get 1 (gĕt)
v. got(gŏt), got·ten(gŏtn) or got , get·ting, gets
a. To come into possession or use of; receive: got a cat for her birthday.
b. To meet with or incur: got nothing but trouble for her efforts.
a. To go after and obtain: got a book at the library; got breakfast in town.
b. To go after and bring: Get me a pillow.
c. To purchase; buy: get groceries.
a. To acquire as a result of action or effort: He got his information from the internet. You can't get water out of a stone.
b. To earn: got high marks in math.
c. To accomplish or attain as a result of military action.
4. To obtain by concession or request: couldn't get the time off; got permission to go.
a. To arrive at; reach: When did you get home?
b. To reach and board; catch: She got her plane two minutes before takeoff.
6. To succeed in communicating with, as by telephone: can't get me at the office until nine.
7. To become affected with (an illness, for example) by infection or exposure; catch: get the flu; got the mumps.
a. To be subjected to; undergo: got a severe concussion.
b. To receive as retribution or punishment: got six years in prison for tax fraud.
c. To sustain a specified injury to: got my arm broken.
a. To perceive or become aware of by one of the senses: get a whiff of perfume; got a look at the schedule.
b. To gain or have understanding of: Do you get this question?
c. To learn (a poem, for example) by heart; memorize.
d. To find or reach by calculating: get a total; can't get the answer.
10. To procreate; beget: “Is my life given me for nothing but to get children and work to bring them up?” (D.H. Lawrence).
a. To cause to become or be in a specified state or condition: got the children tired and cross; got the shirt clean.
b. To make ready; prepare: get lunch for the family.
c. To cause to come or go: got the car through traffic.
d. To cause to move or leave: Get me out of here!
12. To cause to undertake or perform; prevail on: got the guide to give us the complete tour.
a. To take, especially by force; seize: The detective got the suspect as he left the restaurant.
b. Informal To overcome or destroy: The ice storm got the rose bushes.
c. To evoke an emotional response or reaction in: Romantic music really gets me.
d. To annoy or irritate: What got me was his utter lack of initiative.
e. To present a difficult problem to; puzzle: “It's the suspect's indifference that gets me,” the detective said.
f. To take revenge on, especially to kill in revenge for a wrong.
g. Informal To hit or strike: She got him on the chin. The bullet got him in the arm.
14. Baseball To put out or strike out: got the batter with a cut fastball.
15. To begin or start. Used with the present participle: I have to get working on this or I'll miss my deadline.
a. To have current possession of. Used in the present perfect form with the meaning of the present: We've got plenty of cash.
b. Nonstandard To have current possession of. Used in the past tense form with the meaning of the present: They got a nice house in town.
c. To have as an obligation. Used in the present perfect form with the meaning of the present: I have got to leave early. You've got to do the dishes.
d. Nonstandard To have as an obligation. Used in the past tense with the meaning of the present: They got to clean up this mess.
a. To become or grow to be: eventually got well.
b. To be successful in coming or going: When will we get to Dallas?
2. To be able or permitted: never got to see Europe; finally got to work at home.
a. To be successful in becoming: get free of a drug problem.
b. Used with the past participle of transitive verbs as a passive voice auxiliary: got stung by a bee.
c. To become drawn in, entangled, or involved: got into debt; get into a hassle.
4. Informal To depart immediately: yelled at the dog to get.
5. To work for gain or profit; make money: Do you feel as though you're exhausting yourself getting and not making enough for spending?
1. Progeny; offspring: a thoroughbred's get.
2. Chiefly British Slang git2.
3. Sports A return, as in tennis, on a shot that seems impossible to reach.
1. To make understandable or clear: tried to get my point across.
2. To be convincing or understandable: How can I get across to the students?
To urge or scold: You should get after them to mow the lawn.
To improve one's situation; be successful.
1. To be or continue to be on harmonious terms: gets along with the in-laws.
2. To manage or fare with reasonable success: can't get along on those wages.
3. To make progress: Are you getting along with the project?
4. To grow old: getting along in years.
5. To go away; leave: The store owner told the children to get along.
1. To circumvent or evade: managed to get around the rules.
2. To deal with; overcome: got around the problem.
3. To convince or win over by flattering or cajoling.
4. To travel from place to place: It is hard to get around without a car.
5. To become known; circulate: Word got around.
6. To have numerous sexual partners; be promiscuous.
1. To touch or reach successfully: The cat hid where we couldn't get at it.
2. To try to make understandable; hint at or suggest: I don't know what you're getting at.
3. To discover or understand: tried to get at the cause of the problem.
4. Informal To bribe or influence by improper or illegal means: He got at the judge, and the charges were dismissed.
1. To break free; escape.
2. To leave or go away: wanted to come along, but couldn't get away.
To return to a person, place, or condition: Let's get back to the subject at hand.
