When you Google the word “get,” you find 638,000,000 entries. That’s a clear indication that “get” is very commonly used and very versatile—it has a lot of functions. It has multiple definitions and is used in combination with other words in many idiomatic expressions.
Let’s look at some examples:
- I got some more coffee at the store. We were out.
In the first sentence above, the word “get” means “acquire.” You can get new clothes, get a raise, get a pet, or get a haircut among many other things.
- Can you go get me a cup of coffee? I have to stay at my desk.
In this second example, it means “bring.” Your dog might go get the newspaper for you in the morning and the mail in the afternoon.
- I’m getting sleepy. I’d better drink some coffee.
In the above example, “getting” means “become” or “start to be.” When we notice ourselves getting hungry, we eat a snack. If we start getting bored, we change activities. If we start getting fat, we exercise.
In this next example, it means “achieve a condition or state.” Here, the condition or state is milk that is hot enough.
We can get to be really good at something. We can get to a particular level in a game. Most familiarly, we can get married or divorced.
- Do you get what someone means when they say they get buzzed if they drink too much coffee?
In this example, “get” means “understand.” People—especially teachers—will ask you all the time if you get what they’re saying: “Do you get it?” You’ll answer: “I get it” or “I don’t get it.”
- I don’t know. You got me!
Here, it means: “I have no idea!” If someone answers your question with “You got me,” you should go ask someone else!
- Ouch! The waitress just got me with that hot coffee pot!
In the final example, “get” means “hurt or injure.” In cop shows, after a gun battle, a character will say, “They got me!” to mean they are injured or dying.
These are only some of the meanings.
Follow the link at the end of this blog to look at a typical on-line dictionary entry for the word get. Also, scroll down to look at the graph of how the use of the word “get” has increased in recent years.
Learn about more English words with multiple meanings – these one are tricky!