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I have heard the phrase ‘I am in’ or ‘I am absolutely in’ (and similar variations) several times.

As I understand it, it means I agree with the idea and I will join you in your efforts.

Recently, I wanted to use this phrase in a written form and I thought perhaps my understanding was incorrect. I Googled the phrase to reassure myself that I understood it, but I still wasn't sure of the correct meaning.

I was not able to find a definitive answer. Frequently, the phrase was associated with other word(s) that completely changed the meaning.

For example:

In addition, this I am in seems to have the meaning of being accepted.

So what is the correct usage of the phrase ‘I am in’? Does it have more meanings? Can all of them be used in written (formal) form?

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    It's informal, so I would expect you to be more likely to find it under 'I'm in', rather than 'I am in' if that helps. – mcalex Jan 24 '13 at 16:15
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    Your first example is a contraction of I am with you, or I am in your group, eg I'm in your group. – spiceyokooko Jan 24 '13 at 16:27
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    Another way of expressing the questioned idea is "Count me in." Your understanding that it means agreement and intention to cooperate is good. – barbara beeton Jan 24 '13 at 16:42
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    I agree with mcalex that "I'm in" sounds better. This phrase is commonly used in gambling card games like Poker. Before a game begins, the dealer wants to know who is "in", i.e. who will pay the ante (a small sum of money, in order to play). As the game continues to the next phase, perhaps you didn't get very good cards and decide to inform the dealer "I'm out". At this point you can't make any more bets, and you won't be able to make any winnings, but you won't lose any more money either. So anyway, "I'm in" is a common expression, but it is informal. – Xantix May 25 '13 at 7:37
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"I am in", the way you heard it used, means "I will join you (in a given endeavour)", "I will participate (in the endeavour)", "you can count on me", "you can include me in your plans".

The opposite also exists, "I'm out". Meaning "I'm no longer participating", "I'm not onboard anymore".

It is informal, but that doesn't prevent it from being used in literature or movies to depict just that, informal situations. For example, in the movie Ocean's Eleven, George Clooney's character famously recruits Matt Damon's character by saying,

You're either in or you're out. Right now.

You can also ask people "who's in?" or "are you in?", etc. Again, this is okay for example for informal emails, but you won't see it used to invite people to a Royal gala, nor should you use it when replying to such an invitation.

Another common expression is "count me in", with the same meaning as "I'm in". (And the corresponding "count me out".)

The last usage of in is completely unrelated to all of the above. In that situation, in means "popular", "in fashion". (And once again, it is complemented by out meaning "out of fashion", "unpopular".) You can say, "red cars are in these days", for example. Or "gangsta rap is out". I would say this is less informal and more mainstream; you will find many newspapers or magazines, covering anything from fashion to politics, having a column titled "in and out [today/this week/this month]" or some such.

Oh, and if you still want to look these words up in a dictionary, look under "in (adverb)" and "in (adjective)" — not "in (preposition)" —, and the better ones will have the corresponding entry.

  • "I'm in" can also mean "I'm currently at home". – psmears Aug 16 '17 at 15:17
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"I am in" is a phrase that expresses or shows your acceptance or agreement of the idea/thought with somebody else informally. Other similar phrases can be : cool!, sure! (Not to be mistaken with for sure)

Q : Do you wanna come for dinner tonight?
A : Cool/ Sure/ I'am in.

All are the same (agree to join for dinner)

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