In the Longman Exams Coach software, about "let somebody in on something" the following definition was given:

to tell something that is secret or only known by a few people

Also, some example sentences:

▪ TV chef Raymond Blanc lets us in on the secrets of his kitchen.

▪ Would someone mind letting me in on the joke?

What are the synonyms for that phrase?

2 Answers 2


First, allow me to further explain the phrase for you. "To let someone in on something" creates the mental image of a club. You can imagine that this club has a building, a clubhouse, for their members. The people inside the clubhouse understand a secret that only they know. You are asking to be allowed (let) inside the clubhouse, where everyone understands the secret. Thus, you are asking for an explanation of the secret.

Synonyms for the phrase become obvious at this point.

TV chef Raymond Blanc will explain the secret things he does in the kitchen that enables him to cook better than other people.

I see that everyone here is laughing, but I don't know why. Would you please explain the shared history that you all possess which makes the current situation funny?

Reveal your secrets.

Explain what I don't understand.

Teach me about this.

I don't "get it", but I want to (get it).


"Let in" literally to bring someone in to something.

"Let in the cat." is the most literal usage of "let in" . It can be written as:

"Bring in the cat." or "Take the cat into the house."

In the context of "Would someone mind letting me in on the joke?" , it means the same thing but figuratively. Just as someone brings a cat into a house,someone can bring you into the context of the joke. So think of it as "To give context" or to "clue in".

So it can also be written: "Would someone please explain the joke to me?" or "Please explain the ~ joke to me."

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