Get a Life: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
August 4, 2023

"Get a life" is an idiom and catchphrase used to taunt or criticize someone perceived as boring, uninteresting, or wasting their time on trivial or useless things. It is a way of telling someone to do something more exciting, meaningful, or productive with their life.

In short:

  • "Get a life" is a phrase and a catchword that indicates that one should seek something more interesting, meaningful, or productive for their life.
  • It is a method of teasing or offending someone who is regarded as tedious, unappealing, or wasting their time on minor or pointless things.
  • It is also a way of telling someone to mind their business or find their purpose in life.

What Does "Get a Life" Mean?

The term "get a life" expresses contempt or annoyance towards someone with no interests, hobbies, friends, goals, or achievements. It also implies that the person needs to go out and experience the real world, find a job, get a date, move out of their parent's house, or do something else to make their life more fulfilling and enjoyable.

Where Does "Get a Life" Come From?

The origin of the phrase "get a life" is unclear, but it seems to have emerged in the late 20th century. The term was popularized by the actor William Shatner in his appearance on Saturday Night Live in 1986. He played himself at a Star Trek convention and told the fans who were obsessed with his character and the show to "get a life."

Historical Example

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first recorded use of the phrase was in 1983, in an article in The Washington Post that quoted a teenage girl saying:

"Gross me out, I mean, Valley Girl was, like, ohmigod, it was last year, fer sure! I mean, get a life! Say what?"

10 Examples of "Get a Life" in Sentences

Here are some examples of how to use the idiom "get a life" in sentences:

  • You spend all your time surfing the net; you need to get a life!
  • Never mind. He told me to get a life when I asked him about his plans for the weekend.
  • She has no hobbies or passions. Quite frankly, she needs to get a life.
  • Oh, for God's sake. Mind your own business and get a life!
  • Don't be envious of successful people. Get a life. Find a job. You should step up your game!
  • He works a dead-end job and lives alone. He honestly has to get a life and get with someone.
  • Harry doesn't have a girlfriend or a hobby. He has to get a life and stop being so old-skool.
  • Oh, snap! Marie has been single for more than three years. He should get a life and start dating again.
  • Mandy told him to get a life and stop stalking her online. Good thing he complied.
  • Get a life, or you will end up with regrets. Life is too short to be wasted on what-ifs.

Examples of "Get a Life" in Pop Culture

Here are some examples of how the idiom "get a life" is used in pop culture:

  • In the song "Get a Life" by Soul II Soul, the singer encourages the listener to leave their comfort zone and live their life to the fullest. He sings: "Get a life, get a grip / Get away somewhere, take a trip / Take a break, take control / Take advice from someone you know."
  • In The Sims, the player can create and control virtual people called Sims and make them live their lives in various ways. Players can choose their appearance, personality, skills, careers, relationships, hobbies, and goals. The game has a slogan that says: "Get a life. Your own."
  • In the movie "The Truman Show," Truman Burbank is the unwitting star of a reality show that broadcasts his entire life. He used the phrase "get a life" in one of the scenes.

Other Ways to Say "Get a Life"

Here are some other ways or alternative expressions for the idiom "get a life":

  • Grow up: stop being childish or immature and act like an adult.
  • Wake up: stop being ignorant or unaware and become alert or aware.
  • Move on: stop dwelling on the past or being stuck in a rut.
  • Live a little: have some fun or excitement in one's life and not be too serious.
  • Get out more: socialize more or explore more of the world.

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Get a Life"

Here are some common questions and answers that people might have about the idiom "get a life":

  • What does "get a life" mean?

It implies that the person needs to go out and experience the real world. It also expresses contempt or annoyance towards someone with no interests, hobbies, friends, goals, or achievements.

  • What is the origin of "get a life"?

The origin of the phrase "get a life" is unclear, but it seems to have emerged in the late 20th century.

  • What are some synonyms or alternative expressions for "get a life"?

Some synonyms or alternative expressions for the idiom "get a life" are: grow up, wake up, move on, live a little, and get out more.

  • How do you use "get a life" in a sentence?

You can use "get a life" as an interjection in a sentence to taunt or criticize someone who is perceived as boring, uninteresting, or wasting their time on trivial or useless things.

    Example: Do you still collect stamps? Get a life!
  • Is "get a life" rude or polite?

"Get a life" is usually rude, implying that the person addressed has no interests, hobbies, friends, goals, or achievements. It is also disrespectful and dismissive of the person’s choices or preferences. However, it can sometimes be used jokingly or sarcastically among friends or family members who know each other well.

  • How do you respond to "get a life"?

There are different ways to respond to "get a life" depending on the situation and the speaker's tone, but the basic one is to ignore it.

  • What are some benefits of "getting a life"?

It can help you discover new interests, hobbies, skills, or passions that can enrich your life and make you happier. In addition, it can help you meet new people, make new friends, or find new partners who can support you and share your life with you.

  • How do you say "get a life" in other languages?

Spanish: consigue una vida

French: trouve-toi une vie

German: such dir ein Leben

  • How do you say "get a life" politely?

There is no polite way to say "get a life," as it is inherently rude. However, one way to say it without being offensive is: "I think you should try something new or different."

  • What does it mean when someone says "get a life" to themselves?

When someone says "get a life" to themselves, it means that they are unhappy or dissatisfied with their current life and want to change it for the better.

Final Thoughts About "Get a Life"

"Get a life" is an idiom and catchphrase that means to do something more exciting, meaningful, or productive with one's life. Furthermore, it is used as a taunt or criticism to someone perceived as boring, uninteresting, or wasting their time on trivial or useless things. On the other hand, it is also a way of telling someone to mind their business or find their purpose in life.

In summary:

  • "Get a life" can have different meanings depending on the speaker's or writer's context and tone.
  • The idiom originated in the late 20th century from the metaphor of getting a new or better life that is more fulfilling and enjoyable than one's current one.
  • Finally, it can be expressed in other ways, such as: "grow up," "wake up," "move on," "live a little," and "get out more."

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