Meaning of “get” in the English Dictionary

"get" in British English

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uk /ɡet/ us /ɡet/ present participle getting, past tense got, past participle got or US usually gotten

get verb (OBTAIN)

A1 [ T ] to obtain, buy, or earn something:

He went to the shop to get some milk.
UK I think she gets about £40,000 a year.
We stopped on the way to get some breakfast.
I managed to get all three suitcases for under $200.
How much did he get for his car? (= How much money did he sell it for?)
Where did you get your shoes from?

A1 [ T ] to receive or be given something:

UK I got quite a surprise when I saw her with short hair.
When did you get the news about Sam?
I got a phone call from Phil last night.
What grade did he get for the exam?
I got the impression that they'd rather be alone.
What did you get for your birthday?
We don't get much snow (= it does not often snow) here.
I managed to get a glimpse of him (= see him for a moment) through the crowds.
If you get a moment (= have time available), could you help me fill in that form?
She gets such pleasure from her garden.
If you can get some time off work, we could finish the decorating.
I can never get her to myself (= be alone with her) because she's always surrounded by people.

A2 [ T ] to go somewhere and bring back someone or something:

Let me go get my glasses.
[ + two objects ] Can I get you a drink?

[ T ] to take someone or something into your possession by force:

Have the police got the man who did it yet?
Your cat got a bird this morning!

More examples

  • The advantage of booking tickets in advance is that you get better seats.
  • What class of degree did you get?
  • I don't know if I can get the car tonight - I'll have to clear it with Mum.
  • She gets a 15% commission on every machine she sells.
  • I got some shoes cheap in the sale.

get verb (REACH)

A1 [ I usually + adv/prep, T ] to reach or arrive at a particular place:

We hadn't even got as far as London when the car broke down.
What time does he normally get home (from work)?
If you get to the restaurant before us, just wait at the bar.

[ I usually + adv/prep ] to reach a particular stage, condition, or time:

You earn loads of money if you get to the top in that profession.
It got to Thursday and she still hadn't heard any news.
informal I'm getting to the stage now where I just want to give up.
get far/somewhere/anywhere

to make progress or to improve:

She's taking flute lessons, but she really doesn't seem to be getting anywhere with it.
It's been hard settling in, but I feel like I'm getting somewhere at last.

More examples

  • We enjoyed wonderful views when we got to the top of the mountain.
  • He was exhausted by the time he got to the finish line.
  • Your bags will be waiting for you when you get to the hotel.
  • The aid was getting to the people who needed it most.
  • She's been trying hard, but she doesn't feel that she's getting anywhere.

get verb (BECOME ILL WITH)

B1 [ T ] to become ill with a disease, virus, etc.:

I got food poisoning at that cheap little seafood restaurant.
Kids get all kinds of bugs at school.

More examples

  • You can get very nasty skin diseases from bathing in dirty water.
  • I got a crick in my neck from painting the ceiling.
  • I can't come in to work today - I've got a bit of a dodgy stomach.
  • She's got a nasty dose of flu.
  • When I've got a cold, I don't feel like eating.

get verb (START TO BE)

B1 [ L ] to become or start to be:

He gets really upset if you mention his baldness.
Is your cold getting any better?
Your coffee's getting cold.
After a while you get used to all the noise.
You're getting to be such a big boy, aren't you!
[ + to infinitive ] How did you get to be a belly dancer?
get going/moving C2 informal

to start to go or move:

We'd better get moving or we'll be late.

More examples

  • He got fed up with all the travelling he had to do.
  • The trouble with this carpet is that it gets dirty very easily.
  • Your essay gets a bit confused halfway through when you introduce too many ideas at once.
  • The music just gets distorted when you play it so loud.
  • It was getting dark now and we were tired.

get verb (CAUSE)

B1 [ T ] to cause something to happen, or cause someone or something to do something:

[ + adj ] She had to get the kids ready for school.
We get our groceries delivered.
[ + -ing verb ] Were you able to get the copy machine working?
[ + to infinitive ] I can't get my computer to work!

