Learn English – What does “What are you into here?” mean

colloquialismsmeaningquestionsusage

I personally don't use this question in spoken language but I often see it in written language. I also frequently see that when someone asks this question, it elicits in turn the question "What do you mean?".

  • Is this an ambiguous question?
  • What are the different meanings of this question?
  • It can depend on the context but in a casual conversation, does it
    usually mean "What are you interested in?" or can it mean "What are you up to?" also?
  • What about sexual connotations?

I'm also not familiar with the usage in these contexts:

From the book "The Pillars of Solomon" By Jon Land:

Man: "What the hell is going on?" he demanded…
Woman: “I don't know what you're talking about.”
Man: “If you don't, you're a bigger fool than I am. What are you into here?
Woman: “This is about the man I asked you to identify" she realized.
Man: His eyes blazed at her from driver' seat. "You're damn right it is, and somebody's going to catch hell for it!"
Man: "What are you — "
Woman: "You sent me to check out one of our own men!"


From the book "The Twelfth Insight: The Hour of Decision" By James Redfield:

I stopped and he stopped, and then I saw something familiar in his posture. It was Wil! When I got to him, he pulled me down and looked back at the Pub.

What are you into here, my friend?” he asked in his customary half-humorous tone. “I don't know,” I blurted. “I saw several people watching me inside. What are you doing here, Wil?"


From the book "Reflection: Behind the Rain" By Robert Clayton Buick:

Waehauf returned to his station and called out his cocktail order in flawless Spanish. As he waited for his drink order, he turned and continued to stare me down. I continued to stare back at him, and with willing confrontation, I calmly asked him, “What's your problem Fat Guy, and what are you into here?” His face turned into a bright red flashing light and I could hear and his feel breath increase in rapid succession.

Does it mean "What are you doing here?" or "What are you pulling here?" in these contexts? Did this question gain a new meaning in these contexts?

Best Answer

Just to add to the comment by Joe, as a young American, I hear "What are you into?" as

  • What are your hobbies?

  • What vices do you indulge in? (this may have sexual innuendo depending upon context)

  • What are you doing right now in your profession/career/studies. ("I'm learning philosophy.", "Oh, what are you into?", "Well, ethics, mainly." ...)

A related colloquialism is "what are you up to?" which means "what have you been doing recently?".