The lights are on, but nobody's home In english explanation

The meaning, explanation, definition and origin of the idiom/phrase "The lights are on, but nobody's home", English Idiom Dictionary ( also found in Vietnamese )

author Zelda Thuong calendar 2021-04-05 01:04

Meaning of The lights are on, but nobody's home

The lights are on, but nobody's home saying informal

It is a humorous expression used to say that someone is stupid, unthinking, or inattentive.

What is going on with John today? It’s like the lights are on but nobody’s home.

Hello, Pete? Earth to Pete. He must be daydreaming again—the lights are on, but no one's home.

Don’t try discussing anything intelligent with Alice. The lights are on but nobody’s home, I’m afraid.

Grammar and Usage of The lights are on, but nobody's home

Beside this idiom, we can also use "the lights are on but no one's home" with the same meaning.

Origin of The lights are on, but nobody's home

(Image source: slideserve.com)

This sentence was used since at least the late 1980s. When all the lights are on inside a house, we expect that house to be occupied. It is unusual for a house to be fully-lit when its occupants are out. This expression uses such an occurrence to describe a person who seems fully functional and animated but who is ‘vacant,’ or, in other words, unintelligent or unaware.

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Stick it in Your Ear

Shut up

Example:

Stick your ear with it! I didn't ask your opinion.

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