strike a chord: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘strike a chord’ mean?

"Strike a chord" is an idiom that means to evoke a strong emotional response or resonate with someone. It can refer to a song, a speech, or any form of expression that deeply impacts or connects with people on an emotional level.

Idiom Explorer

Melodic Harmonies Unleashed

The idiom "strike a chord" is a commonly used expression in the English language. It has its roots in music, where striking a chord involves playing multiple notes simultaneously on a stringed instrument like a piano or guitar. This action creates a harmonious sound, and this concept of harmony is transferred to the figurative meaning of the idiom. When something "strikes a chord" with someone, it elicits a strong emotional or intellectual response from them, indicating a resonance or familiarity with a particular topic or idea.

The origins of the idiomatic usage are somewhat uncertain, but it is likely that the phrase emerged from the world of music and found its way into broader usage due to the natural association between harmonious musical chords and the resonance of certain ideas or emotions within individuals.

The versatility of this idiom allows it to be used in various contexts. For instance, one might say that a poem "strikes a chord" with them, meaning that it elicits a strong emotional response. Similarly, a speech or piece of writing might "strike a chord" with its audience if it resonates with their own beliefs or experiences.

The music's resonance created an emotional connection.

One related idiom that is often used interchangeably with "strike a chord" is "hit home." This phrase suggests that something has had a profound emotional impact on someone. When something "hits home," it deeply resonates with a person, often evoking a strong emotional response. In a similar vein, when something "strikes a chord," it also elicits a powerful emotional or intellectual reaction.

The idiom "strike a blow" is another related expression that shares some similarities with "strike a chord." When someone "strikes a blow," they are metaphorically delivering a forceful or impactful action or statement. This can be seen as similar to the emotional or intellectual impact that something can have when it "strikes a chord." Both idioms imply a sense of significance and resonance, whether it be through an emotional or intellectual response, or through action and forcefulness.

The continued popularity of the idiom "strike a chord" is a testament to its expressive nature and its ability to convey a deep connection or resonance with a particular subject. It is commonly employed in both formal and informal settings, spanning different domains such as literature, music, and everyday conversation. The figurative use of this idiom allows individuals to communicate complex emotional or intellectual responses using a simple and easily understandable phrase.

The widespread usage and enduring popularity of the idiom suggest that it holds a significant place in the English language. The simplicity and clarity of the expression, combined with its deep emotional connotations, make it a valuable tool for capturing a range of human experiences. As language continues to evolve, it is intriguing to consider how the idiom "strike a chord" will continue to adapt and be used to encapsulate the complexities of human emotion and connection.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom *strike a chord* can be used in a sentence:

  • The poem struck a chord with the audience, evoking emotions and memories.
  • Her speech about inequality struck a chord with many people, leading to a passionate discussion.
  • The movie's theme of family reconciliation struck a chord with viewers, resonating with their personal experiences.

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