Nearby words

  1. gestosis,
  2. gestural,
  3. gesture,
  4. gesualdo,
  5. gesundheit,
  6. get a bang out of,
  7. get a break,
  8. get a charge,
  9. get a dirty look,
  10. get a dose of one's own medicine


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 formsget·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/. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for get into

get into

verb (preposition)

(intr) to enter
(intr) to reach (a destination)the train got into London at noon
to get dressed in (clothes)
(intr) to preoccupy or obsess (a person's emotions or thoughts)what's got into him tonight?
to assume or cause to assume (a specified condition, habit, etc)to get into debt; get a person into a mess
to be elected to or cause to be elected toto get into Parliament
(usually intr) informal to become or cause to become familiar with (a skill)once you get into driving you'll enjoy it
(usually intr) informal to develop or cause to develop an absorbing interest in (a hobby, subject, or book)


abbreviation for

Greenwich Electronic Time


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

to come into possession of; receive or earn
to bring or fetch
to contract or be affected byhe got a chill at the picnic
to capture or seizethe police finally got him
(also intr) to become or cause to become or act as specifiedto get a window open; get one's hair cut; get wet
(intr; foll by a preposition or adverbial particle) to succeed in going, coming, leaving, etcget off the bus
(takes an infinitive) to manage or contrivehow did you get to be captain?
to make ready or prepareto get a meal
to hear, notice, or understandI didn't get your meaning
US and Canadian informal to learn or master by study
(intr often foll by to) to come (to) or arrive (at)we got home safely; to get to London
to catch or enterto get a train
to induce or persuadeget him to leave at once
to reach by calculationadd 2 and 2 and you will get 4
to receive (a broadcast signal)
to communicate with (a person or place), as by telephone
(also intr foll by to) informal to have an emotional effect (on)that music really gets me
informal to annoy or irritateher high voice gets me
informal to bring a person into a difficult position from which he or she cannot escape
informal to puzzle; baffle
informal to hitthe blow got him in the back
informal to be revenged on, esp by killing
US slang
  1. (foll by to)to gain access (to a person) with the purpose of bribing him
  2. (often foll by to)to obtain access (to someone) and kill or silence him
informal to have the better ofyour extravagant habits will get you in the end
(intr; foll by present participle) informal to beginget moving
(used as a command) informal go! leave now!
archaic to beget or conceive
get even with See even 1 (def. 15)
get it or get it in the neck informal to be reprimanded or punished severely
get with it slang to allow oneself to respond to new ideas, styles, etc
get with child archaic to make pregnant


rare the act of begetting
rare something begotten; offspring
British slang a variant of git
informal (in tennis, squash, etc) a successful return of a shot that was difficult to reach

Derived Formsgetable 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

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

Word Origin and History for get into
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with get into

get into


Become involved in, as in He got into trouble by stealing cars, or I don't want to get into the long history of this problem. [Early 1700s]


Put on clothes, as in Wait till I get into my suit. [Late 1600s]


Take possession of one, cause to act differently or inappropriately, as in You're leaving it to the animal shelter? What has got into you? or I don't know what gets into you children. [Late 1800s]


See be into. Also see subsequent entries beginning with get into.


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.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.