This is a scene from the movie "The Shining" by Stanley Kubrick(video link below) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVoLTp46nP8

WENDY: And you're gonna lose. And I'm gonna get you - you betta run fast! Look out - I'm coming in close. All right?

"come in"

  1. To finish a contest or competition in a particular position or place (as in first, second, third, etc.). I didn't expect to come in first or anything, but finishing last is pretty disappointing.(source: Farlex Dictionary of Idioms)

This definition doesn't make sense though because she is still chasing him and the race isn't over.

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    Approaching closely, or following close behind. Commented Oct 1, 2022 at 18:50

2 Answers 2


The phrasal verb "come in" has many meanings. Look at the list in the definitions by:

Oxford Learner's gives as one meaning:

to arrive somewhere; to be received: The train is coming in now.

Somewhat related to this is The tide is coming in, meaning that the water is covering the shore.

Another meaning is to land or approach for landing in an airplane: The pilot is coming in at a steep angle. This and similar uses have been generalized into a meaning of "approach". This or something near it, is the meaning in your example.

  • David@ I searched through all these dictionaries except Oxford Learner's before writing this post and these are my staple everyday glossaries I use. I referred to these once more plus to the one you added and there is no definition with the meaning "approach" although there is "arrive" but I'm pretty sure if I saw "approach" before posting I wouldn't have probably done it. Commented Oct 2, 2022 at 10:45
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    @Static Bounce You are correct, the "approach" meaning isn't in any of thoise, although the meaning of the tide is somewhat similar, as is the meaning of enter. I know the approach meaning through having heard it used. It is also in a comment by Michael Harvey, endorsed by 5 other users. I wonder why you selected the "place in a contest" meaning to quote in the question as the definition? Also, FYI, to alert another user the at-sign must go before the user name, not after it. But I was notified anyway, because this is a comment on an answer I posted. Commented Oct 2, 2022 at 15:04
  • Thanks, I didn't know that. I'm a newbie when it comes to forums:) I selected "place in a contest" because I knew this definition for this phrase and it was the closest thing relating to two people racing. OFC I suspected what the meaning was from the context but I couldn't find a definition for it anywhere so I decided to post here because I learned in the past that it's important to confirm as context can be misleading and after learning the missing word it actually changes the sentence quiet dramatically:) Commented Oct 2, 2022 at 18:49
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    @Static It was fine to post as you did. I am only asking questions to understand how to help. In such a situation it would be helpful to mention you consulted several online dictionary sites, perhaps naming a few, and that the def you quoted was the closest you could find. Also when you quote a def, or an example sentence, please identify the source & give proper credit, as you very helpfully did for the excerpt from The Shining. For a lot mote info about ELL, see the Contributor's Guide Commented Oct 2, 2022 at 22:28

I don't think this is an instance of the phrasal verb come in at all. I think it's I'm coming with an adverbial in close.

Edit: I don't think I was quite right. I think it is [coming in] close, where coming in isn't a "phrasal verb" with a special meaning, just a verb with an adverb specifying where; then "close" is a further adverb that says how far.

  • Hmm, ok, but I can't find any definition for an "adverbial in close". Can you provide it? Commented Oct 2, 2022 at 14:14
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    I've edited my answer.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Oct 2, 2022 at 16:32
  • If "in" is an adverb specifying "where" is this the correct definition for it: (2. To or toward a destination or goal: The mob closed in.<source:American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language>)? If not, can you provide a definition? Commented Oct 3, 2022 at 12:16

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