get at


verb (intr, preposition)

to gain access tothe dog could not get at the meat on the high shelf
to mean or intendwhat are you getting at when you look at me like that?
to irritate or annoy persistently; criticizeshe is always getting at him
to influence or seek to influence, esp illegally by bribery, intimidation, etcsomeone had got at the witness before the trial

QUIZZES

THINK YOU’VE GOT A HANDLE ON THIS US STATE NICKNAME QUIZ?

Did you ever collect all those state quarters? Put them to good use on this quiz about curious state monikers and the facts around them.
Question 1 of 8
Mississippi’s nickname comes from the magnificent trees that grow there. What is it?
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

Idioms and Phrases with get at

get at

1

Touch, reach successfully, as in Mom hid the peanut butter so we couldn't get at it. [Late 1700s]

2

Try to make understandable; hint at or suggest. For example, I think I see what you're getting at. [Late 1800s]

3

Discover, learn, ascertain, as in We must get at the facts of the case. [Late 1700s]

4

Bribe or influence by improper or illegal means, as in He got at the judge, and the charges were dismissed. [Colloquial; mid-1800s]

5

Start on, begin work on, attend to, as in “Get at your canvassing early, and drive it with all your might” (Mark Twain, letter to his publishers, 1884). [Colloquial; late 1800s]

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