Sound like a broken record

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To sound like a broken record is an idiom that is based on a technology that is rapidly disappearing. An idiom is a figure of speech that is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. We will examine the definition of the expression to sound like a broken record, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

To sound like a broken record means to repeat something over and over in an annoying fashion. The phrase comes from certain characteristics of a vinyl record, also known as a phonograph record. When a vinyl record has a scratch or a divot, it may either skip over a section while playing or repeat the same section over and over again until the needle is manually moved across the record. A vinyl record is a disc that is a medium for playing back audio, most often music, on a phonograph that uses a needle to read the record. The phonograph was invented by Thomas Edison in 1877 and used tinfoil cylinders rather than records. Today, the compact disc, streaming music and iPod have largely replaced the vinyl record, though some music aficionados still prefer the rich sound generated by a vinyl record. The expression sound like a broken record, first recorded in 1940, is an idiom that is based on a technology that most people no longer use. It will be interesting to see if it survives in the English language.


KUALA LUMPUR: The DAP had been likened to a “broken record” for harping on the same stale issues against 1Malaysia People’s Housing Programme (PR1MA). (The New Straits Times)

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it has been slow and steady! (The Shreveport Times)

“I sometimes sound like a broken record, but flu can be serious,” Person said. (The Tri-City Herald)