Thinking Out Loud: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
January 9, 2024

"Thinking out loud" means speaking one's thoughts audibly rather than keeping them internal. It's a way of processing information or feelings by verbalizing them, often informally and spontaneously.

In short:

  • It means to say your thoughts as you are thinking them.
  • It's often used to process or clarify thoughts or to share them with others.

What Does "Thinking Out Loud" Mean?

"Thinking out loud" is a common expression used to describe the act of voicing thoughts as they occur. This can happen in various contexts, such as during brainstorming sessions, casual conversations, or while solving a problem. For instance, during a meeting, someone might say, "I'm just thinking out loud here," before suggesting an idea. This indicates that they are speaking their thoughts as they formulate them, often to gather feedback or to clarify their own understanding.

More about the term's meaning:

  • It's a way of verbally processing thoughts and ideas.
  • People use it to express thoughts that are still forming or not fully developed.
  • It often indicates that the speaker is exploring ideas, not stating final decisions.
  • It's common in collaborative settings where ideas are being developed and discussed.
  • Similar expressions include "speaking off the cuff" and "voicing one's thoughts."

Where Does "Thinking Out Loud" Come From?

The expression "thinking out loud" refers to voicing one's thoughts as they arise. The word "thinking" in this phrase comes from the Old English "þencan," meaning "to conceive in the mind or consider." "Out loud," an idiomatic expression, means "audibly" or "in a way that can be heard." Together, these terms create the phrase "thinking out loud," which describes articulating thoughts verbally, often as a method of processing information or ideas.

10 Examples of "Thinking Out Loud" in Sentences

To help you understand how and when to use this phrase, let's look at some examples from different situations:

  • While solving a math problem, he started thinking out loud to clarify his process.
  • She was thinking out loud during the brainstorming session, sharing her ideas as they came.
  • In the meeting, he said, "I'm just thinking out loud here," before proposing a new strategy.
  • "Give it a chance," she mused, thinking out loud about the new coffee shop that had opened downtown.
  • During the puzzle game, they were all thinking out loud to solve the clues together.
  • "They need compensation? So do we," he said, thinking out loud and seeking a nod from his team.
  • While thinking out loud, she declared, "The sky's the limit for our ambitions," her optimism filling the room.
  • During the debate, one participant started thinking out loud about the implications of a policy.
  • Amid a streak of bad luck, she found herself thinking out loud, trying to figure out how to turn her fortunes around.
  • Frustrated with the superficial discussion, he caught himself thinking out loud, "Let's cut the crap and talk about what matters."

Examples of "Thinking Out Loud" in Pop Culture

This phrase often appears in pop culture, particularly in scenarios where characters are processing their thoughts or feelings.

Here are some examples:

  • The song “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran is a well-known usage of this phrase.
  • In "Scarlosophy: Thinking Out Loud," Scarlet Jei Saoirse reflects on identity.
  • In the TV series "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (2000), a character humorously remarks, "I'm just, I'm thinking out loud."
  • The TV series "Thinking Out Loud" (2017), starring Greg McElroy and Marcus Spears, covers a wide range of topics in sports, offering insightful and candid discussions.

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say "Thinking Out Loud"

Here are some alternative phrases that express the same idea:

  • Voicing one's thoughts
  • Speaking off the cuff
  • Talking to oneself
  • Expressing thoughts verbally
  • Articulating thoughts
  • Musing aloud
  • Verbalizing thoughts
  • Brainstorming aloud
  • Extemporizing
  • Sharing thoughts spontaneously

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Thinking Out Loud":

  • What does "thinking out loud" mean?

"Thinking out loud" refers to the act of speaking your thoughts audibly as they occur, often to process or organize them.

  • How can I use "thinking out loud" in a sentence?

You can use it to describe verbally expressing thoughts as they come to mind. For example, "While solving the puzzle, she was thinking out loud," or "He often thinks out loud when planning his day.

  • Is "thinking out loud" used more in informal or formal settings?

It's typically used in more informal settings, like in casual conversations, brainstorming sessions, or personal reflections.

  • Can "thinking out loud" help in problem-solving?

Yes, it can help in organizing and clarifying thoughts, which is beneficial in problem-solving and creative processes.

  • Is it considered rude to think out loud?

It's not generally considered rude, but it depends on the context and whether it disrupts others around you.

  • Can "thinking out loud" be a sign of creativity?

Yes, many creative individuals find that thinking out loud helps in the generation and development of ideas.

  • Does "thinking out loud" mean the same as talking to oneself?

It's similar, but "thinking out loud" often implies that the thought process is ongoing and not fully formed yet.

  • Can "thinking out loud" be effective in group settings?

Yes, it can stimulate discussion and idea sharing in group settings, like meetings or brainstorming sessions.

  • Is "thinking out loud" a learned skill?

For some, it comes naturally, while others may develop it as a skill to aid in their thought process.

  • How can "thinking out loud" aid in learning?

It can help learners articulate and clarify their understanding of a subject, making it a useful tool in education.

Final Thoughts About "Thinking Out Loud"

"Thinking out loud" is a valuable idiom for processing thoughts and ideas. It's a spontaneous and natural way of exploring and organizing thoughts.

To recap:

  • It helps in expressing and organizing thoughts.
  • It is common in informal settings and creative processes.
  • It is helpful in group discussions and brainstorming.
  • It can be a natural inclination or a developed skill.

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

U.S Dictionary is the premier dictionary about the English language as used in the United States of America.
Copyright © 2024 - U.S. Dictionary
Privacy Policy