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Related to pencil in: penicillin
1. To write something in pencil, especially so that one retains the ability to change or erase it later. A noun or pronoun can be used between "pencil" and "in." Why don't we just pencil in the dates we'd like, and we can go back and change them if they're not available? Pencil your answers in, and I'll check them when I'm done with work.
2. By extension, to schedule or plan something for a tentative or temporary time or date. A noun or pronoun can be used between "pencil" and "in." Let's pencil in the meeting for December 15th—if there are any issues with the date, we can always change it. They're going to pencil the appointment in for 2 PM.
3. To tentatively or temporarily schedule one for an appointment (that may or may not change). A noun or pronoun can be used between "pencil" and "in." I need to have a date in the system, so I'll just pencil you in for the middle of July—just change it online once you've picked a date you're happy with. They penciled us in for 2 PM, so if we can't make it we have to let them know in advance.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
pencil someone or something in
to write in something with a pencil. (Implies that the writing is not final.) This isn't a firm appointment yet, so I will just pencil it in. I penciled in a tentative answer.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. To write something in with a pencil: The assistant penciled in the editorial changes on the manuscript. After the teacher reviewed my test, I penciled the corrections in.
2. To schedule something tentatively: The secretary penciled in a staff meeting for 3:00. The band penciled a rehearsal in on Friday.
3. To schedule a tentative appointment with someone: We penciled him in for lunch next Monday. The interviewers penciled in the applicant for the end of the week.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
pencil me in
Arrange for an event or appointment with the realization it may have to be canceled or changed, as a penciled note can be erased. For example, “I don’t know for sure if I can get to your meeting, but pencil me in.” This usage, from the late 1900s, persists even though it may refer to posting on an electronic device such as an iPad rather than writing in a diary. It is becoming a cliché.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer