[ ohn ]
/ oʊn /


of, relating to, or belonging to oneself or itself (usually used after a possessive to emphasize the idea of ownership, interest, or relation conveyed by the possessive): He spent only his own money.
(used as an intensifier to indicate oneself as the sole agent of some activity or action, preceded by a possessive): He insists on being his own doctor.

verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to confess (often followed by to, up, or up to): The one who did it had better own up. I own to being uncertain about that.


Origin of own

before 900; (adj.) Middle English owen, Old English āgen (cognate with German eigen, Old Norse eigenn), orig. past participle of āgan to possess (see owe); (v.) Middle English ownen, Old English āgnian, āhnian, derivative of āgen

Related forms

non·own·ing, adjectiveun·owned, adjective

Definition for get back (2 of 3)

Origin of back

before 1000; Middle English bak, Old English bæc back of the body; cognate with Old Frisian bek, Old Saxon, Old Norse bak; perhaps < Indo-European *bhogo- bending; cf. bacon

Related forms

back·less, adjective

Can be confused

back up backup

Synonym study

31. Back, hind, posterior, rear refer to something situated behind something else. Back means the opposite of front: back window. Hind, and the more formal word posterior, suggest the rearmost of two or more often similar objects: hind legs; posterior lobe. Rear is used of buildings, conveyances, etc., and in military language it is the opposite of fore: rear end of a truck; rear echelon.

Usage note

55. Although some object to their use, the phrases in back of and the shorter—and much older— back of with the meaning “behind” are fully established as standard in American English: The car was parked ( in ) back of the house. Both phrases occur in all types of speech and writing.

Definition for get back (3 of 3)

Origin of get

1150–1200; (v.) Middle English geten < Old Norse geta to obtain, beget; cognate with Old English -gietan (> Middle English yeten), German -gessen, in vergessen to forget; (noun) Middle English: something gotten, offspring, derivative of the v.


1, 2 Get, obtain, acquire, procure, secure imply gaining possession of something. Get may apply to coming into possession in any manner, and either voluntarily or not. Obtain suggests putting forth effort to gain possession, and acquire stresses the possessing after an (often prolonged) effort. Procure suggests the method of obtaining, as that of search or choice. Secure, considered in bad taste as a would-be-elegant substitute for get, is, however, when used with discrimination, a perfectly proper word. It suggests making possession sure and safe, after obtaining something by competition or the like.
2 win, gain.
7 apprehend, grasp.
10 induce, dispose.
12 engender.

Related forms

get·ta·ble, get·a·ble, adjective

Usage note

For nearly 400 years, forms of get have been used with a following past participle to form the passive voice: She got engaged when she was 19. He won't get accepted with those grades. This use of get rather than of forms of to be in the passive is found today chiefly in speech and informal writing.
In British English got is the regular past participle of get, and gotten survives only in a few set phrases, such as ill-gotten gains. In American English gotten, although occasionally criticized, is an alternative standard past participle in most senses, especially in the senses “to receive” or “to acquire”: I have gotten (or got ) all that I ever hoped for.
Have or has got in the sense “must” has been in use since the early 19th century; often the have or has is contracted: You've got to carry your passport at all times. The use of have (or has ) got in the sense of “to possess” goes back to the 15th century; it is also frequently contracted: She's got a master's degree in biology. These uses are occasionally criticized as redundant on the grounds that have alone expresses the meaning adequately, but they are well established and fully standard in all varieties of speech and writing. In some contexts in American English, substituting gotten for got produces a change in meaning: She's got ( possesses ) a new job. She's gotten ( has aquired ) a new job. He's got to ( must ) attend the wedding. He's gotten to ( has been allowed or enabled to ) attend. The children have got ( are suffering from ) the measles. The children have gotten ( have caught ) the measles. The use of got without have or has to mean “must” ( I got to buy a new suit ) is characteristic of the most relaxed, informal speech and does not occur in edited writing except in representations of speech. Gotta is a pronunciation spelling representing this use.

Pronunciation note

The pronunciation [git] /gɪt/ for get has existed since the 16th century. The same change is exhibited in [kin] /kɪn/ for can and [yit] /yɪt/ for yet. The pronunciation [git] /gɪt/ is not regional and occurs in all parts of the country. It is most common as an unstressed syllable: Let's get going! [lets git-goh-ing] /ˈlɛts gɪtˈgoʊ ɪŋ/. In educated speech the pronunciation [git] /gɪt/ in stressed syllables is rare and sometimes criticized. When get is an imperative meaning “leave immediately,” the pronunciation is usually facetious: Now get! [nou git] /ˌnaʊ ˈgɪt/.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for get back (1 of 6)

get back

verb (adverb)

(tr) to recover or retrieve
(intr often foll by to) to return, esp to a former position or activitylet's get back to the original question
(intr foll by at) to retaliate (against); wreak vengeance (on)
get one's own back informal to obtain one's revenge

British Dictionary definitions for get back (2 of 6)


abbreviation for

Greenwich Electronic Time

British Dictionary definitions for get back (3 of 6)

Word Origin for back

Old English bæc; related to Old Norse bak, Old Frisian bek, Old High German bah

British Dictionary definitions for get back (4 of 6)


/ (bæk) /


a large tub or vat, esp one used by brewers

Word Origin for back

C17: from Dutch bak tub, cistern, from Old French bac, from Vulgar Latin bacca (unattested) vessel for liquids

British Dictionary definitions for get back (5 of 6)


/ (ɡɛt) /

verb gets, getting, got (ɡɒt) or got or esp US gotten (mainly tr)


Derived Forms

getable or gettable, adjective

Word Origin for get

Old English gietan; related to Old Norse geta to get, learn, Old High German bigezzan to obtain


The use of off after get as in I got this chair off an antique dealer is acceptable in conversation, but should not be used in formal writing

British Dictionary definitions for get back (6 of 6)


/ (əʊn) /

determiner (preceded by a possessive)


Word Origin for own

Old English āgen, originally past participle of āgan to have; related to Old Saxon ēgan, Old Norse eiginn. See owe
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Medicine definitions for get back


[ băk ]


The posterior portion of the trunk of the human body between the neck and the pelvis; the dorsum.
The backbone or spine.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with get back (1 of 4)

get back


Also get back to. Return to a person, place, or condition. For example, What time will you get back? or I hope he'll get back to the subject of this report. [c. 1600]


Recover something, as in When will I get this book back? [c. 1800]

Idioms and Phrases with get back (2 of 4)


In addition to the idioms beginning with back

  • back against the wall
  • back alley
  • back and fill
  • back and forth
  • back away
  • back burner, on a
  • back door
  • back down
  • back in circulation
  • back in harness
  • back number
  • back of
  • back of beyond
  • back off
  • back of one's hand
  • back of one's mind
  • back on one's feet
  • back order
  • back out
  • back street
  • back the wrong horse
  • back to back
  • back to basics
  • back to the drawing board
  • back to the salt mines
  • back to the wall
  • back up
  • back water

also see:

  • a while back
  • behind someone's back
  • break one's back
  • break the back of
  • call back
  • choke back
  • come back
  • cut back
  • double back
  • draw back
  • drop back
  • eyes in the back of one's head
  • fall back
  • fall back on
  • fall over (backward)
  • flat on one's back
  • from way back
  • get back
  • get one's back up
  • give the shirt off one's back
  • go back on one's word
  • hang back
  • hark(en) back
  • hold back
  • in one's own backyard
  • kick back
  • knock back
  • know like a book (the back of one's hand)
  • left-handed (back-handed) compliment
  • like water off a duck's back
  • look back
  • monkey on one's back
  • off someone's back
  • pat on the back
  • pay back in someone's own coin
  • pin someone's ears back
  • play back
  • plow back
  • pull back
  • put one's back in it
  • put one's back up
  • roll back
  • scratch someone's back
  • see the back of
  • set back
  • set back on one's heels
  • set one back
  • set the clock back
  • sit back
  • slap on the back
  • snap back
  • stab in the back
  • take aback
  • take a back seat
  • take back
  • talk back
  • think back
  • throw back
  • turn back
  • turn one's back on
  • when someone's back is turned
  • with one arm tied behind one's back
  • you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours

Idioms and Phrases with get back (3 of 4)


