Definition of get verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



; ɡet
getting, got, got
; ɡɑːt
In spoken North American English the past participle gotten /ˈɡɒtn/ /ˈɡɑːtn/ is almost always used.


1 [transitive, no passive] get something to receive somethingI got a letter from Dave this morning.What (= What presents) did you get for your birthday?He gets (= earns) about $40000 a year.This room gets very little sunshine.I got a shock when I saw the bill.I get the impression that he is bored with his job.2 [transitive, no passive] to obtain somethingget something Where did you get (= buy) that skirt?Did you manage to get tickets for the concert?She opened the door wider to get a better look.Try to get some sleep.He has just got a new job.get something for somebody Did you get a present for your mother?get somebody/yourself something Did you get your mother a present?Why don't you get yourself a car?$100 will get you the basic model.You can get the basic model for $100.3 [transitive, no passive] get something (for something) to obtain or receive an amount of money by selling somethingHow much did you get for your car?


4 [transitive] to go to a place and bring somebody/something back
get somebody/something Quick— go and get a cloth!Somebody get a doctor!I have to go and get my mother from the airport (= collect her).get something for somebody Get a drink for John.get somebody/yourself something Get John a drink.


5 [transitive, no passive] get something to receive something as a punishmentHe got ten years (= was sent to prison for ten years) for armed robbery.


6 [transitive, no passive] get something to receive broadcasts from a particular television or radio stationWe can't get Channel 5 in our area.


7 [transitive, no passive] get something to buy something, for example a newspaper or magazine, regularly
Which newspaper do you get?


8 [transitive, no passive] get something to achieve or be given a particular mark/grade in an examHe got a ‘C’ in Chemistry and a ‘B’ in English.


9 [transitive, no passive] get something to become infected with an illness; to suffer from a pain, etcI got this cold off (= from) you!She gets (= often suffers from) really bad headaches.


10 [transitive, no passive] get somebody to be connected with somebody by telephoneI wanted to speak to the manager but I got his secretary instead.


11 linking verb to reach a particular state or condition; to make somebody/something/yourself reach a particular state or condition+ adjective to get angry/bored/hungry/fatYou'll soon get used to the climate here.We ought to go; it's getting get dressed/undressed(= to put your clothes on/take your clothes off)They plan to get married in the summer.She's upstairs getting ready.I wouldn't go there alone; you might get (= be) mugged.My car got (= was) stolen at the weekend.get somebody/something + adjective Don't get your dress dirty!He got his fingers caught in the door.She soon got the children ready for school.12 [intransitive] get to do something to reach the point at which you feel, know, are, etc. somethingAfter a time you get to realize that these things don't matter.You'll like her once you get to know her.His drinking is getting to be a problem.She's getting to be an old lady now.


13 [transitive] to make, persuade, etc. somebody/something to do somethingget somebody/something to do something I couldn't get the car to start this morning.He got his sister to help him with his homework.You'll never get him to understand.get somebody/something doing something Can you really get that old car going again?It's not hard to get him talking—the problem is stopping him!

get something done

14 [transitive] get something done to cause something to happen or be doneI must get my hair cut.I'll never get all this work finished.


15 [transitive] get doing something to start doing somethingI got talking to her.We need to get going soon.


16 [intransitive] get to do something (informal) to have the opportunity to do somethingHe got to try out all the new software.It's not fair—I never get to go first.


17 [intransitive] + adverb/preposition to arrive at or reach a place or pointWe got to San Diego at 7 o'clock.You got in very late last night.What time did you get here?I haven't got very far with the book I'm reading.


18 [intransitive, transitive] to move to or from a particular place or in a particular direction, sometimes with difficulty; to make somebody/something do this+ adverb/preposition The bridge was destroyed so we couldn't get across the river.She got into bed.He got down from the ladder.We didn't get(= go)to bed until 3 a.m.Where do we get on the bus?I'm getting off(= leaving the train) at the next station.Where have they got to(= where are they)?We must be getting home; it's past midnight.get somebody/something + adverb/preposition The general had to get his troops across the river.We couldn't get the piano through the door.We'd better call a taxi and get you home.I can't get the lid off.19 [transitive, no passive] get something to use a bus, taxi, plane, etcWe're going to be late—let's get a taxi.I usually get the bus to work.


20 [transitive] (especially British English) to prepare a mealget something Who's getting the lunch?get something for somebody/yourself I must go home and get tea for the kids.get somebody/yourself something I must go home and get the kids their tea.


