Idiom Definitions: G-L

Here's a list of idiom definitions from G-L. Idioms are phrases that mean something more or different than just their combination of words. We use idioms as a kind of "shorthand" to express to express  shared attitudes-- but ideas or attitudes that may be quite different in another culture.

The idioms on this page are listed in alphabetical order starting with the first main word of the expression (omitting ‘a,’ ‘an,’ ‘the,’ or ‘to’), with cross references for the most important other words of the expression. For idioms beginning with A, see List of Idioms, A-F.

Idiom Expressions with 'Get'

A lady in a blanket sneezing into a tissue."I hope I can get over this cold soon!"
  • To get along with means to have a good relationship with someone. (“Sally gets along well with Beth.”)

  • To get back can be to return (come back). It can also be a command to move away from danger: “Get back! That car’s about to blow up!”
  • To get back at means to get revenge: "Tony took Joe's girlfriend, but Joe got back at him by preventing him from getting a big role in the school play."
  • To get in(to) (or out of) cars or boats or on (or off) a bus, train, or plane means to enter or to exit those vehicles. (“Get on the train right away. It leaves in five minutes.”)
  • To get over means to recover from an illness, depression, or a bad situation or relationship. (“He left you six weeks ago. Get over it!”)
  • To get rid of something is to dispose of it (throw it away.)
  • To get up is to get out of bed in the morning, or to stand up.

For more expressions with ‘get’ (get ahead, get a hold of, get in touch, get it, get on someone’s nerves, and get side-tracked) see Common Idioms.

Idioms Definitions: 'Give up' to 'Hook up'

  • To give up is to surrender or to stop doing or using something. (“He gave up eating candy for Lent.”)
  • To go down is to decrease. (“The price of computers is going down.”)
  • To go on (or to keep on) is to continue an action.
  • To go over means to review or discuss plans, work, homework, or a document.
  • To go up is to increase. (“The cost of living is going up again.”)
  • To hang up a phone is to end the call by setting the receiver in its cradle (or turning off a cell phone.) To hang up a picture or curtains is to fasten them in place.
  • To hook up electronic equipment is to connect it. (Hook up can also be slang for making a romantic or sexual connection.)

Idiom Definitions, I-L

  • In the way means to be an obstacle or hindrance. (“Don’t get in my way!” means don’t block me or hinder me from reaching my goal.)
  • Just in time means that something happened just a little while before it would have been too late. (We also say it was a “close call” or “in the nick of time.”) They all mean things are O.K., but something bad might have happened if there had been any delay. Examples: “You got here just in time. The boss was getting impatient.” “The gas tank exploded two minutes after the accident. We got out of the car just in time.”

See also 'on time' in Idioms Meaning List M-S.

  • To keep in touch means to maintain contact with someone.

(See 'to get in touch' in Common Idioms.)

  • To keep track of means to keep a record and know what’s happening with something.
  • To leave a message means to ask someone to deliver a message from you to someone else. 
  • To leave well enough alone means “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” If a situation is O.K., don’t try to make things perfect, because changes might make things worse.
  • To look down on someone is to despise him -- to consider him (or her) as inferior to you. 
  • To look up can mean to search for information in a dictionary or other reference book. (It can also mean just to look in an upward direction. That's not an idiom.)
  • To look up to someone means to admire them.
  • To lose track of means to stop being aware of something. “Wow! It’s almost time for bed and I haven’t even eaten. I was so interested in that story that I lost track of the time.”

For idioms from M-S, see Idiom Meanings List, M-S (or see Idioms List, T-Z.)

There are examples of these idioms in conversations on Idiom Examples, and practice on the Idioms Worksheet page or .Concentration (Memory) Game 1 for Phrasal Verbs A-L.

HomeCommon Idioms> Idiom Definitions, G-L.

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