23

In a recent NYTimes article:

He should have recused himself completely, and have formally informed the entire board as well as the public about any family interest.

This chimes with what some ethics experts believe. Ideally, museum experts say, if a work is borrowed from a family...

I've never seen this usage, and an internet search offers no help. This closed question seems similar but doesn't address this usage.

It's possible that the writer meant jibe, which M/W defines as

to be in accord : agree —usually used with with

but I'm inclined to give the NYTimes the benefit of the doubt. At first.

ETA: The print version of this piece appeared in today's edition, and replaces the word chimes with the word accords, so apparently they weren't fully satisfied with this. I couldn't see the author's bio, but his name is Graham Bowley, which does have a British ring to it.

9
  • 4
    Dunno how common it is, but it's definitely used. The use seems to be metaphorically implying that the behavior "rings" in synchrony with something else.
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 15, 2020 at 21:19
  • 23
    As a British English speaker chime sounds more natural than jibe. To me jibe is an import from the US which came in after the second world war but chime is of long standing.
    – BoldBen
    Jul 15, 2020 at 23:39
  • 1
    Yes it’s a very common usage, in British English at least.
    – graffe
    Jul 16, 2020 at 6:20
  • 2
    FWIW, as a Brit, I've never heard this usage and would expect "jibe". Could be age-related. Jul 16, 2020 at 19:59
  • 1
    I thought that was pretty-much the only use of "chime" and its derivation from musical harmony clear and obvious. "Jibe" as at merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jibe - and quite likely, other dictionaries - sounds to me like a misrepresentation of "jive". Jul 16, 2020 at 21:57

5 Answers 5

29

Chime with:

to be similar to or agree with someone else’s ideas, plans, feelings etc. (MacMillan Dictionary)

also chime in with:

If one thing chimes in with another thing or chimes with it, the two things are similar or consistent with each other. (Collins Dictionary)

Its usage derives from music, and figuratively from early 19th century.

To chime in originally was musical, "join harmoniously;" of conversation by 1838. (Etymonline)

Google Books shows usage of phrasal verb “chime with” increasing in the last decade especially in BrE.

It is interesting that the OED suggests that jibe may be a phonetic variant of chime:

Jibe (v.):

"agree, fit," 1813, gibe, of unknown origin, originally U.S. colloquial, perhaps a figurative extension of earlier jib, gybe (v.) "shift a sail or boom" (see jib). OED, however, suggests a phonetic variant of chime, as if meaning "to chime in with, to be in harmony."

(Etymonline)

8
  • 14
    Because it rings true. Jul 15, 2020 at 21:13
  • 1
    It's interesting that, according to Google ngram, "jibe" has always been more common than "chimes with", though the latter has picked up ever since the 1990's.
    – Wasabi
    Jul 16, 2020 at 16:28
  • 2
    I've heard and used chime in with many times. But, I've never heard this usage before (34 years in Canada (Quebec), then nearly 30 in the US (New England and Texas))
    – Flydog57
    Jul 16, 2020 at 16:45
  • 3
    Native AmE speaker, 46 years old, lived in many parts of the US. Never heard "chimes with" used this way before
    – Kevin
    Jul 16, 2020 at 17:12
  • 1
    @wjandrea: "Jives with" is just a mishearing/eggcorn version of "jibes with." I suspect that "chimes with" started life the same way, with influence from the musical overtones of "harmonizes with" and the visual parallelism of a set of wind chimes. Jul 17, 2020 at 17:27
10

I have never heard chime used in that context, but I find at webster-dictionary.org (from Webster's 1913 Dictionary) that chime can mean:

  1. To be in harmony; to agree; to suit; to harmonize; to correspond; to fall in with. Everything chimed in with such a humor. (W. Irving)
6

All the references other answers are digging up seem to indicate this was historically an American usage.

Having lived for around half a Century in the US, in places including Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Louisiana, and Florida, I can't ever remember encountering that usage of the word. I'm also seeing a few answers here from Americans assuming it must be a foriegn usage. Not to mention the question itself, which appears to have been written by a poster from Michigan.

So no, that does not appear to be a common use of "chime" any more.

5

Americans would say "jibes with", so if this was the NYT, then perhaps it was a British author. I certainly wouldn't be surprised if NYT copyeditors let British usage stand, especially if it is age-old.

7
  • 1
    Not just British, "chime" in this sense is in the American English-leaning Merriam-Webster; in fact, it's verb sense #2 (vs. much further down in the British English-leaning Collins). Jul 16, 2020 at 7:56
  • 3
    @T.J.Crowder This one is bizarre to me as a well-read, well-traveled, 46 year old native AmE speaker. I've never heard "chimes with" used this way, yet not only does NGrams show it as not uncommon, it shows it as MORE COMMON than "jibes with" for that last decade and a half
    – Kevin
    Jul 16, 2020 at 17:15
  • @Kevin Very interesting. I wonder if perhaps this is a regional usage or generational? I live in the west and wonder whether perhaps this is something you'd hear in the south or midwest. But T.E.D. suggests not, so what say you ngram?
    – senortim
    Jul 16, 2020 at 18:25
  • 3
    @Kevin Just checked out the ngram and wow! First that "chimes with" seems only slightly less popular that "jibes with" during my lifetime, and then that massive spike around 2001. But looking at the more specific instances, it may be that things like "chimes with great beauty" or "chimes with pentatonic scales" skew the data.
    – senortim
    Jul 16, 2020 at 19:44
  • 2
    @T.E.D. Spot on. Perhaps they should read old copies of The New Yorker, pre-Tina Brown. And if I ever see a NYT crossword clue "- - - - - with" (5 spaces), I will be ready.
    – senortim
    Jul 16, 2020 at 21:18
2

As a BrE speaker, I'd see it as a little stilted, but comprehensible.

I'd interpret 'jibes' as being the exact opposite, mocking or opposing, despite the dictionary definition offered.

"Chime" would seem more appropriate where used in the sense of an interjection. My preference would be "resonate".

2
  • 2
    Your sense of 'jibe' is better conveyed by gibe. In the US, jibe, gibe and jive are often confused.
    – Jim Mack
    Jul 17, 2020 at 12:42
  • 1
    @JimMack - Cambridge maintains they are variant spellings dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/gibe No doubt there would be some confusion when spoken - especially given that the MW definition and the Oxbridge definitions seem to be direct opposites. Perhaps a word best avoided.
    – Magoo
    Jul 17, 2020 at 14:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.