Meaning of “get at sth” in the English Dictionary

"get at sth" in British English

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get at sth

phrasal verb with get uk /ɡet/ us /ɡet/ verb present participle getting, past tense got, past participle got or US usually gotten


C1 informal When someone is getting at something, they mean it or are trying to express it:

I'm not sure what you're getting at - don't you think I should come tonight?
What do you think the poet is getting at in these lines?

More examples

  • It's not clear what he's getting at in this section of the article.
  • She didn't understand what her husband was getting at.
  • It's obvious what he's getting at. He wants you to cook dinner.
  • What are you getting at?
  • What they're getting at is that they think the house is overpriced.

(Definition of “get at sth” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)