What Does In the Fold Mean?

In the Fold Meaning

Definition: Into a group of people with the same beliefs.

This phrase is usually said as bring into the fold or welcome into the fold.

Origin of In the Fold

One of the definitions of fold is a flock of sheep. This definition has existed since the 1300s.

People often view sheep as having no independent thought and mindlessly following a shepherd. Alternatively, some religions view sheep as a metaphor for fervent believers who follow God as their shepherd.

Therefore, the second definition of fold, a group of people sharing the same ideas or practices, makes sense.

People often use the common collocation to welcome someone into the fold. It is common in religious contexts, for political parties, or for other exclusive groups.

Examples of In the Fold

back in the fold definitionThis example shows two women discussing a family member that is joining a mysterious group.

Bella: I want to ask your advice about something.

Hannah: Sure. What’s up?

Bella: My mother has been acting very secretive lately. I didn’t think much of it until last night when I went over to her house for dinner. I found a letter written in calligraphy that simply said welcome to the fold and had a symbol of our city’s secret society.

Hannah: Do you think your mother joined a cult?

Bella: I’m not sure what she’s joined, but I hope she knows what she’s doing!

welcome back into the foldThe following example shows two college students talking about converting to a new religion.

Hanh: I’ve always been a protestant because that’s what my parents were. However, I realized that I connected more with the Catholic religion. I’ve been taking classes to become Catholic.

Zhongyi: Really? When will you be able to convert?

Hanh: Actually, the congregation welcomed me into the fold last Sunday! I’m Catholic now!

More Examples

The excerpt is from an article about a merger between two companies.

  • AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson welcomed the staff into the fold, then introduced them to their new boss — the stern-looking, 6-foot-5-inch Stankey — by saying that they should not feel intimidated because “he’s really a nice guy.” –LA Times

The second example is about a superhero and the company that owns him.

  • Marvel has long wanted to bring Spider-Man into the fold through its movies, because the character is one of the most famous from the comic books. His youth, cheeky attitude and unique abilities have earned him a cherished place in the Marvel canon. –LA Times

Summary

The idiom into the fold means to welcome to part of a group of people who share the same faith or system of beliefs.

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