Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
1. A gathering focused on personal pleasure involving music, drugs, and sexual acts. Margaret reminisced about when she used to attend love-ins in the '60s.
2. A situation involving lavish mutual praise and admiration. The office party became a love-in as the managers all congratulated each other on their various accomplishments.
Someone or something that is predicted to easily win a competition. Julia is a shoo-in for this year's spelling bee—she's the best speller in the whole town.
1. verb To force entry into something, often a building. They called the police as soon as they heard someone break in downstairs. I had to break in—I didn't have my house key, and no one else was home!
2. verb To interrupt someone or something. I'm sorry to break in, but I have some information that might help. Mom is always using the phone in her office to break in on my conversations!
3. verb To use an object or item enough that it begins to feel comfortable or be more easily usable. Often said of shoes. In this usage, a noun can be used between "break" and "in." It took a while to break in my new leather boots, but they sure are comfy now.
4. verb To teach or train someone to do a new job or task and thereby raise their level of experience beyond that of a novice. Don't worry, I'll break in the new hire before I assign her to your project.
5. verb To destroy a physical structure. In this usage, a noun can be used between "break" and "in." I'll break this door in if you don't come out here right now!
6. noun An instance of forced entry into something, often a building. In this usage, the phrase is usually hyphenated. This neighborhood has had a lot of break-ins recently. A shattered window is often evidence of a break-in.
A shelving unit, bookcase, or other storage unit that is built into the walls of a house or building. I'm disappointed that the closets in the house are so small, but at least there are plenty of built-ins.
1. verb To collapse into a hollow area below, as of a physical structure or formation. We were able to get the kids out of the house before the roof caved in.
2. verb To collapse, faint, or die, as from over-exertion. I hardly remember the end of the marathon because I caved in as soon as I crossed the finish line.
3. verb To submit, concede, or yield (to someone or something); to surrender or acknowledge defeat. Under the threat of a strike, the management caved in and agreed to reinstate annual pay increases for all employees.
4. noun A collapse into a hollow area below, as of a physical structure or formation. When used as a noun, the phrase is usually hyphenated. The fear of every miner is a cave-in.
1. verb To enter a particular place or thing while driving. Turn left and then drive into the parking garage.
2. verb To hit someone or something while driving. That guy fell asleep at the wheel and drove into a crowd of people at the parade. I lost control of my car and drove into a row of shopping carts.
3. verb To force something into another material or substance by hitting it. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "drive" and "in" or "into." To drive this nail into the wall, you really need to put some muscle behind it.
4. verb In baseball, to hit the ball and cause a runner (or runners) to score. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "drive" and "in." And with that triple, Green drove in two runs.
See also: drive
1. noun An outdoor movie theater in which people sit in their cars in front of a large screen. This phrase can also be used as an adjective to describe such a theater. I wish there were more drive-ins around here—watching a movie in your car with your family can be a lot of fun.
2. noun A restaurant where food (usually fast food) is served to patrons while they sit in their cars. Let's go get a burger at the drive-in.
3. adjective Describing the part of a business designed to serve customers seated in their cars. Here's the order for the guy who's waiting at the drive-in window.
the ins and outs
The particular details and nuances of a situation, task, etc. I'm not surprised he made such a stupid mistake—he doesn’t know the ins and outs of this business.
1. verb To vote for a candidate not listed on the ballot by writing their name in a space provided. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "write" and "in." So many people wrote in Mrs. Daley for the position that she was nearly elected. He didn't win the primary, but a lot of people are saying they're going to write him in during the general election.
2. verb To add something to a document by writing it. It's OK if you've already printed it out—you can just write in the missing footnote at the bottom of the page.
3. verb To add something to a work of fiction, such as a story or script, often in order to satisfy some requirement. The studio wants us to write in a few more action scenes. Have you seen the new season? They wrote in a new sister character.
4. verb To send a message to an organization by mail or email. That's it for this week's show. Don't forget to write in and tell us about your favorite memories for our anniversary special. I wrote in to ask for a refund, and I actually got one.
5. noun A candidate not listed on the ballot who receives votes from voters who write the candidate's name in a space provided; or a vote for such a candidate. In this usage, the phrase is hyphenated. He's not registered for any party, but he says he's trying to win as a write-in. There were a lot of write-ins. Someone voted for Daffy Duck.
break in(on someone)
1. to burst into a place and violate some one's privacy. The police broke in on him at his home and arrested him. They needed a warrant to break in.
2. to interrupt someone's conversation. (See also break in (on something).) If you need to talk to me, just break in on me. Feel free to break in if it's an emergency.
(on something) to interrupt something; to intrude upon something. (See also break in (on someone).) I didn't mean to break in on your discussion. Please don't break in on us just now. This is important.
break in (to something or some place)
to force entry into a place criminally; to enter some place forcibly for the purpose of robbery or other illegal acts. The thugs broke into the liquor store. They broke in and took all the money.
break someone in
to train someone to do a new job; to supervise someone who is learning to do a new job. Who will break the new employee in? I have to break in a new receptionist.
break something in
1. Lit. to crush or batter something to pieces; to break something down. Why are you breaking the door in? Here's the key! Who broke in the door?
