Sound Like a Broken Record: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
September 21, 2023

The expression "sound like a broken record" describes someone who repeatedly says the same thing, much like a damaged vinyl record that skips and repeats a section repeatedly. Depending on context, the phrase often carries a humorous or critical tone.

In short:

"Sound like a broken record" means to repetitively say the same thing or bring up the same point.

What Does "Sound Like a Broken Record" Mean?

The idiom describes a person or thing that continually repeats the same statement or idea, much like how a scratched vinyl record would skip and repeat a certain section of a song. The repetition can be annoying or tedious to the listener.

  • It often implies redundancy or being tiresome.
  • It can be used humorously or critically.
  • It is not always negative; it can indicate persistence.

While this is the primary meaning, variations might focus on the repetitive nature rather than the annoyance it causes.

Where Does "Sound Like a Broken Record" Come From?

The phrase traces back to the era of vinyl records. If a record was scratched or damaged, the needle could become stuck in a groove, causing a section of the song to play repeatedly until manually adjusted.

Historical References

"I know I sound like a broken record, but we cannot cut our way to prosperity." - This quote, attributed to various figures over time, emphasizes the repetitive nature of the statement in political and economic debates.

10 Examples of "Sound Like a Broken Record" in Sentences

Using "sound like a broken record" can emphasize various statements. Here are some examples:

  • I don't want to sound like a broken record, but this is the set price, and it's not negotiable.
  • She keeps asking the same question; she's starting to sound like a broken record.
  • At every meeting, he brings up the same issue. Doesn't he sound like a broken record to you?
  • I know I sound like a broken record, but can we put a pin in it and revisit this topic later?
  • We get it; you don't like the policy. You don't have to sound like a broken record.
  • Sound like a broken record much? You've told that story three times today.
  • I might sound like a broken record with this lame joke, but it always makes me laugh!
  • Sorry to sound like a broken record, but have you finished the assignment?
  • I know I sound like a broken record, but did you get the gist of what I was saying?
  • I've repeated my concerns so many times that I sound like a broken record, but it's been to no avail; they still don't understand.

Examples of "Sound Like a Broken Record" in Pop Culture

This phrase has also found its way into pop culture, symbolizing the repetition of words, phrases, or thoughts.

Let's look at some examples:

  • In the song "Broken Record" by Katy B, the repetitive nature of a broken record is used as a metaphor for constant thoughts about a loved one.
  • The TV show "How I Met Your Mother" often has characters emphasizing the redundancy of their friends' stories, referencing the idiom indirectly.
  • In a "Friends" episode, Chandler is told he sounds like a broken record for continuously talking about his relationship troubles.

Other/Different Ways to Say "Sound Like a Broken Record"

There are numerous ways to express the same idea of "sound like a broken record."

Here's a list of alternatives:

  • Repeating oneself
  • Going over the same ground
  • Beating a dead horse

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Sound Like a Broken Record":

  • What does "sound like a broken record" mean?

It means to repetitively say the same thing or bring up the same point, often to the point of being annoying or tiresome.

  • Where did the phrase originate?

It originated from the era of vinyl records where a scratch could cause the needle to skip and repeat a section of a song.

  • Is it a negative expression?

Not always. While it often indicates something redundant or tiresome, it can simply highlight repetition.

  • Can it be used humorously?

Yes, it can be used in a light-hearted manner, especially among friends.

  • Is there a modern equivalent to digital music?

Not directly, as digital music doesn't "skip" in the same way vinyl did. However, the phrase remains in use due to its recognized meaning.

  • How can I use this phrase in a sentence?

You might say, "I don't want to sound like a broken record, but did you do your homework?"

  • Is the phrase outdated?

While its origins come from older technology, the phrase itself is still widely understood and used today.

  • Does it have variations in other languages?

Yes, many languages have their idioms that convey repetition, though they might not reference "records."

  • Can it be used in professional settings?

It can, but it's best to gauge the formality of the situation. In a very formal setting, a more direct approach might be better.

  • Is it used in literature or pop culture?

Yes, the phrase has been referenced in songs, TV shows, movies, and books.

Final Thoughts About "Sound Like a Broken Record"

The idiom "sound like a broken record" is often used when someone wants to point out that something is being repeatedly said or emphasized. It might be someone reiterating an important point, nagging about a task, or even an individual who's sharing the same story for the tenth time. Regardless of the context, when you hear this idiom, it's a clue that there's repetition involved.

Here's a quick wrap-up:

  • It highlights repetition, sometimes to the point of annoyance.
  • The phrase is versatile, fitting various contexts from humorous to critical.
  • Despite its origins in vinyl record technology, it remains relevant and understood even in the digital age.

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