21 [transitive] get something (informal) to answer the telephone or a door when somebody calls, knocks, etcWill you get the phone?


22 [transitive] get somebody to catch or take hold of somebody, especially in order to harm or punish themHe was on the run for a week before the police got get somebody by the arm/wrist/throatShe fell overboard and the sharks got her.He thinks everybody is out to get him(= trying to harm him). (informal) I'll get you for that!23 [transitive] get somebody + adverb/preposition to hit or wound somebodyThe bullet got him in the neck.


24 [transitive, no passive] get somebody/something (informal) to understand somebody/somethingI don't get you.She didn't get the joke.I don't get it—why would she do a thing like that?I get the message—you don't want me to come.


25 [transitive, no passive] get something (informal) used to say that something happens or existsYou get(= There are) all these kids hanging around in the street.They still get cases of typhoid there.


26 [transitive, no passive] get somebody (informal) to make somebody feel confused because they do not understand something
‘What's the capital of Bhutan?’ ‘ You've got me there!(= I don't know)
27 [transitive, no passive] get somebody (informal) to annoy somebodyWhat gets me is having to do the same thing all day long.
Get is one of the most common words in English, but some people try to avoid it in formal writing.
Most idioms containing get are at the entries for the nouns and adjectives in the idioms, for example get somebody's goat is at goat. 

be getting on

(informal)1 (of a person) to be becoming old2 (of time) to be becoming lateThe time's getting on—we ought to be going.

be getting on for…

(especially British English) to be nearly a particular time, age or numberIt must be getting on for midnight.He's getting on for eighty.

can't get over something

(informal) used to say that you are shocked, surprised, amused, etc. by somethingI can't get over how rude she was.

get away from it all

(informal) to have a short holiday/vacation in a place where you can relax

get it on (with somebody)

(slang, especially North American English) to have sex with somebody

get it

(also catch hell) (both North American English) (British English catch it) (informal) to be punished or spoken to angrily about something

get it up

(slang) (of a man) to have an erection

get somebody going

(British English, informal) to make somebody angry, worried or excited

get somebody nowhere/not get somebody anywhere

to not help somebody make progress or succeed
This line of investigation is getting us nowhere.Being rude to me won't get you anywhere.

get somewhere/anywhere/nowhere

to make some progress/no progress
After six months' work on the project, at last I feel I'm getting somewhere.I don't seem to be getting anywhere with this letter.

get there

to achieve your aim or complete a task
I'm sure you'll get there in the end.It's not perfect but we're getting there(= making progress).

get this!

(informal, especially North American English) used to say that you are going to tell somebody something that they will find surprising or interestingOK, get this guys—there are only two left!So get this—I did all the work and he got the money.

how selfish, stupid, ungrateful, etc. can you get?

(informal) used to express surprise or disapproval that somebody has been so selfish, etc.

there's no getting away from something


you can't get away from something

you have to admit that something unpleasant is true

what are you, was he, etc. getting at?

(informal) used to ask, especially in an angry way, what somebody is/was suggestingI'm partly to blame? What exactly are you getting at?

what has got into somebody?

(informal) used to say that somebody has suddenly started to behave in a strange or different wayWhat's got into Alex? He never used to worry like that.I'm sorry for laughing like that—I don't know what got into me.
Phrasal verbs

get about

(British English) = get around

get above yourself

(especially British English) to have too high an opinion of yourself

get across (to somebody)


get something across (to somebody)

to be communicated or understood; to succeed in communicating somethingYour meaning didn't really get across.He's not very good at getting his ideas across.

get ahead (of somebody)

to make progress (further than others have done)She wants to get ahead in her career.He soon got ahead of the others in his class.

get along

1 (usually used in the progressive tenses) to leave a placeIt's time we were getting along.2 = get on

get around

1 (British English also get about) to move from place to place or from person to personShe gets around with the help of a stick.News soon got around that he had resigned.2 (especially North American English) = get round

get at somebody

(usually used in the progressive tenses) to keep criticizing somebodyHe's always getting at me.She feels she's being got at.

get at somebody/something

to reach somebody/something; to gain access to somebody/somethingThe files are locked up and I can't get at them.

get at something

to learn or find out somethingThe truth is sometimes difficult to get at.

get away

1 to have a holiday/vacationWe're hoping to get away for a few days at Easter. related noun getaway2 (British English, informal) used to show that you do not believe or are surprised by what somebody has said‘These tickets didn't cost me a thing.’ ‘Get away!’

