get a grip

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get a grip (third-person singular simple present gets a grip, present participle getting a grip, simple past got a grip, past participle (UK) got a grip or (US) gotten a grip)

  1. To grip, as in: to take hold of, as with the hand.
    • 1894, Joseph Jacobs, More English Fairy Tales, D. Nutt, The Wee Bannock:
      But the bannock ran […] down the road to the next house, and in and snug by the fireside. The folk were just sitting down to their soup, and the goodwife scraping the pot. "Look," quoth she, "there's a wee bannock come in to warm itself at our fireside."
      "Shut the door," quoth the goodman, "and we'll try to get a grip of it."
      When the bannock heard that, it ran out of the house and they after it with their spoons, […]
    • 1898, Arnold Henry Savage Landor, In the Forbidden Land, Heinemann, Chapter XIII:
      I attempted to get a grip in the snow with my frozen fingers, to stem myself with my heels, but with no success, […]
    • 1909, John Coulson Tregarthen, The Life Story of an Otter, John Murray, page 111:
      Thereupon the conger, taking the offensive, made a grab at him; it tried to seize him again […], but in both cases it failed to get a grip of the slippery skin, and the next minute the otter was at the surface.
    • 1912, Agnes Repplier, Americans and others, Houghton Mifflin Company, page 67:
      Heber, using the argument which he felt would be of most avail, tried to frighten the man into soberness by picturing his wife's wrath; whereupon the adroit scamp replied that he knew what that would be, and had taken the precaution to have his hair cut short, so that she could not get a grip on it.
    • 1919, W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence, George H. Doran Company, Chapter XIV:
      But here was a man who sincerely did not mind what people thought of him, and so convention had no hold on him; he was like a wrestler whose body is oiled; you could not get a grip on him; it gave him a freedom which was an outrage. I remember saying to him:
      "Look here, if everyone acted like you, the world couldn't go on."
      "That's a damned silly thing to say. Everyone doesn't want to act like me. The great majority are perfectly content to do the ordinary thing."
  2. To attain the understanding of a complex topic.
    • 1913, Douglas Hyde, Catholic Encyclopedia, The Encyclopedia Press, Eugene O'Curry:
      […] the great antiquarian, Duald MacFirbis […], who was able to penetrate and get a grip of the long forgotten language of the ancient law tracts […]
    • 1917, Harold MacGrath, The Luck of the Irish, Harper & Brothers, page 206:
      "Grogan, the truth is, I travel to keep away from New York. There I'm lost: too many friends. When I'm at sea I get away from it all and kind of get a grip on life again. You understand?"
    • 1918, William MacLeod Raine, The Sheriff's Son, Houghton Mifflin Company, page 65:
      "You're looking at the thing wrong end to. Get a grip on your facts first. […]"
  3. (idiomatic, chiefly imperative) To come to one's senses and become more rational after having experienced a strong emotion.
    • 1907, John S. Tuckey (editor), Mark Twain's Fables of Man, University of California Press, Little Nelly Tells a Story Out of Her Own Head:
      She made her innocent bow, and retired without a suspicion that she had been an embarrassment. Nothing would have happened, now, perhaps, if quiet could have been maintained for a few minutes, so that the people could get a grip upon themselves, but the strain overpowered my old maid partner and she exploded like a bomb; a general and unrestrained crash of laughter followed, of course, the happy tears flowed like brooks, and no one was sorry of the opportunity to laugh himself out and get the blessed relief that comes of that privilege in such circumstances.
    • 1929, H.P. Lovecraft & Zealia Bishop, The Mound, Part VII:
      When I reached this stage of visual chaos I stopped for a moment to get a grip on myself. It would not do to let my nerves get the better of me at the very outset of what would surely be a trying experience, […]
    • 1950, William Frederick Temple, The Triangle of Terror:
      Panic thoughts chased about in my brain. I attempted to get a grip upon myself.
    He needs to get a grip if he's getting that angry over such a little thing.