Too Close to Home: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
November 5, 2023

The idiom "too close to home" means something personal, sensitive, or emotionally affecting. It usually implies that someone feels uncomfortable, offended, or hurt by a remark, situation, or information about their life or experiences.

In short:

  • It expresses discomfort or pain caused by something that is too personal or relevant to one's own situation.

What Does "Too Close to Home" Mean?

The idiom "too close to home" can have different meanings depending on the speaker's context and tone. However, the general idea is that something is so close to one's reality or feelings that it causes discomfort, distress, or emotional pain.

Some possible meanings are:

  • Something is too personal or private to be discussed or revealed in public.
  • Something is too relevant or similar to one's situation or experiences.
  • Something is too offensive or hurtful to one's identity, values, or beliefs.
  • Something is too realistic or accurate to be enjoyable or entertaining.

Where Does "Too Close to Home" Come From?

The origin of the idiom "too close to home" is unclear, but it may have something to do with the idea of home as a place of comfort, security, and privacy. Something too close to home invades or threatens one's personal space, safety, or secrets.

10 Examples of "Too Close to Home" in Sentences

Here are some examples of how this idiom can be used in different sentences:

  • The recent crime news was too close to home for our neighborhood.
  • Her story about struggling with addiction felt too close to home for me.
  • His comments about financial responsibility were hitting too close to home.
  • I don't like watching movies about cancer. They hit too close to home for me.
  • She was offended by his joke about divorce. It struck too close to home for her.
  • She was scared when she heard the gunshots. They were too close to home for her.
  • The documentary's portrayal of the pandemic hit too close to home for many viewers.
  • She couldn't relate to the characters in the book. They were too close to home for her.
  • He was embarrassed when they exposed his secrets. They were too close to home for him.
  • She felt uncomfortable when he asked her about her salary. It was too close to home for her.

Examples of "Too Close to Home" in Pop Culture

Here are some examples of how this idiom has been used in various forms of pop culture:

  • "Too Close to Home" is the title of a 2016 American television drama series created by Tyler Perry. The series follows the lives of a family involved in a political scandal.
  • "Too Close to Home" is a 2006 British crime novel by Linwood Barclay. The novel tells the story of a journalist who investigates the murder of his neighbors.
  • "Too Close to Home" by Kolohe Kai is a new song released on August 18, 2023, on all streaming platforms. It is a song written with the deepest sympathies and condolences for all those devastated by the Maui fires in July 2023. The song is meant to encourage and comfort anyone affected by the disaster and show they are not alone in pain and loss.
  • The movie "Too Close to Home," directed by Bill Corcoran, is a TV movie that was released in 1997. It is a drama thriller about a mother obsessed with her adult son and trying to prevent him from leaving her and marrying a beautiful nurse.

Other Ways to Say "Too Close to Home"

Here are some synonyms and alternative expressions for this idiom:

  • Hit a nerve
  • Too painful
  • Cut too deep
  • Too realistic
  • Too relevant
  • Too personal
  • Too sensitive
  • Strike a chord
  • Touch a raw nerve
  • Too uncomfortable

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Too Close to Home"

Here are some frequently asked questions about this idiom:

  • What does "too close to home" mean?

The idiom "in fairness" introduces a more balanced or reasonable statement than a previous one. It often implies that the speaker is trying to be fair or impartial or acknowledge another viewpoint.

  • What is the origin of the phrase "too close to home"?

The origin of the idiom "too close to home" is unclear, but it may have something to do with the idea of home as a place of comfort, security, and privacy. Something too close to home invades or threatens one's personal space, safety, or secrets.

  • What is the difference between "too close to home" and "hit home"?

"Too close to home" means something is very personal, sensitive, or emotionally affecting and causes discomfort or pain. "Hit Home" means something is conspicuous, prominent, or convincing and causes realization or understanding.

  • Is "too close to home" consistently negative?

No, "too close to home" can also be used positively or neutrally, depending on the speaker's context and tone. It can mean something is familiar, relatable, or meaningful and causes appreciation or connection.

  • Is "too close to home" only used for personal experiences?

No, it can also refer to situations or topics that are emotionally resonant or relevant to a group or community. For example, "The news of the natural disaster hitting the neighboring town was too close to home for our community."

  • Can this idiom be used in professional settings?

Yes, it can be used in professional settings when something relates closely to one's work or industry. For instance, "The economic downturn's impact on the company hit too close to home for the CEO."

  • Is there a similar idiom with a different meaning?

Yes, "hit home" is a similar idiom that means something has made a deep and emotional impact on someone. It's often used interchangeably with "too close to home."

  • Can "too close to home" be used to describe physical proximity?

While the idiom primarily deals with emotional or personal relevance, it can occasionally be used to describe physical proximity when something is uncomfortably close to one's residence or location.

  • How can I use this idiom effectively in conversation?

Use this idiom when you want to express that a particular topic, situation, or experience feels very personal or relevant to you or someone else. Make sure the context fits the idiom's meaning.

  • Are there cultural variations in how this idiom is understood?

The basic meaning of the idiom is generally consistent across English-speaking cultures, but its usage and interpretation may vary slightly depending on regional or cultural nuances.

Final Thoughts About "Too Close to Home"

The idiom "too close to home" is a common and versatile expression that can be used in different contexts and situations. It can mean that something is too personal, sensitive, or relevant to one's position or feelings or is too near or similar to one's own experience or reality.

In summary:

  • It is both an idiom and a metaphor.
  • It can be used with different variations.
  • It can be used negatively or positively or in a question or a statement.
  • It has some synonyms and antonyms that have similar or opposite meanings.
  • It has been used in various forms of pop culture, such as movies, TV shows, books, etc.

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