2. Fig. to use a new device until it runs well and smoothly; to wear shoes, perhaps a little at a time, until they feel comfortable. I can't drive at high speed until I break this car in. I want to go out this weekend and break in the car. The new shoes hurt her feet because they were not yet broken in.
[for a roof or ceiling] to collapse. The roof of the mine caved in when no one was there. The tunnel caved in on the train.
cave in (to someone or something)
Fig. to give in to someone or something. Finally, the manager caved in to the customer's demands. I refuse to cave in under pressure from my opponent.
ins and outs (of something)
the correct and successful way to do something; the special things that one needs to know to do something. I don't understand the ins and outs of politics. Jane knows the ins and outs of repairing computers.
write in (to something) (for something)
to send a written request to something for something in particular. Please write in for a detailed recipe of all the dishes on today's program. I am going to write in for a clarification.
write someone in (on something)
to write the name of someone in a special place on a ballot, indicating a vote for the person. (Done when the person's name is not already printed on the ballot.) Please write my name in on the ballot. I wrote in your name on the ballot.
1. Enter by force, as in The thieves broke in through the back door. [Mid-1500s]Also see break into.
2. Also, break in on. Interrupt or disturb something unexpectedly, as in His assistant broke in with the bad news just as we were ready to sign the agreement, or He broke in on our private talks. [Mid-1600s]
3. Train or instruct someone in a new job or enterprise, as in Every semester she had to break in a new teaching assistant. [Late 1700s]
4. Loosen or soften with use, as in It takes a while to break in a pair of new shoes.
1. Fall in, collapse, as in The earthquake made the walls cave in. [Early 1700s]
2. Give in, admit defeat, as in The prosecutor's questions soon made the witness cave in. [Early 1800s]
3. Collapse, faint, or die from exhaustion, as in After a twenty-mile hike I caved in. [Mid-1800s]
ins and outs
1. The intricate details of a situation or process. For example, It takes a newcomer some time to learn the ins and outs of the legislative process, or David really knows the ins and outs of how this engine works. This usage alludes to the tortuous windings and turnings of a road or path. [Second half of 1600s]
2. Those with position and influence and those without, especially those in office versus those who are not, as in "Juan stood well both with Ins and Outs" (Byron, Don Juan, 1823). [Mid-1700s]
1. Cast a vote by inserting a name not listed on the ballot, as in He asked them to write in his name as a candidate. [c. 1930]
2. Insert in a text or document, as in Please don't write in your corrections on the printed pages, but list them separately. [Late 1300s]
3. Communicate with an organization by mail, as in Listeners are being asked to write in their requests. [1920s]
the ins and outs
COMMON The ins and outs of a situation or subject are all the complicated details or facts about it. Lawyers will no doubt debate the legal ins and outs of this case. There are many helpful books that can advise on the ins and outs of dieting in great detail.
the ins and outsall the details of something.
the ˌins and ˈouts (of something)all the details of something, which are often difficult to understand: It would take me too long to explain all the ins and outs of the problem. ♢ I don’t know all the ins and outs of the case.
1. To enter a place forcibly or illegally: While we were out of the house, a thief tried to break in.
2. To interrupt a conversation or discussion: We were talking about the weather when my friend broke in and said it was time to leave.
3. To loosen or soften something with use: I need to break in my new boots before I take any long hikes.
4. To train or domesticate an animal: Be sure to break in your puppies at an early age. The horses were very good to ride once the trainer had broken them in.
5. To accustom someone to a new task: The sergeant broke in the new recruits to the army way of life. It was hard to keep up with the work, but my colleagues broke me in gradually.
To give way; collapse: The sides of the snow fort caved in. The mine shaft caved in on a group of miners, but fortunately they were rescued.
1. To cast a vote by inserting some name not listed on a ballot: The members of the minority party wrote in their candidate's name on their ballots. Write me in for mayor in the next election!
2. To insert something in a text or document: I wrote in a disclaimer at the end of the article. You forgot to cite your sources for the paper, so I wrote them in for you.
3. To insert a character or scene into a narrative work: The editor insisted that the author write in a happy ending to the story. I revised the play and wrote some new characters in.
4. To communicate with some organization by mail: Please write in with a completed entry form.
the ins and outs
n. the fine points (of something); the details; the intricacies. I’m learning the ins and outs of this business.
1. n. an event during the 1960s where one or more couples made love in a public place. My uncle was at one of those love-ins, and he said if anything was going on, it was going on under blankets.
2. n. an event in the 1960s where everyone became euphoric—with the help of marijuana—about love and respect for their fellow humans. Everyone at the annual company love-in was throwing love bombs around at each other.
n. an easy winner. My horse was a shoo-in. It won by a mile.