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What does it mean when we say "get set" in the phase "get ready get set go" or the phrase "on your marts get set go"?

This question focuses on the term "Get Set" not just in reference to a sport but in general.

Many times I hear people speaking about being set and ready as if they meant the same thing... however i do not believe so.. hence my question. while get ready, and go are obvious, if I were to tell someone get set.. what exactly am I saying to them?

marked as duplicate by Mick, Davo, Dan Bron, Nigel J, choster Jan 19 '18 at 20:25

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  • @KeithS's answer provides all the information you need. – Mick Jan 19 '18 at 19:21
  • not exactly.. i understand the use of the full term ready set go... but if get set were to be used in isolation... what does it mean? I was told the other day to get set... the person intended to say get ready and thought it was basically the same thing and used the term ready set go to explain.. but i doubt the two terms get ready and get set mean the same thing.. why would one say get ready get ready go? – TJ Ifill Jan 20 '18 at 22:37

I interpret it to mean, Get into position/stance before commencing the activity.

So the series would go, Get ready = Get onto the field of action, Get Set = Get into position/stance for action, and Go = well, Go


The post that Mick linked mentions something about using "get set" to mean "get in ready position." This may be something about "setting ones feet" to prepare to push off on "go."


It comes from the phrase "Get ready. Get set. Go!" which is traditionally used to start a foot race. The shorter phrase is "Ready. Set. Go!" The phrase used by the English is "Ready. Steady. Go!"

The purpose is to give competitors a common start time.

This may be seen along with "Ready. Aim. Fire!" used with rifle attacks. Before rifles gave any hope of accuracy the phrase was, "Ready. Level. Fire!" telling the recruits to bring their guns level in the general direction of the enemy.

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