get away (from…)

to succeed in leaving a placeI won't be able to get away from the office before 7.

get away (from somebody/…)

to escape from somebody or a place

get away with something

1 to steal something and escape with itThieves got away with computer equipment worth $30000. related noun getaway2 to receive a relatively light punishmentHe was lucky to get away with only a fine.3 to do something wrong and not be punished for itDon't be tempted to cheat—you'll never get away with it.get away with doing something Nobody gets away with insulting me like that.4 to manage with less of something than you might expect to needAfter the first month, you should be able to get away with one lesson a week.

get back

to return, especially to your homeWhat time did you get back last night?We only got back from our trip yesterday.

get something back

to obtain something again after having lost itShe's got her old job back.I never lend books—you never get them back.

get back (in)

(of a political party) to win an election after having lost the previous one

get back at somebody

(informal) to do something bad to somebody who has done something bad to you; to get revenge on somebodyI'll find a way of getting back at him!

get back to somebody

(informal) to speak or write to somebody again later, especially in order to give a replyI'll find out and get back to you.

get back to something

to return to somethingCould we get back to the question of funding?

get back together (with somebody)

to start a relationship with somebody again, especially a romantic relationship, after having finished a previous relationship with the same personI just got back together with my ex-girlfriend.Is it true that the band is planning to get back together?

get behind (with something)

to fail to make enough progress or to produce something at the right timeI'm getting behind with my work.He got behind with the payments for his car.

get by (on/in/with something)

to manage to live or do a particular thing using the money, knowledge, equipment, etc. that you haveHow does she get by on such a small salary?I can just about get by in German (= I can speak basic German).

get down

(of children) (British English) to leave the table after a meal

get somebody down

(informal) to make somebody feel sad or depressedDon't let it get you down too much.

get something down

1 to swallow something, usually with difficulty2 to make a note of something
write down
Did you get his number down?

get down to something

to begin to do something; to give serious attention to somethingLet's get down to business.I like to get down to work by 9.get down to something doing something It's time I got down to thinking about that essay.

get in


get into something

1 to arrive at a placeThe train got in late.What time do you get into Heathrow?2 to win an electionThe Republican candidate stands a good chance of getting in.She first got into Parliament (= became an MP) in 2005.3 to be admitted to a school, university, etcShe's got into Durham to study law.

get somebody in

to call somebody to your house to do a job

get something in

1 to collect or gather somethingto get the crops/harvest in2 to buy a supply of somethingRemember to get in some beers for this evening.3 to manage to do or say somethingI got in an hour's work while the baby was asleep.She talks so much it's impossible to get a word in.

get in on something

to take part in an activityHe's hoping to get in on any discussions about the new project.

get in with somebody

(informal) to become friendly with somebody, especially in order to gain an advantage

get into something

1 to put on a piece of clothing, especially with difficultyI can't get into these shoes—they're too small.2 to start a career in a particular professionWhat's the best way to get into journalism?3 to become involved in something; to start somethingI got into conversation with an Italian get into a fightAre you sure you know what you're getting into?4 to develop a particular habitDon't let yourself get into bad habits.You should get into the routine of saving the document you are working on every ten minutes.How did she get into (= start taking) drugs?5 (informal) to become interested in somethingI'm really getting into jazz these days.6 to become familiar with something; to learn somethingI haven't really got into my new job yet.

get into something


get yourself/somebody into something

to reach a particular state or condition; to make somebody reach a particular state or conditionHe got into trouble with the police while he was still at school.Three people were rescued from a yacht which got into difficulties.She got herself into a real state (= became very anxious) before the interview.

get off


get off somebody

used especially to tell somebody to stop touching you or another personGet off me, that hurts!

get off


get somebody off

1 to leave a place or start a journey; to help somebody do thisWe got off straight after breakfast.He got the children off to school.2 (British English) to fall asleep; to make somebody do thisI had great difficulty getting off to sleep.They couldn't get the baby off till midnight.

get off


get off something

to leave work with permissionCould you get off (work) early tomorrow?

get off something


get somebody off something

to stop discussing a particular subject; to make somebody do thisPlease can we get off the subject of dieting?I couldn't get him off politics once he had started.

get something off

to send something by post/mailI must get these letters off first thing tomorrow.

get off on something

(informal) to be excited by something, especially in a sexual way

get off (with something)

to have no or almost no injuries in an accidentShe was lucky to get off with just a few bruises.

