What Does Pitch In Mean?

Pitch In Meaning

Definition: To help someone work, often in a group effort.

A similar expression is to lend a hand.

Origin of Pitch In

This expression originated around the mid-1800s. The exact reasoning behind the idiom is unclear. Some people might assume that the expression comes from the sport of baseball, i.e., to pitch a baseball.

However, other sources speculate that it is likely to have come from farm labor.

On a farm, especially during harvest time, many people work together to make sure all the necessary labor is completed. At times, this might even involve pitching hay with a pitchfork. Pitching hay means lifting and throwing the hay. The pitchfork even appears as a symbol for hard work in many pieces of art throughout history.

Examples of Pitch In

pitch in definitionTwo friends are taking a walk in the park.

Dan: It’s such a beautiful day!

Kira: It sure is. What do you think that big group of people is doing over there?

Dan: It looks as if they are picking up some of the trash along the river that goes through this park.

Kira: That’s great. It’s nice to see people volunteering like that. I’m in no rush. I think I might pitch in.

Dan: Okay, I’ll pitch in too. Let’s go pick up some trash.

pitching inThe following example involves two women discussing a food drive that their church is holding.

Gertrude: Did you hear that Brenda is starting a food drive? She wants to gather non-perishable food items for homeless families.

Ruby: Really? That’s a wonderful cause.

Gertrude: I agree. I’d love to pitch in, but I can’t stand working with Brenda.

Ruby: We can pitch in by donating items ourselves and getting others to do the same. There’s no need for us to work directly with Brenda.

More Examples

This excerpt is from an article about a company that tried to hire only American landscapers, but failed.

  • Quality control dropped this summer because supervisors had to stop overseeing and pitch in. Customers complained of dry spots on lawns where the sprinkler system was not reaching. They grew angry over how long it took the smaller crews to complete each job. Competitors began to poach. And CoCal lost $1.7 million in contracts. –Houston Chronicle

This excerpt is from a story about homeless people needing to relocate.

  • Volunteers pitch in as deadline looms for homeless [people] along Santa Ana River to move –OC Register


The phrase to pitch in means to contribute by helping, often energetically.