, and we’re all getting bored with it.”

Origin

The origin of the expression “preaching to the choir” is an adaptation of an earlier saying, “preaching to the converted.” The use of this original format of the saying in writing goes back to “The Times” in 1857, where it appears as follows.

“It is an old saying that to preach to the converted is a useless office, and I may add that to preach to the unconvertible is a thankless office.”

“Preaching to the choir” is a uniquely American expression. The first written use of the phrase in its modern format comes from “The Lima News” in Ohio in 1973, where it appears as follows.

“He said he felt like the minister who was preaching to the choir. That is, to the people who always come to church, but not the ones who need it most.”

Phrases Similar to Preaching to the Choir

  • I’m with you.
  • I get it.
  • With you all the way.
  • Picking up what you’re putting down.

Phrases Opposite to Preaching to the Choir

  • We are at loggerheads.
  • There is a tie-breaker / deal-breaker.
  • Total disagreement.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Preaching to the choir.
  • Preach to the choir.

Ways People May Say Preaching to the Choir Incorrectly

The phrase has nothing to do with choirs. A pastor or priest preaching directly to the choir is not the correct use of the expression. It’s a way of telling people that you fully support what they are saying.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Preaching to the Choir

You can use “preaching to the choir” in social and professional conversations. You could use it with friends, your partner, your kids, your manager, or your boss.

The expression suits situations when you’re trying to let someone know that you’re in full agreement with them and understand what they are trying to express.

Usually, the saying has a positive connotation. However, people may use it to tell someone that what they are saying is boring and adds no value to the conversation.

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