What does the idiom "bring sth home to sb" mean?

The expression bring sth home to sb is one of the idioms that often finds a place in our literature and enriches our language. However, its meaning is not fully understood, so it is sometimes used in the wrong situations. Please review the explanation carefully for the correct use of the bring sth home to sb idiom.

Meaning of "bring sth home to sb"


The idiom “bring something home to someone” is used to describe a situation in which someone experiences a feeling or realization directly related to their own life. It is used when someone makes a connection between an idea or concept and themselves in a personal or meaningful way. This phrase allows you to express the idea that someone has had a realization that makes something especially relevant and true to them.


The phrase “bring something home to someone” has its roots in the 17th century. It has been documented in print as early as 1659, when an English poet named John Dryden used the expression in his work, The State of Innocence and the Fall of Man. In the poem, Dryden writes “Oh! Now I feel the smart, and adamantine chain, which brings home To my heart the crime of my forfeited reign.” Here, Dryden is using the phrase to show the moment of realization that comes when someone is made to feel the reality of a situation.


The idiom “bring something home to someone” is used frequently in everyday language. It is often used to express the idea that someone has been made aware of the gravity of a certain situation, and it can be used in both formal and informal contexts. This phrase can also be used to indicate that someone has had an epiphany or an “aha” moment.

Example Sentences

  • When I heard about the environmental costs of plastics, it really brought home to me the importance of reducing my own consumption.
  • It wasn't until I saw the documentary about animal rights abuses that the truth of the situation truly brought home to me.
  • The first time I heard the statistic that one in four women experience domestic violence, it brought home to me how widespread the issue is.

The meanings of the words in the "bring sth home to sb" idiom

Idioms with similar meanings in different languages

"Barking up the wrong tree" is an English idiom that means to pursue a mistaken or misguided course of action. In German, the similar idiom is "Auf dem Holzweg sein," which translates to "To be on the wrong track." This idiom emphasizes the idea that when you are pursuing the wrong course of action, you are not going to achieve your desired outcome.


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