“Come down!” means the same thing as “get down!”, if both are used in the sense of yelling at a child who has climbed on top of something he shouldn’t. But what's the difference?

  • It needs to be noted that "Get down!" has several different meanings -- get out of the tree, take shelter, get funky, and probably a couple more. – Hot Licks Nov 6 '18 at 1:25

While the two phrases do essentially mean the same thing, in colloquial speak, the former, "come down!" is perceived as somewhat less forceful than the order or command of "get down!" That said, if a parent is yelling at a child, both will be viewed as equally forceful.

But take another example: say you're on a hike with a person, and they happen to be at an elevation above you, and you'd like them to join you on a lower vista to get a better few, you might holler over and say "Hey, come down here!" as opposed to "Hey, get down here!" The former is more of an appeal to the person, rather than an order.

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"Come down" is oriented with respect to the speaker: 'Move down toward where I am'. If the speaker were above the listener, "come down" would be the wrong thing to say.

"Get down" is oriented with respect to the listener: 'Move down from where you are'.

Note: There are also other colloquial meanings of "get down" (dance, duck) and "come down" (sober up) but I'm ignoring those above.

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  • What do you mean by "above"? (rank, higher position?) "Come down" says the speaker who is below (a tree) to the listener who is above (a tree)/ is it about respect to those who are grade above them? (child-parent relationship?) so if a child said "come down" to a grown-up it would sound inappropriate, not polite? Did I understand this correctly? – sofyaorel Oct 27 '18 at 21:37
  • @sofyaorel Above in physical position. It has nothing to do with rank, respect, or politeness. – Mark Beadles Oct 27 '18 at 21:44

They’re not that similar since:

"Get + (noun(s)) + down" literally means either "to lay something down" or "to lie down"

Thus "get down" could cause confusions between:

  • "to come down from the tree"


  • "to avoid something in coming by lowering yourself down during being on the tree"
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  • Can you give an example where "get noun down" means "lay noun down"? The 'lie down" part I get, but not the 'lay noun down' part. – Mark Beadles Oct 27 '18 at 18:53
  • idioms.thefreedictionary.com/get+down @MarkBeadles I deleted previous comments because they're considered redundant – hbtpoprock Oct 27 '18 at 19:01
  • I think you're mistaken about this particular usage. You have been posting lists of various meanings of "get something down", but I am asking specifically about the meaning "to lay something down", which is what I you wrote and which I believe is incorrect. I'm OK with the meaning "to lie down". – Mark Beadles Oct 27 '18 at 19:10
  • Imagine, there were a tower crane, and the boom was incline lifting something at the end of it. And there was a field engineer radioing the crane operator the phrase repeatedly. @MarkBeadles – hbtpoprock Oct 27 '18 at 19:24

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