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In the loop and out of the loop

  • In the loop and out of the loop are two idioms that came into use during the 1960s and 1970s. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions such as no stone unturned,, jump the gun, let the cat out of the bag, hit the sack, Achilles heel, barking up the wrong tree, back to the drawing board, a dime a dozen, drop in the bucket, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, as they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker. We will examine the meaning of the expressions in the loop and out of the loop, where they came from and some examples of their use in sentences.


     

    In the loop means to be privy to the knowledge that is known by a certain group of people, to be informed about certain things known to a select few people. Out of the loop means to be left out of the knowledge that is known by a certain group of people, to be excluded from being informed about certain things known to a select few people. The terms in the loop and out of the loop came into use in the 1960s and 1970s. There is some disagreement as to where these idioms came from. Some say it is an evolution of terms used in aviation to describe the electronic control system of an aircraft. Others say that in the loop and out of the loop are derived from a military term, command-and-control feedback loop. This feedback loop describes the system of officers giving orders to enlisted men, and enlisted men reporting back to the officers.

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    Examples

    A month before President Trump is scheduled to meet for a second time with Kim Jong-un of North Korea, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan appealed to Mr. Trump to keep him in the loop as he seeks a disarmament deal with the North. (The New York Times)

    Interestingly, Gase said when Ross was absent, special steps were taken to keep him in the loop. (The Palm Beach Post)

    Groups that could be affected by a major overhaul of the province’s health system say they are troubled they have been left out of the loop. (The Toronto Star)

    During a brief gaggle with reporters at the base, Pence was asked why he seemed “a little bit out of the loop” on major events in the Trump administration. (The Hill Magazine)


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