Many actuaries were unhappy with the stereotypical portrayals of these actuaries as unhappy, math-obsessed and socially inept people; others have claimed that the portrayals are close to home, if a bit exaggerated.

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Does this mean "rather accurate"?

So as to affect one"s feelings or interests

Nor the definition in Wiktionary:

Affecting people close to, or within, ones family circle.

Is Wikipedia misusing the term?Or are those definitions wrong?Or am I misunderstanding these definitions?

idioms meaning-in-context ambiguity
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edited Apr 14 "12 at 10:35

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asked Apr 14 "12 at 10:17

Nicolas RaoulNicolas Raoul
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"Close to home" is a tricky phrase that dips into several extended meanings depending on context:

Ouch, that hits a little close to home.

The primary usage is that a joke, insult or story ends up being significantly personal. The phrase is using the description of "home" to mean something from your culture or childhood. A good example would be making a fat joke about someone who was once obese. It doesn"t matter if it is no longer true; the joke hits close to home.

I am looking for something a little closer to home.

The cultural distance can come into play stronger than a personal history when making requests for things like food, art, music: "These cookies are good but I was hoping for something closer to home." In this usage the phrase would be similar to "fatherland" or "motherland" but drastically scaled down into a specific region or even family.

Regardless of prevalent counter-examples, the accusations are close to home.

And the phrase is used to describe accuracy which is what is being used in your original quote. In this case, "home" is describing the current state of home, culture or personal details. In a certain sense, this usage is implying that it should hit close to home because it is true — regardless if it actually does cause those feelings.

Heh, that"s got to hit close to home.

Wow, that must be a bit close to home.

Others have claimed that the portrayals are close to home.

Most people use the phrase to explain an unexpected or extreme reaction to something. This ends up landing somewhere between the description of the feelings and commentary on the accuracy of whatever was said. If it hadn"t hit close to home, why the reaction? And why would it hit close to home if it was not true?

Because of this, it is hard to call the original quote incorrect but I would agree that it is stretching the usage of "close to home" a little but I would chalk it up to trying to apply a personal level of feeling to an accusation of an entire group of people.

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In an odd sense of irony, the idea that anything could hit close to home for a stereotypical actuary would prevent them from qualifying as a stereotypical actuary. So it is a strange choice of words, to be sure.