get to the bottom of (something)

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get to the bottom of (something)

To determine the cause or source of something or solve the mystery of something. What is causing this water leak? Has anyone gotten to the bottom of it yet? I have every confidence that our detectives will get to the bottom of this crime.
See also: bottom, get, of, to
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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.
See also: bottom, get, of, to
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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.
See also: bottom, get, of, to
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

get to the bottom of something

COMMON If you get to the bottom of a problem or mystery, you discover the truth about it. The attack was quite severe. We intend to get to the bottom of things and, if needs be, ensure that action is brought against those responsible for it. The secrets of a truly happy couple are ultimately a private mystery, but we've tried to get to the bottom of it.
See also: bottom, get, of, something, to
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

get to the bottom of

find an explanation for (a mystery).
See also: bottom, get, of, to
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

get to the ˈbottom of something

find the true cause of something or the solution to something: We’re determined to get to the bottom of this mystery. OPPOSITE: scratch the surface (of something)
See also: bottom, get, of, something, to
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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.”
See also: bottom, get, of, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in classic literature ?
Holmes, and we shall see which gets to the bottom of the matter first." He gathered up the garments, thrust them into the bag, and made for the door.
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