“Homed in” or “Honed in”: Main Differences & How to Use Both Correctly as a Writer

Have you ever wondered if you should write “homed in” or “honed in”? Despite their frequent interchangeability, these terms have different origins and meanings.

This post will discuss how to properly use the terms “honed in” vs “homed in,” offering clarification and concrete examples to help you choose your words. We will also outline the differences between Homed in vs Honed in.

What Is The Meaning of Honed In?

Honed In: The term “hone in” comes from the verb “hone,” which means to sharpen or improve. You are concentrating or honing your attention or abilities toward a certain objective or goal when you “hone in” on something.

What Is The Meaning of Homed In?

Conversely, the term “homed in” is derived from the idea of homing pigeons, which are remarkably adept at finding their way back home. “Home in” refers to the act of moving toward or aiming at a particular location or goal.

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When To Use “Homed in” vs “Honed in

Phrasal verbs “hone in” and “hone in on” can be used metaphorically to refer to focusing on something or someone.

Though some people substitute these expressions for “home in” and “home in on,” it’s not accepted as conventional usage.

You can completely avoid using either by writing zero in if you’re unsure whether to use hone in or home in.

To focus entirely on something or aim something precisely toward something else is to “zero in.” As an illustration, “He lifted the binoculars and focused on a room on the eleventh floor.”

Examples of “Honed In” Used in Sentences

Here are some examples of “hone in” and “honed in on” being used in sentences

  • You’ll need to hone in on a few more skills if you want to win the competition.
  • Researchers are working to hone in on the cause of the disease.
  • The poem uses a flowery and ostentatious style to hone in on its themes.
  • She honed in on the details of the painting to make sure everything was accurate.
  • He honed in on the weak points in his argument to strengthen it.
  • Through practice, she honed in on her soccer skills.

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Examples of “Homed In” Used In Sentences

  •  After years of traveling the world, she finally decided to homed in on creating a stable and prosperous life.
  • The homing pigeon was trained to home in on its owner’s location, flying back to the loft with remarkable accuracy.
  • With the scent of freshly baked cookies in the air, the children quickly began to home in on the kitchen, eager for a tasty treat.
  • The detective began to home in on the suspect’s whereabouts, narrowing down the search to a specific neighborhood

Difference Between “Homed In” vs “Honed In”

Homed was originally used as a noun. However, over time the verb homed was used in a more technological context to refer to the act of moving or being aimed toward a destination with great accuracy.

For instance, an arrow traveling toward its target homes into its destination.

Examples of sentences using homed in include:

  • – The missile utilized radio signals to home in on the military target
  •  After discussing for an hour, we started to home in on a decision.
  • My dog swiftly *homed in* on the squirrel in the tree.

Hone is a verb that means to sharpen a knife or enhance a skill. However, it’s the transition and shift from *home* as a noun to a verb that led to the phrase honing in.

Hone in signifies moving towards a goal and is often used with on, resulting in hone in on. The phrase also means to concentrate attention. However, many people view this phrase as a mistake, and an example of simply using the wrong verb, since *hone* means “to sharpen.”

According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, hone in or *home in* can be used, but home in better conveys your idea.

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How To Know When To Use “Homed In” vs “Honed In” In A Sentence

Both hone in and hone in on are phrasal verbs that are used figuratively to mean to target something or someone.

However, while some people use these phrases as an alternative to home in and home in on, it’s not considered standard usage.

If you’re still unsure whether to use honed in and homed in, you can avoid them altogether by using zero in.

To zero in means to focus all of your attention on something, or to aim something directly at a specific target. For example, “He raised the binoculars and zeroed in on an eleventh-floor room.”

FAQs On Homed in or Honed in

Is it honed in or homed in?

Both are used, but home in does a better job of hitting the mark. Home may be much more commonly used as a noun than as a verb, but it is used as a verb in the expression to home in on, meaning “to find and move directly toward (someone or something).” Think of a homing pigeon to remember this usage.

How to use homed in a sentence?

In verb form, home (as in “to home in on”) means “to move or be aimed toward a destination or target with great accuracy.” Missiles home in on targets. The left fielder homed in on the fly ball.

How do you use hone in correctly?

Home in and hone in are commonly confused phrases that both refer to narrowing in on a particular topic. Home in means to locate and move toward something. Hone in means to focus on something.

What are the synonyms of honed in?

Words you can use in place of honed in are; Pointed. Aimed. Homed (in on). Zeroed (in on). Focused.


Homed in and honed in are two versions of a phrasal verb that means to narrow one’s focus or draw closer to a conclusion. Although hone in on is a common phrase, many people consider it an error for home in on.

Both phrases illustrate how fluid language can be and how meanings and usage can evolve.


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