Get in on the ground floor

Get in on the ground floor is an idiom. An idiom is a commonly used word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech like an often-used metaphor have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words or other parts of speech common in American slang or British slang, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as hit the sack, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, back to the drawing board, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, because they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker; it is helpful to maintain a list of phrases, common expressions, colloquial terms, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom get in on the ground floor, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

Get in on the ground floor means to be involved in something from the very beginning, to be present since the inception of an endeavor, to work on something beginning in the early stages, or to invest in a new business. The expression get in on the ground floor is especially used in business to mean to be involved from the start of a business or to invest in a fledgling business. The phrase get in on the ground floor is an allusion to the first floor of a building; the term was coined in the United States in the 1800s.


Louie Karem was “able to get in on the ground floor,” as he put it, and has seen the neighborhood grow since he opened Karem’s Grill and Pub in January 2007. (Courier Journal)

“It’s a great time for prospective buyers to join our interest lists on the website and get in on the ground floor.” (Builder Magazine)

“The tide is going to electric, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to get in on the ground floor.” (Business Journals)

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