What does the idiom "get rid of sth" mean?

The expression get rid of sth is one of the idioms that often finds a place in our literature and enriches our language. However, its meaning is not fully understood, so it is sometimes used in the wrong situations. Please review the explanation carefully for the correct use of the get rid of sth idiom.

Meaning of "get rid of sth"


The idiom 'get rid of something' is an English phrase used to refer to the act of throwing something away, disposing of it, or generally removing it from one's possession. It can also be used when referring to getting rid of a problem or issue, meaning to solve or address it in some way.


The phrase 'get rid of something' has been used in English since the 1800s, with the earliest known written record of its use appearing in the 1848 book 'The Tailor of Gloucester' by author Beatrix Potter. Prior to this, there are records of similar phrases being used in a similar context, such as 'get quit of something' which can be found in writings from the 1500s. It is thought to be of Anglo-Saxon origin, and may have been derived from the Old English phrase 'geget of þing'.


The phrase 'get rid of something' is commonly used in both informal and formal English conversations and writing. It is often used in the context of one person advising another on how to solve a problem or issue they are facing. It can also be used to suggest removing something that is unwanted, such as when someone is decluttering their home. It is also often used when discussing ways to reduce the amount of waste produced, such as when recycling or donating old items.

Example Sentences

  • If you want to get rid of that old couch, why not try selling it online?
  • I need to get rid of this headache if I'm going to be able to concentrate today.
  • If we're going to reduce our waste, we need to find ways to get rid of our unwanted items without throwing them away.

The meanings of the words in the "get rid of sth" idiom

The Surprising Origins of Everyday English Idioms

Many English idioms have surprisingly dark origins, often rooted in violence, death, and superstition. For instance, the phrase "raining cats and dogs" is said to have originated in the 17th century, when heavy rain would often cause dead animals to wash up on the streets. Meanwhile, the idiom "rule of thumb" is believed to have originated from a law that allowed men to beat their wives with a stick no thicker than their thumb.


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