B2 [ T + obj + to infinitive ] to persuade someone to do something:

Why don't you get Nicole to come to the party?

[ T + past participle ] to do something to something or someone without intending to or by accident:

He got his bag caught in the train doors as they were closing.
I always get the two youngest sisters' names confused.

More examples

  • These arguments always get my adrenalin going.
  • I've been running round in circles trying to get all the reports finished before the meeting.
  • Can you get this cork to come out of the bottle?
  • "Do you think you could get this parcel mailed for me, please?" "Consider it done."
  • The law has criminalized prostitution but not got rid of it.

get verb (BE)

B1 [ L + past participle ] sometimes used instead of "be" to form the passive:

I got shouted at by some idiot for walking past his house.
They're getting married later this year.
This window got broken.

More examples

  • He converted to Catholicism when he got married.
  • I got chucked out of the exam for cribbing from the guy in front.
  • My dress got all crushed in my suitcase.
  • For months I've been dining out on the story of what happened when my house got flooded.
  • Are you getting excited about your holiday?

get verb (MOVE)

B1 [ I usually + adv/prep ] to move to a different place or into a different position:

I hit my head as I was getting into the car.
Get out of here now or I'll call the police.
The bed is too wide - we'll never get it through the door.
Getting up the ladder was easy enough - it was coming down that was the problem.
He got down on his knees and asked me to marry him!

More examples

  • Journalists had insisted on getting to the front line of the battle, heedless of the risks.
  • Security did not prevent an interloper from getting onto the stage at the opening ceremony.
  • You get into the building through a side door.
  • I tried to get in the cinema last night but it was full.
  • They got into the car and zoomed off.

get verb (TRAVEL)

A1 [ T ] to travel somewhere in a train, bus, or other vehicle:

Shall we get a taxi to the station?

More examples

  • It was a good job I got the earlier train.
  • You can get a bus from just outside the supermarket.
  • It'll be more expensive if you get a taxi.
  • It was too late to get a bus, so we had to walk home.
  • Get the train to King's Cross and I'll meet you at the station.

get verb (DEAL WITH)

B1 [ T ] to deal with or answer a ringing phone, knock on the door, etc.:

Hey, Ty, someone's at the door - would you get it, please?

More examples

  • Pass me the bill. I'll get it.
  • Will you please get the phone?
  • That's the doorbell. You'd better get it.
  • If the phone rings when I'm in the shower, will you get it please?
  • If you get the drinks, I'll pay for the meal.

get verb (HAVE CHANCE)

B2 [ I + to infinitive ] to have the chance to do something:

I never get to see her now that she works somewhere else.

More examples

  • Did you get to visit your uncle when you were in Canada?
  • We never got to test drive the car before we bought it.
  • They got to play in the sandpit while the adults were shopping.
  • Who gets to have the last piece of chocolate cake?
  • We don't often get to spend the weekend together.


B2 [ T ] to understand or hear something:

I didn't get what he said because the music was so loud.
I told that joke to Sophia, but she didn't get it.

More examples

  • I didn't get that joke he told - did you?
  • Sorry, I still don't get it. You'll have to explain.
  • I didn't get that. Could you say it again?
  • I didn't get half of what he said because he talks so fast.
  • Did you get that? I hadn't a clue what he said.

get verb (PREPARE)

[ T ] to prepare a meal:

I'll put the kids to bed while you're getting dinner ready.

More examples

  • I thought I could score some brownie points with my mother-in-law by offering to get dinner.
  • I'll do the main course, if you get the salad.
  • She was already up getting breakfast when I came downstairs.
  • I'll cook this evening, you got dinner last night.
  • He just sat in front of the TV while I was getting the dinner.

get verb (CONFUSE)

[ T ] informal to confuse someone and make them completely unable to understand or explain:

Give him a technical question - that'll really get him!
you've got me there! informal

something that you say when you do not know the answer to a question:

"How many ounces in a kilo?" "You've got me there."

