This is a definition for "tune in" from Merriam-Webster:

"to associate oneself with what is happening or one's surroundings"


  1. To connect in the mind or imagination: "I always somehow associate Chatterton with autumn" (John Keats).(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language)

Is this the correct definition? The reason I'm asking is because there's this phrase "turn on, tune in, drop out" which was popularized by Timothy Leary in the '60s or '70s but when I searched different dictionaries for "tune in" there are no definitions like the one from Merriam-Webster at the beginning of this post. The only definitions I found for it were...

"tune in"

  1. To pay attention to, become aware of, or be responsive (to someone or something). My father never tuned in when we were growing up. Our mother essentially raised(Farlex Dictionary of Idioms)

...and although the definition from Merriam-Webster seems correct to me on account of the fact that Timoty Leary's phrase was used by the hippies and he was sort of a guru like Ram Dass or Sri Ramana Maharshi who were always talking about the universe and us being the part of it Therefore the way I interpret the phrase "turn on, tune in, drop out" with the definition from Merriam-Webster would be something like

  • turn-on-probably means to start doing drugs

  • tune in- "to associate(meaning connect) oneself with what is happening or one's surroundings" or realize that you are the one with the surrounding environment or universe

  • drop out-To abandon society and conventional values.

  • This is a question for the editors of Merriam-Webster.
    – banuyayi
    Oct 15, 2022 at 13:15
  • Of course, it's right. Why wouldn't it be?
    – Lambie
    Oct 15, 2022 at 19:13
  • Associate oneself does not mean the same as associate [something] with [something else]. Oct 16, 2022 at 8:06
  • @Kate Bunting What does "Associate oneself " mean Kate? Oct 18, 2022 at 11:21
  • 1
    Yes, you could do that. Oct 18, 2022 at 20:29

1 Answer 1


According to the Wikipedia page for "Turn on, tune in, drop out", Leary himself said that "Tune in" meant 'interact harmoniously with the world around you'.

  • The man was a giant equine rear-end but this is probably is best legacy.
    – Lambie
    Oct 15, 2022 at 19:14

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