What meaning exactly the expression: 'peering under the hood'. Where I can use it?

I found this expression in the next text:

Embracing module thinking is understanding that complexity is, ultimately, inescapable. At the same time, that complexity can be swept under an interface, hardly to ever be seen or thought of again. But, and here’s one of the tricky parts, the interface needs to be well-designed so that its users don’t become frustrated. That frustration could even lead us to peering under the hood and finding that the implementation is vastly more complex than the poor interface we’re frustrated by, and maybe if the interface didn’t exist in the first place, we’d be better off in terms of maintainability and readability.

In google I found the article Peering Under the Hood of Africa's Runners and Peering under the Hood of Rules-Based Portfolio Construction


1 Answer 1


Literally it means looking under the hood of a vehicle at the engine.

(Note that "hood" is US English - in UK English we call the front of a vehicle that lifts up to reveal the engine the bonnet).

But this is often used in a broader way, metaphorically, to mean looking at the inner workings of anything, not just a vehicle engine. For example, tech reviews often speak about what is under the hood, meaning the technical specifications inside a device.

Also, in my opinion the metaphorical use does seem to be more popular in US English. I've never heard the UK equivalent "bonnet" used this way. And if you are writing mainly for a US audience, don't worry about confusing UK audiences - we watch so many US movies and TV shows that we easily understand US idioms.

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