Definition of get at in US English:

get at

phrasal verb

  • 1Reach or gain access to (something)

    ‘it's difficult to get at the screws’
    • ‘It's bolted to the bottom of the chassis, and you'll need to undo those bolts to get at the screws holding the hoses on.’
    • ‘Others are positioned in between capacitors, or up against connectors, and are generally difficult to get at after the board has been installed.’
    • ‘The inner tube was difficult to get at because the tyre itself was stuck to the wheel rim.’
    • ‘I want machines with easy access so I can get at parts that need fixing.’
    • ‘I use an old toothbrush to get at those hard to reach areas.’
    • ‘It was possible to actually reach in and get at the components of your engine.’
    • ‘Mrs Allan said it was mine now, but she could not let me have it as it was at the back of the garage which was difficult to get at.’
    • ‘Not only is truth the first casualty of war, it's also difficult to get at after the guns have been silent.’
    • ‘Losing a hard drive, or maybe scratching a CD can make getting at your data pretty difficult if not impossible.’
    • ‘In an effort to get at some difficult truths, reporters and writers have at times resorted to unconventional and controversial practices.’
    access, gain access to, get to, reach, touch
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Bribe or unfairly influence (someone)
      ‘he had been got at by government officials’
      • ‘It occurs to me that any of those seven judges could have been got at.’
      • ‘So there are these faceless men there in Reykjavik, and it affects the American side too because they begin to be affected by this and they wonder whether they're being got at in some way.’
      corrupt, suborn, influence, bribe, buy off, pay off
      View synonyms
  • 2informal Imply (something)

    ‘I can see what you're getting at’
    • ‘You would be hard pressed to not have someone that doesn't know what point I am getting at or trying to allude to.’
    • ‘It's a curious image and I guess this is what you're getting at when you suggest that we are natural born cyborgs?’
    • ‘This gets at what ethical egoists intend, while skirting the issue of constraints on moral theories.’
    • ‘I'm not quite sure what you're getting at now, are you suggesting that loads of different people are writing stories for the series?’
    • ‘There was a message from Joan, and one from George, who was implying something that she wasn't getting at.’
    • ‘And, just in case you can't work out what I'm getting at, I would appreciate all suggestions.’
    • ‘I do hope you know what I am getting at, and see the little hints of the things that they are doing to each other.’
    • ‘What Bearden was getting at remains an unsolved issue in interpreting his work.’
    • ‘I knew what he was getting at, but his intentions and the meaning of his suggestion seemed lost among the others.’
    • ‘What I'm getting at, Paige, is that I suggested to her a nanny, a nanny who had children herself, who would be a good influence on her daughter.’
    imply, suggest, intimate, insinuate, hint, mean, intend, lead up to, drive at, allude to
    View synonyms