get off (with something)


get somebody off (with something)

to receive no or almost no punishment; to help somebody do thisHe was lucky to get off with a small fine.A good lawyer might be able to get you off.

get off with somebody

(informal, especially British English) to have a sexual or romantic experience with somebody; to start a sexual relationship with somebodySteve got off with Tracey at the party.

get on

1 (also get along) used to talk or ask about how well somebody is doing in a particular situationHe's getting on very well at school.How did you get on at the interview?2 to be successful in your career, etcParents are always anxious for their children to get on.I don't know how he's going to get on in life.3 (also get along) to manage or surviveWe can get on perfectly well without her.I just can't get along without a secretary.

get on to somebody

1 to contact somebody by telephone, letter or emailThe heating isn't working; I'll get on to the landlord about it.2 to become aware of somebody's activities, especially when they have been doing something bad or illegalHe had been stealing money from the company for years before they got on to him.

get on to something

to begin to talk about a new subjectIt's time we got on to the question of costs.

get on with somebody


get on (together)

(both British English) (also get along with somebody, get along (together) North American English, British English) to have a friendly relationship with somebodyShe's never really got on with her sister.She and her sister have never really got on.We get along just fine together.

get on with something

1 (also get along with something) used to talk or ask about how well somebody is doing a taskI'm not getting on very fast with this job.2 to continue doing something, especially after an interruptionBe quiet and get on with your work. (informal) Get on with it! We haven't got all day.

get out

to become knownIf this gets out there'll be trouble.

get something out

1 to produce or publish somethingWill we get the book out by the end of the year?2 to say something with difficultyShe managed to get out a few words of thanks.

get out (of something)

to leave or go out of a placeYou ought to get out of the house more.She screamed at me to get out.

get out of something

1 to avoid a responsibility or dutyWe promised we'd go—we can't get out of it now.get out of doing something I wish I could get out of going to that meeting.2 to stop having a particular habitI can't get out of the habit of waking at six in the morning.

get something out of somebody

to persuade somebody to tell or give you something, especially by forceThe police finally got a confession out of her.

get something out of somebody/something

to gain or obtain something good from somebody/somethingShe seems to get a lot out of life.He always gets the best out of people.

get over something

to deal with or gain control of something
She can't get over her shyness.I think the problem can be got over without too much difficulty.

get over something/somebody

to return to your usual state of health, happiness, etc. after an illness, a shock, the end of a relationship, etcHe was disappointed at not getting the job, but he'll get over it.

get over yourself

(informal) to stop thinking that you are so important; to stop being so seriousJust get over yourself and stop moaning!He needs to grow up a bit and get over himself.

get something over (to somebody)

to make something clear to somebodyHe didn't really get his meaning over to the audience.

get something over (with)

(informal) to complete something unpleasant but necessaryI'll be glad to get the exam over and done with.

get round/around somebody

to persuade somebody to agree or to do what you want, usually by doing nice things for themShe knows how to get round her dad.

get round/around something

to deal with a problem successfully
A clever lawyer might find a way of getting round that clause.

get round/around to something

to find the time to do somethingI meant to do the ironing but I didn't get round to it.get round/around to doing something I hope to get around to answering your letter next week.

get through something

1 to use up a large amount of somethingWe got through a fortune while we were in New York!2 to manage to do or complete somethingLet's start—there's a lot to get through.

get through (something)

(British English) to be successful in an exam, etc.

get somebody through something

to help somebody to be successful in an examShe got all her students through the exam.

get through (something)


get something through (something)

to be officially accepted; to make something be officially acceptedThey got the bill through Congress.

get through (to somebody)

1 to reach somebodyThousands of refugees will die if these supplies don't get through to them.2 to make contact with somebody by telephoneI tried calling you several times but I couldn't get through.

get through (to something)

(of a player or team) to reach the next stage of a competitionMoya has got through to the final.

get through to somebody

to make somebody understand or accept what you say, especially when you are trying to help themI find it impossible to get through to her.

get through with something

to finish or complete a task

get to somebody

(informal) to annoy or affect somebodyThe pressure of work is beginning to get to him.

get somebody/something together

to collect people or things in one placeI'm trying to get a team together for Saturday.

get together (with somebody)

(informal) to meet with somebody socially or in order to discuss somethingWe must get together for a drink sometime.Management should get together with the union. related noun get-together

get up

1 to stand up after sitting, lying, etc.
The class got up when the teacher came in.
2 if the sea or wind gets up, it increases in strength and becomes violent

get up


get somebody up

to get out of bed; to make somebody get out of bedHe always gets up early.Could you get me up at 6.30 tomorrow?

