in the groove

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Originally mid-19th century slang with (usually pejorative) reference to the difficulty of leaving a well-worn rut (see in a rut). As back in the groove, the phrase acquired a positive sense of returning to one's usual self after a period of illness, setbacks, &c. With special regard for music, originally 1920s US jazz slang, possibly with reference to the grooves of early records.

Prepositional phrase[edit]

in the groove

  1. Used other than figuratively or idiomatically: see in,‎ groove.
    • 1869, J.E.T. Rogers's preface to Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, Vol. I, p. 27:
      The whole course of legislation... had flowed in the same groove for centuries.
    • 1932 Oct., Melody Maker, p. 836:
      ...having such a wonderful time which puts me in a groove...
  2. (colloquial) Running or performing extremely smoothly, especially (music, slang) playing perfectly, perfectly in sync with others, or with perfect focus.
    • 1933 Aug., Fortune, p. 90:
      The jazz musicians gave no grandstand performances; they simply got a great burn from playing in the groove.

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