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I'm looking for a phrase or an idiom meaning "to get heavily involved in something" or "to become passionate about something" where "something" could be a hobby, lifestyle, a music genre etc.

One possibility would be simply "to get into something" but this doesn't seem to convey being passionate about the thing in question. Another one is "to get sucked into something" but a Google search indicates that this tends to mean "to get involved in something against one's will" which is not what I am after.

12 Answers 12

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A common phrase with positive overtones is immerse oneself.

Involve oneself deeply in a particular activity or interest: she immersed herself in her work

A more colloquial phrase, aslo usually positive, is dive in.

to start doing something in a very enthusiastic way Sometimes you've just got to take a chance and dive in

Also plunge in.

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If I wanted to be positive, I'd just say...

I'm really into XXX

...but if I wanted to be negative...

Let's not get bogged down in XXX

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    It's good to get these things out in the open. ;) – Frank May 30 '14 at 15:56
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Get stuck in means “To dedicate a large amount of effort towards.” Wiktionary labels the phrase as “idiomatic, UK” and provides the following example.

He's really getting stuck in to his new job as chief executive. He's sacked half the boardroom staff already.

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    +1 I like Get stuck in although to me it sounds a little short term'ish' it's got that chest deep in muck (and loving it) sound to it. – Frank May 30 '14 at 15:59
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Knee-deep. Example he is knee-deep into analytics.

slang..he has his knees deep into tantric cures.

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to be up to your ears in something:

is a common expression to say you are heavily involved in something.

I am up to my ears in my work.

  • Most commonly used for things you’d rather not be up to your ears in, though, which is the sense the asker is not looking for, though. – Janus Bahs Jacquet May 30 '14 at 22:01
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More modern slang for this, especially in technical circles, is to "nerd out" on something. You may also hear that someone is "wallowing in X" as they try to learn much in a short time.

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I would suggest “take up” or “take to”.

take up

PHRASAL VERB [TRANSITIVE]

1. to start doing something regularly as a habit, job, or interest

Source: Macmillan Dictionary definition of “take up”

I’ve taken up salsa dancing.

take to

PHRASAL VERB [TRANSITIVE]

2. to start doing something as a habit

Source: Macmillan Dictionary definition of “take to”

He’s really taken to knitting!

For certain things, you might even get caught up in them.

I’ve gotten really caught up in the vinyl craze lately.

Another route would be to apply the language of love to your newfound pursuit, which could involve any number of metaphors.

Recently, I’m gaga for death metal.

She’s head over heels for archery lately.

c.f.: “engrossed”, “taken with”, “on the bandwagon”, “crazy for”

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I have used the word flow, in the psychology sense, to describe this sensation. It describes not just the immersion in the task, but the emotional connection to it at deep level that the outside world can momentarily cease to exist for you.

Most of us would consider going several hours on a task without food, sleep, or going to the bathroom a bad thing. When in flow, this can happen to you without you even realizing any time has passed, and all the while you were enjoying yourself.

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Consider:

  • dedicate oneself to

dedicate: to devote wholly or earnestly, as to some person or purpose

  • commit/devote oneself wholeheartedly to

devote: to apply or dedicate (oneself, time, money, etc.) to some pursuit or cause, etc.

  • throw oneself into

throw oneself into: involve oneself enthusiastically in

  • put (one's) heart and soul into

put heart and soul into: to do something with a lot of energy and interest

  • get serious about

serious: giving a lot of attention and energy about something

  • go the whole nine yards on

whole nine yards: full effort, giving everything you have

  • become a wholehearted/whole-souled...

wholehearted, (also) whole-souled: marked by unconditional commitment, unstinting devotion, or unreserved enthusiasm

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Phrases and idioms that fit (some of them depend on the context as well):

  • absorbed in: (often be absorbed in) Take up the attention of (someone); interest greatly

    • become wholly absorbed in

    The work absorbed him and continued to make him happy.


  • caught up in: deeply involved with something; participating actively or closely in something.

    • caught up in something
    • caught up with something
    • (get) caught up in something

    Wallace is caught up in his work and has little time for his son, Buxton.


  • engrossed in: (often be engrossed in) Absorb all the attention or interest of:

    They seemed to be engrossed in conversation.


  • wrapped up in: (with someone or something) involved with someone or something. (*Typically: be ~; get ~.)

    She is all wrapped up with her husband and his problems. She is just too wrapped up.


  • abandon oneself to: (something) indulge in, give way to, yield to, wallow in, give free rein to, lose yourself in, give yourself up to

    We are scared to abandon ourselves to our feelings.


  • lose oneself in: (someone or something) to be thoroughly absorbed in someone or something; to become engrossed in someone or something.

    Frank loses himself in his children when he is at home. When I lose myself in my work, time just rushes by.


  • strain away (at something): to work very hard, continuously, at doing something.

    She strained away at her weights, getting stronger every day. She was straining away on the rowing machine when we came in.


  • fling oneself into: (something) to do something with a lot of enthusiasm:

    Tom has really flung himself into his work this year.


  • devote oneself to: to dedicate or give oneself over to someone or something.

    Do you agree to devote yourself to this task? She devoted herself to raising her children.


  • apply oneself to: to work hard and diligently at something.

    You should apply yourself to your studies. She applied herself to her work and the time passed very rapidly.

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When I'm trying to put everything I have together and into a project I say, "I'm busy getting all my ducks in a row." I think this idiom applies best to gathering and organizing rather than looking for a solution for which I use the idioms, "Leaving no stone unturned," or, " Exploring every avenue." I hope this is helpful. I can't stand the frustration of not being able to think of or find anywhere the right word or phrase when writing or speaking. :)

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a slang phrase would be "balls deep"

As in "I'd like to help you out, but I'm balls deep in this project at work right now."

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    Maybe you're thinking of "knee deep". "balls deep" essentially always implies a sexual act. – senshin May 31 '14 at 0:28

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