bottom of it, at the/get to the(redirected from at the/get to the bottom of it)
get to the bottom of something
Fig. to get an understanding of the causes of something. We must get to the bottom of this problem immediately. There is clearly something wrong here, and I want to get to the bottom of it.
get to the bottom of
Find the basic underlying quality or cause of something. For example, He was determined to get to the bottom of the problem. [Late 1700s] Also see at bottom.
get to the bottom offind an explanation for (a mystery).
bottom of it, at the/get to the
To discover the origin of a problem, or the fundamental truth of an issue or event. The word “bottom” has been used in this way (to mean ultimate cause) since the sixteenth century. Shakespeare used it numerous times, as in “Is there no pity . . . that sees into the bottom of my grief?” (Romeo and Juliet, 3.5). Several early proverbs also refer to “bottom” in this way: “If thou canst not see the bottom, wade not”; and “He brought the bottome of the bag cleane out” (John Heywood, 1546). The pioneer anthropologist James Burnett, Lord Monboddo, wrote in 1773 (Of the Origin and Progress of Language), “In order to get to the bottom of this question.”