In addition to the idioms beginning with get

  • get a bang out of
  • get about
  • get a break
  • get a charge
  • get across
  • get a dirty look
  • get a fix
  • get a fix on
  • get a free hand
  • get after
  • get a grip on
  • get a hand
  • get a handle on
  • get ahead
  • get a head start
  • get a kick out of
  • get a life
  • get a line on
  • get a load of
  • get along
  • get a move on
  • get an in with
  • get another guess
  • get a rise out of
  • get around
  • get at
  • get a thing about
  • get away
  • get away with
  • get a word in edgewise
  • get back
  • get back at
  • get back to
  • get behind
  • get better
  • get busy
  • get by
  • get cracking
  • get credit for
  • get down
  • get down to brass tacks
  • get going
  • get goose pimples
  • get gray hair from
  • get hold of
  • get in
  • get in a snit
  • get in a stew
  • get in bad with
  • get in on
  • get in one's hair
  • get in someone's face
  • get in the way
  • get into
  • get into bed with
  • get into hot water
  • get into one's head
  • get into the act
  • get into the swing of things
  • get into trouble
  • get in touch
  • get involved
  • get in with
  • get it
  • get it on
  • get lost
  • get mileage out of
  • get nowhere
  • get off
  • get off on
  • get off one's chest
  • get off one's tail
  • get off on the wrong foot
  • get off scot-free
  • get off someone's back
  • get off the dime
  • get off the ground
  • get off the hook
  • get on
  • get one down
  • get one's
  • get one's
  • get one's act together
  • get one's bearings
  • get one's comeuppance
  • get one's ducks in a row
  • get one's feet on the ground
  • get one's feet wet
  • get one's fill
  • get one's hands dirty
  • get one's hands on
  • get one's head examined
  • get one's money's worth
  • get one's own back
  • get one's teeth into
  • get one's walking papers
  • get one's way
  • get one's wires crossed
  • get on someone's good side
  • get on someone's nerves
  • get on the bandwagon
  • get on the stick
  • get on with it
  • get out
  • get out from under
  • get out of
  • get out of one's face
  • get out of one's system
  • get out of someone's sight
  • get out of the way
  • get out while the getting is good
  • get over
  • get physical
  • get ready
  • get real
  • get religion
  • get rid of
  • get right
  • get rolling
  • get round
  • get set
  • get sick
  • get someone's back up
  • get someone's goat
  • get someone's number
  • get someone wrong
  • get something into one's head
  • get something on someone
  • get somewhere
  • get straight
  • get stuffed
  • get the advantage of
  • get the air
  • get the ax
  • get the ball rolling
  • get the better of
  • get the business
  • get the can
  • get the drift
  • get the drop on
  • get the feel of
  • get the goods on
  • get the hang of
  • get theirs
  • get the jump on
  • get the lead out
  • get the message
  • get the most out of
  • get the nod
  • get the picture
  • get there
  • get the runaround
  • get the sack
  • get the show on the road
  • get the upper hand
  • get the worst of it
  • get through
  • get through one's head
  • get through to
  • get to
  • get to first base
  • get together
  • get to one's feet
  • get to the bottom of
  • get to the heart of
  • get to the point
  • get tough with
  • get under someone's skin
  • get up
  • get up one's nerve
  • get up on the wrong side of bed
  • get up steam
  • get used to
  • get well
  • get what's coming to one
  • get wind of
  • get wise to
  • get with it

also see:

  • be (get) busted
  • come and get it
  • dip (get) one's toes into
  • early bird catches (gets) the worm
  • give as good as one gets
  • ground floor, get in on the
  • it takes getting used to
  • lay (get) one's hands on
  • marching orders, get one's
  • play hard to get
  • squeaky wheel gets the grease
  • tell someone where to get off
  • when the going gets tough
  • you get what you pay for

Also see underbecomegivehave.

Idioms and Phrases with get back (4 of 4)


In addition to the idioms beginning with own

  • own medicine
  • own person, be one's
  • own up

also see:

  • afraid of one's own shadow
  • after one's own heart
  • beat someone at his or her own game
  • blow one's own horn
  • call one's own
  • close to home
  • come into (one's own)
  • dig one's own grave
  • do one's (own) thing
  • dose of one's own medicine
  • get (one's own) back
  • get one's (own) way
  • go one's (own) way
  • hold one's own
  • in one's (own) interest
  • in one's own backyard
  • in one's own right
  • in one's own world
  • keep one's own counsel
  • know one's own mind
  • leave to someone's own devices
  • mind of one's own
  • mind one's own business
  • of one's own accord
  • on one's (own) feet
  • on one's own
  • on one's own account
  • on one's own time
  • paddle one's own canoe
  • pay back in one's own coin
  • pay one's (own) way
  • pick on (someone your own size)
  • pull one's (own) weight
  • sign one's own death warrant
  • stew in one's own juice
  • take into one's (own) hands
  • under one's own steam
  • write one's own ticket
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.