get yourself/somebody up as something

[often passive] (British English) to dress yourself/somebody as somebody/something elseShe was got up as an Indian princess. related noun get-up

get something up

to arrange or organize somethingWe're getting up a party for her birthday.

get up to something

1 to reach a particular pointWe got up to page 72 last lesson.2 to be busy with something, especially something surprising or unpleasantWhat on earth will he get up to next?She's been getting up to her old tricks again!
Usage noteUsage note: become / get / go / turnThese verbs are used frequently with the following adjectives:
become ~get ~go ~turn ~
involvedused towrongblue
Become is more formal than get. Both describe changes in people’s emotional or physical state, or natural or social changes.Go is usually used for negative changes.Go and turn are both used for changes of colour.Turn is also used for changes in the weather.
Usage noteUsage note: returncome back go back get back turn backThese words all mean to come or go back from one place to another.return to come or go back from one place to another:I waited a long time for him to return. Return is slightly more formal than the other words in this group, and is used more often in writing or formal speech.come back to return. Come back is usually used from the point of view of the person or place that somebody returns to:Come back and visit again soon!go back to return to the place you recently or originally came from or that you have been to before. Go back is usually used from the point of view of the person who is returning:Do you ever want to go back to China?get back to arrive back somewhere, especially at your home or the place where you are staying:What time did you get back last night?turn back to return the way that you came, especially because something stops you from continuing:The weather got so bad that we had to turn return/come back/go back/get back to/from/with somethingto return/come back/go back/get back/turn back againto return/come back/go back/get back home/to workto return/come back/get back safelyUsage noteUsage note: standget up stand up rise get to your feet be on your feetThese words all mean to be in an upright position with your weight on your feet, or to put yourself in this position.stand to be in an upright position with your weight on your feet :She was too weak to stand. Stand still when I'm talking to you! Stand is usually used with an adverb or prepositional phrase to show where or how somebody stands, but sometimes another phrase or clause is used to show what somebody does while they are standing:We stood talking for a few minutes. He stood and looked out to sea.get up to get into a standing position from a sitting, kneeling or lying position:Please don't get up!stand up to be in a standing position; to stand after sitting:Stand up straight! Everyone would stand up when the teacher entered the classroom.stand, get up or stand up?Stand usually means ‘to be in a standing position’ but can also mean ‘to get into a standing position’. Stand up can be used with either of these meanings, but its use is more restricted: it is used especially when somebody tells somebody or a group of people to stand. Get up is the most frequent way of saying ‘get into a standing position’, and this can be from a sitting, kneeling or lying position; if you stand up, this is nearly always after sitting, especially on a chair. If you want to tell somebody politely that they do not need to move from their chair, use get up:Please don't stand up!rise (formal) to get into a standing position from a sitting, kneeling or lying position:Would you all rise, please, to welcome our visiting speaker.get to your feet to stand up after sitting, kneeling or lying:I helped her to get to her on your feet to be standing up:I've been on my feet all day.Usage noteUsage note: understandsee get follow grasp comprehendThese words all mean to know or realize something, for example why something happens, how something works or what something means.understand to know or realize the meaning of words, a language, what somebody says, etc; to know or realize how or why something happens, how it works or why it is important:I don't understand the instructions. Doctors still don't understand much about the disease.see to understand what is happening, what somebody is saying, how something works or how important something is:‘It opens like this.’ ‘ Oh, I see.’ Oh yes, I see what you mean.get (informal) to understand a joke, what somebody is trying to tell you, or a situation that they are trying to describe:She didn't get the joke. I don't get you.follow to understand an explanation, a story or the meaning of something:Sorry—I don't quite follow. The plot is almost impossible to follow.grasp to come to understand a fact, an idea or how to do something:They failed to grasp the importance of his words.understand or grasp?You can use understand or grasp for the action of realizing the meaning or importance of something for the first time:It's a difficult concept for children to understand/grasp. Only understand can be used to talk about languages, words or writing:I don't grasp French/the instructions.comprehend (often used in negative statements) (formal) to understand a fact, idea or reason:The concept of infinity is almost impossible for the human mind to understand/see/get/follow/grasp/comprehend what/why/how…to understand/see/grasp/comprehend that…to understand/see/get/grasp the point/idea (of something)to be easy/difficult/hard to understand/see/follow/grasp/comprehendto fully understand/see/grasp/comprehend something