get a grip

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get a grip

1. To get a good physical hold on something. In order to remove the bolt, I needed to get a grip on the wrench.
2. To have a newfound understanding of a topic or concept. The teacher spent extra time going over the material in class because she wanted her students to get a grip on the subject matter before they took the exam.
3. To control one's reactions or emotions. Often used as an imperative urging someone to calm down. After losing her job, Sarah needed to calm down and get a grip on herself in order to drive home safely. Spilled soup is not a big deal, get a grip! You're not going to be able to think clearly until you get a grip on yourself.
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Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

get a grip on something

COMMON If you get a grip on a difficult situation, you start to understand it and take control of it. So far the country has failed to get a grip on its inflation rate. Note: You can also say that you take a grip on a situation with the same meaning. It is clear that the new leader has taken a grip on the party machine. Note: You can say that you keep a grip on a situation, meaning that you continue to understand and control it. Somehow, this corrupt band of politicians have managed to keep a grip on power.
See also: get, grip, on, something
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

get a grip

keep or recover your self-control.
2000 Jo-Ann Goodwin Danny Boy I took a deep breath, trying desperately to get a grip, to hold myself together.
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Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

get a grip

Get hold of yourself, calm down. This imperative had several earlier meanings; one, dating from the 1940s in the military, was to put effort into what one was doing. Another, in college slang a few decades later, was to pay attention. The current meaning, however, is the one that has survived. In a Boston Globe editorial (Oct. 31, 2004) describing former New York City mayor Ed Koch’s complaint that the Democratic National Convention in Boston “had no excitement,” the writer said, “Get a grip, Ed. It was only our first one. Beginner’s luck.” The usage is the converse of to lose one’s grip, to lose composure, first recorded in 1875 and cited by the OED. See also get a handle on something.
See also: get, grip
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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