1. To succeed at a level of minimal acceptability or with the minimal amount of effort: just got by in college.
2. To succeed in managing; survive: We'll get by if we economize.
3. To be unnoticed or ignored by: The mistake got by the editor, but the proofreader caught it.
1. To descend.
2. To give one's attention. Often used with to: Let's get down to work.
3. To exhaust, discourage, or depress: The heat was getting me down.
4. To swallow: got the pill down on the first try.
5. To describe in writing: If I could just get down how I feel!
6. Informal To lose one's inhibitions; enjoy oneself wholeheartedly.
1. To enter: got in the garage.
2. To arrive: We got in late last night.
3. To become or cause to become involved: She got in with the wrong crowd. Repeated loans from the finance company got me deeper in debt.
4. To become accepted, as in a club.
5. To succeed in making or doing: got in six deliveries before noon.
1. To become involved in: got into trouble by stealing cars.
2. Informal To be interested in: got into gourmet cooking.
3. To affect, especially negatively: What's gotten into you lately?
1. To start, as on a trip; leave.
2. To fire (a round of ammunition, for example): got off two shots before the deer disappeared.
3. To write and send, as a letter.
4. To escape, as from punishment or danger: got off scot-free.
5. To obtain a release or lesser penalty for: The attorney got her client off with a slap on the wrist.
6. To get permission to leave one's workplace: got off early and went fishing.
7. Informal To act or speak with effrontery: Where does he get off telling me to hurry up?
a. To have an orgasm.
b. To feel great pleasure or gratification: gets off on gossiping about coworkers.
c. To experience euphoria, for example, as a result of taking a drug.
1. To be or continue on harmonious terms: gets on well with the neighbors.
2. To manage or fare: How are you getting on?
3. To make progress; continue: get on with a performance.
4. To grow old: The CEO is getting on and will retire soon.
5. To acquire understanding or knowledge: got on to the con game.
1. To leave or escape: Our canary got out.
2. To become known: Somehow the secret got out.
3. To publish, as a newspaper.
1. To get across: got over the ditch.
2. To recover from: finally got over the divorce.
1. To finish or assist in finishing: The rat got through the maze. His mother got him through the college application process.
2. To succeed in making contact: telephoned but couldn't get through.
3. To make oneself understood: What do I need to do to get through to you?
1. To begin. Used with the present participle: got to reminiscing.
2. To start to deal with: didn't get to the housework until Sunday.
3. To influence or affect, especially adversely: The noise really gets to me.
1. To bring together; gather: getting the author's correspondence together.
2. To come together: We got together for lunch.
3. To arrive at an agreement: The feuding parties finally got together.
1. To arise from bed or rise to one's feet: She got up and opened the door.
2. To climb: How long will it take to get up the mountain?
3. To act as the creator or organizer of: got up a petition against rezoning.
4. To dress or adorn: She got herself up in a bizarre outfit.
5. To find within oneself; summon: got up the nerve to quit.
get around to
To find the time or occasion for; deal with: We finally got around to unpacking our knickknacks.
get away with
To escape the consequences of (a blameworthy act, for example): got away with cheating.
get back at
To take revenge on.
To begin to work; get started.
To obtain revenge.
get even with
To repay with an equivalent act, as for revenge.
To make a beginning; get started.
get hold (or ahold)of
1. To bring into one's grasp, possession, or control.
2. To communicate with, especially by telephone.
get it Informal
To be punished or scolded: You broke the vase. Now you're really going to get it!
get it on Slang
1. To become filled with energy or excitement.
2. To engage in sexual intercourse.
get it up
Vulgar Slang To have an erection.
To make no progress.
get (one's) Informal
To receive one's due punishment: After sassing his parents, he really got his.
get on the stick
To begin to work.
get on with
To continue or resume doing (something); make progress regarding: We must get on with the project.
get out of
To gain release from the obligation of: She tried to get out of taking her brother to the mall. He couldn't get out of his date on Saturday.
get (someone's) goat
To make angry or vexed.
get somewhere Informal
To make progress.
get there Informal
To make progress or achieve success: I'm not finished, but I'm getting there.
get wind of
To learn of: got wind of the scheme.
[Middle English geten, from Old Norse geta; see ghend- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
geta·ble, getta·ble adj.
Usage Note: The use of get in the passive, as in We got sunburned at the beach, is generally avoided in formal writing. In less formal contexts, however, the construction can provide a useful difference in tone or emphasis, as between the sentences The demonstrators were arrested and The demonstrators got arrested. The first example implies that the responsibility for the arrests rests primarily with the police, while the example using get implies that the demonstrators deliberately provoked the arrests. · In colloquial use and in numerous nonstandard varieties of American English, the past tense form got has the meaning of the present. This arose probably by dropping the helping verb have from the past perfects have got, has got. We've got to go, we've got a lot of problems became We got to go, we got a lot of problems. The reanalysis of got as a present-tense form has led to the creation of a third-person singular gots in some varieties of English.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.