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

"get" in American English

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us /ɡet/ present participle getting, past participle gotten /ˈɡɑt·ən/ got /ɡɑt/

get verb (OBTAIN)

[ T ] to take something into your possession, or have something happen that you accept or receive:

He climbed over the fence to get his ball back.
Monique raised her hand to get the teacher’s attention.
Can I get you a drink?
Dad keeps telling me to get a job.
What did you get on the test (= What mark did you receive)?
I think she gets (= earns) about $10 an hour.
We don’t get much snow in this part of the country (= It does not often snow).

[ T ] To get something often means to buy or pay for it:

He went to the store to get milk.

get verb (BECOME)

[ L ] to become or start to be:

Your coffee is getting cold.
He’s gotten so big, I hardly recognized him.
They’re getting married later this year.
Tom got lost in the woods.
What time do you get off work?
We’d better get going/moving or we’ll be late.

get verb (BECOME ILL WITH)

[ T ] to become ill with a disease:

Everyone seems to be getting the flu.

get verb (CAUSE)

[ T ] to cause something to be done or persuade someone to do something:

The bed is too wide – we’ll never get it through the door.
I can’t get this printer to work!

get verb (PREPARE)

[ T ] to prepare a meal:

Why don’t you get supper ready?

get verb (MOVE)

[ always + adv/prep ] to move in a particular direction:

[ I ] Get away from that wet paint!
[ I ] He got down on his hands and knees to look for his contact lens.
[ T ] Her throat was so sore that she had trouble getting the medicine down (= swallowing it).
[ I ] I hit my head as I was getting into the car.
[ M ] Momma said we have to get these wet clothes off (= remove them).
[ T ] Get your feet off the couch (= move them off it).

[ always + adv/prep ] To get off a road when you are driving means to turn onto another road:

[ I ] Get off the expressway at exit 43.

[ always + adv/prep ] To get off a train, bus, or aircraft is to leave it:

[ I ] Get off at Union Station.

get verb (TRAVEL)

[ T ] to go into a vehicle or aircraft for traveling:

We could call for a taxi or get the bus.

get verb (ARRIVE)

[ I always + adv/prep ] to arrive at a place or reach a stage in a process:

We only got as far as Denver when the car broke down.
What time does he normally get home from work?
We’re not getting very far (= not advancing) with this computer program, are we?

get verb (UNDERSTAND)

[ T ] to understand:

I think I got the general idea of the chapter.
The music was loud and I didn’t get what he said.
I never said he was mean – you’ve got it all wrong (= you are confused about this matter).

get verb (CALCULATE)

[ T ] to calculate the answer to a mathematical problem:

What do you get if you divide 20 by 4?

get verb (ANSWER)

[ T ] to answer a ringing telephone, a knock at the door, etc.:

Hey, Juan, someone’s at the door – would you get it, please?

get verb (HIT)

[ T ] to hit someone, esp. with something thrown or a bullet:

My first throw missed, but the second got him in the leg.

get verb (ANNOY)

[ T ] infml to cause someone to feel slightly angry:

It gets me when I have to both cook dinner and clean the dishes.


[ T ] infml to have an emotional effect on someone:

That scene in the movie, when the father and daughter are reunited, always gets me.

(Definition of “get” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"get" in Business English

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uk /ɡet/ us -tt-, got, got, or US gotten

[ T ] to obtain, buy, or earn something:

I think she gets about $40,000 a year.
get sth for sth How much did he get for his business when he sold it?

[ T ] to receive or be given something:

get sth from sb/sth The results we got from our market research team indicate that potential customers seem to like the new ad campaign.

[ I, usually + adv/prep ] to reach a particular stage, condition, or time:

get to sth Your earnings increase hugely if you get to the top in the legal profession.

[ T ] informal to pay for something:

I'll get the bill.

(Definition of “get” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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