get off the ground

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Make a start, get underway, as in Because of legal difficulties, the construction project never got off the ground. This expression, alluding to flight, dates from the mid-1900s. The similar-sounding get off to a flying start, meaning “make a successful start,” alludes not to flight but to a quick start in a race, a usage from the late 1800s. For example, He's off to a flying start with his dissertation.

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


What does get off the ground mean?

The phrase get off the ground means to begin or get started, especially after some kind of delay or obstacle, as in The football season finally managed to get off the ground after numerous delays. 

The thing that is starting (or not) can also be placed within the phrase, as in The team wasn’t even able to get the project off the ground due to lack of funding. 

The phrase is often used when something has struggled to get started or failed to start.

Example: The mysterious donor managed to provide the money the artists needed to get their art show off the ground.

Where does get off the ground come from?

The first records of get off the ground come from the mid-1900s. The expression is a reference to an airplane taking flight—a flight doesn’t actually begin until a plane actually gets off the ground.

The phrase get off the ground is often used in the context of projects, events, or other ambitious plans. It is especially used in situations involving obstacles or a difficult start, implying that it took effort to get something going. Get off the ground is also used in the negative in situations in which something was prevented from starting for some reason, such as opposition, struggle, or incompetence, as in Unfortunately, the new magazine never got off the ground due to lack of interest from advertisers.

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What are some synonyms for get off the ground?

What are some words that share a root or word element with get off the ground

What are some words that often get used in discussing get off the ground?

How is get off the ground used in real life?

Get off the ground is typically used in the content of something that is just beginning or getting started, especially if it faced problems.



Try using get off the ground!

Is get off the ground used correctly in the following sentence?

The festival was cancelled because the organizers never managed to get it off the ground.

How to use get off the ground in a sentence