Preaching to the Choir: What does “Preaching to the Choir” Mean?

Last Updated on March 18, 2020

What does “Preaching to the Choir” Mean? An idiom is figurative speech that is used to translate a thought or expression. Most of them date back hundreds of years and are still used today in every day conversation. One popular idiomatic phrase still used today is “preaching to the choir.” Here you will find the meaning of this phrase, the story of where the phrase originated from, examples of how it is used in every day conversation/statements and other ways to say the phrase to convey the same meaning.

Preaching to the Choir

Preaching to the Choir Meaning

When you are telling someone something that they already know or arguing an opinion that they already agree with, you are said to be “preaching to the choir.”

Origin of this idiom

This phrase began in the 1800s, but back then it was “preaching to the converted.” It was used to describe preachers on Sunday who preached to their congregation about accepting God in their lives when they obviously already had, otherwise they would not be present in church. Sometime in the 1970s the phrase was changed to “preaching to the choir,” but the meaning was still inherently the same.

“Preaching to the Choir” Examples

Examples in Statements

A news story in the local paper.

  • “Mrs. Brisbee was feverishly attempting to argue her position about the proposed building of the new casino within city limits, but it was clear to see that she was preaching to the choir because many people are just as outraged by the notion.”

A sports commentator during a sporting event.

  • “The quarterback needs to stop complaining about the refs to his coach. It is clear to see that he is preaching to the choir.”

Examples in Conversation

A conversation taking place between two employees.

  • Employee 1: We really need new computers around the office. The ones we have are old and slow.
  • Employee 2: No argument there, my friend, you are preaching to the choir.

A conversation between a student and teacher.

  • Student: We really need to bring awareness among students to just how important this global warming situation is.
  • Teacher: You are preaching to the choir there, Sabrina, but just how do you propose we do that?

More useful examples:

  • Not only was he preaching to the choir, he was talking to tax-cutting evangelists.
  • He is preaching to the choir of religious-right Protestants and conservative Catholics whose votes should already be locked up.

Other Ways to Say “Preaching to the Choir”

There are many other ways to say this phrase and convey the same meaning. For instance, you could say tell me something I don’t know already, I totally agree with you or you aren’t telling me something I don’t already know.

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