I would like to know more about the idiom "to get going" especially in the meaning "to depart", I mostly use it to mean "get started" but I've heard that it has very many other meanings.

Is "get going" in the following sentence an idiom or not:

We should get the car going soon or else we'll be late.

Side question, where does this idiom come from?

  • 1
    Idioms and set phrases are not flexible, and trying to make small alterations to them, even introducing a couple new words, often breaks them. To "get going" does indeed mean "to leave" or "begin", as you note, but those usages are unrelated to your example "get the car going", which people would only use if the car had died on the side of the road and was proving difficult to start up again. I don't think "get going" has a particular or interesting origin. It's simply a combination of the act of "going" (leaving or starting or otherwise putting into motion) with "get" for "achieve that state" – Dan Bron Nov 14 '16 at 12:33
  • "Get started" implies simply taking the first step. When I get up in the morning I get started by climbing out of bed. But then I need to get going by brushing my teeth, bathing, dressing, and having breakfast. – Hot Licks Nov 14 '16 at 13:06
  • @ab2 Never heard of this one. – SovereignSun Nov 14 '16 at 14:22
  • @ab2 It's the "get somebody going" idiom, right? To involve in a process to make do. – SovereignSun Nov 14 '16 at 14:26
  • @ab2 Yeh, thanks, I can read. I was saying that it is one other meaning of the idiom, a meaning that i think isn't common. – SovereignSun Nov 14 '16 at 14:37

Get going is an idiomatic expression and as you have noticed it has different meaning and usages:

As for its origin, Etymonline cites its earliest usage:

  • to get going "begin, start doing something" is by 1869 in American English.
  • It is quite young as I see. Not an old idiom. – SovereignSun Nov 14 '16 at 14:00

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