Green’s Dictionary of Slang

get down v.2

[abbr. SE phr. get down to business]

1. (orig. US) to commit oneself, to make a serious effort.

[US]H. Hapgood Types from City Streets 246: He got a ‘wise guy’ to teach him a little business sense and ‘got down’ and ‘dug’.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 65: Forget her and get down on a fresh bitch.
[US]E. Folb Urban Black Argot 139: Get Down to do whatever one is going to do, esp. fight, have sexual intercourse, dance, take pills or smoke marijuana.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 239: get down, get down to the ground 1. Do something exceptionally well. 2. Engage in something with great zest. 3. Initiate some activity. 4. Conduct serious business.
[US]L. Heinemann Paco’s Story (1987) 22: One night we’re listening to Alpha Company doing it hot and heavy, and they were getting down and getting some.
[US] Ice-T ‘Heartbeat’ [lyrics] Some rappers get down with toy commercial sounds.

2. (orig. US) to have sexual intercourse.

Springback James ‘Stingaree Mama Blues’ [lyrics] You know how to get down, baby, just to drive my blues away.
[UK]A. Sillitoe Sat. Night and Sun. Morning 15: You’re lovely, Brenda. Let’s get down in bed.
[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 165: It was one of the places [...] where you could get down.
[US]G. Scott-Heron Vulture (1996) 89: I figured it [i.e. hippie philosophizing] was a lot of bullshit and another excuse [...] to get down without getting married.
[US]O. Hawkins Chili 22: I do believe she wanted to get down with Marshall, George or me.
[UK]P. Baker Blood Posse 159: She ain’t saying she ain’t getting down. She just want some juice to set her loose.
[UK]L. Gould Shagadelically Speaking 119: shag, [...] You know, get down, make love, all that. To engage in sexual intercourse.
[UK]K. Waterhouse Soho 71: Believe me, honey, if we had ever got down to it, you sure would have remembered.

3. (orig. US) to dance, to have a good time.

[US]L. Durst Jives of Dr. Hepcat (1989) 1: At a certain time a group of youngsters gather around the corner drugstore to meet their dates, have sodas, dance and generally pass the time away. ‘It’s “swoon time” on the stem and the gone cats are cruising on down to get with their woo numbers and cut a few rugs and make with the malts.’.
[UK]B. Beckham My Main Mother 35: You gonna show us some stuff? You gonna get down, or what, my man?
[US]A. Maupin Tales of the City (1984) 63: A girl like that was gettin’ down . . . boogying and boozing.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 176: Like you say, ‘Man, I’ma git down dis weekend’.
[US]Simon & Burns Corner (1998) 173: All he say is shit like that — get down, gut God — and he write it down like it’s a real song.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 11 Feb. 11: Make a little love. Have a little smoke. Get down tonight. Everything’s gonna be all right.

4. (US black) to establish oneself, to work.

[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 97: ‘Dizzy Willie’, or whatever your name is, don’t get down in this town.
[US]O. Hawkins Ghetto Sketches 83: I wound up in Marseilles on pure ass, hat in hand, stumblin’ around lookin’ for a way to get down.
[UK]Indep. on Sun. ‘Mag. 9 Apr. 16: ‘Plug the sonofabitch in!’ he yelled. ‘Let’s get down!’.

5. (orig. US, also get down with one’s bad self) to do something especially well.

[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 93: Can you ‘pull my coat’ so I can [...] get down right and really do the thing.
[US]D. Claerbaut Black Jargon in White America 66: got down v. performed in a spectacular or outstanding way: Man, they really got down and did it.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 3: get down with your bad self – do a good job: Michael Jordan was getting down with his bad self during the game.
[US]J. Stahl Permanent Midnight 168: Half of being unemployed in Hollywood is being unemployed between gigs. And I was getting that part down.

6. (US Und.) of a prostitute, to start work for the night.

[US]J.L. Dillard Lex. Black Eng. 89: The term get down also applies, in prostitution, to starting work for the evening.

7. to make something happen, to reach a successful conclusion.

[US]D. Goines Dopefiend (1991) 166: They all knew Smokey was out trying to get down.
[US]H. Gould Fort Apache, The Bronx 269: Then talk to him, don’t be wastin’ my time. I wanna get down.
[US]M. Myers et al. Wayne’s World II [film script] Young, working on a groovy thing. Getting down.
[US]Hip-Hop Connection Jan. 90: And you ain’t gotta rap about suckin’ a dude to get down.

8. to join in with, to take part in.

[US]D. Goines Street Players 199: If you got some money, you can get down with me.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 27: Like you fall by dis little ol’ party and dey be wall-to-walI-niggas-gettin’ down to the ground!
[UK]K. Sampson Outlaws (ms.) 78: I don’t want to come over like some white groover desperate to get down with the homies.
[US]UGK ‘Int’l Player’s Anthem’ [lyrics] Baby you been rollin’ solo, time to get down with the team.

9. (US black) to fight.

[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972).
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 104: When push come to shove, you get out you coat and get down.
[US]K. Scott Monster (1994) 154: Fuck that, fool, we gotta get down.
[US]Bynum & Thompson Juvenile Delinquency 290: Get down. Fight.

10. (US black) to attempt seduction.

[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 94: Like dude feel brother done did him. At a party or sumpin’. Dis cat’s gotten down wid his ol’ lady, get on his case for dat.

In phrases

get down dirty (v.) (also get down fonky, …foul, ...shitty) [SE dirty/fonky adj.2 /shitty adj.1 (3)]

(US black) to become abusive, to cause trouble.

[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 50: They got bunch o’ brothers [...] da’s got down dirty and shitty. [Ibid.] 239: get down dirty/fonky/foul/shitty 1. Become particularly abusive. 2. Cause trouble.
[US]R.C. Cruz Straight Outta Compton 26: ‘That did it,’ shouted Flip. He was about to get down dirty/fonky/foul and shitty.
T. Barrett Teenage Shootersd 37: What in the fuck are they doin watchin a low-down, get-down dirty flick about bad kids in the big city?
get down from the Y (v.)

see under Y n.

get down heavy (v.) [heavy adv. (2)]

(US black) to enjoy oneself, to enter wholeheartedly into the spirit of an occasion.

[US] ‘Bill Skinner’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 132: They were getting down heavy and letting the pots ride.
A. Wuornos letter 2 Sept. In Her Own Words 91: When I lived alone I had 250 ablums, the best of, of most cool artist, and man I use to get down heavy at home, drinkin alone, playin D.J. by myself.
get down with one’s bad self (v.)

see sense 5 above.

SE in slang uses

In phrases

get down to the ground (and move it round and round) (v.)

(US black) to have sexual intercourse.

[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 153: Other expressions for intercourse – [...] to get down to the ground and move it round and round, to jump up and down, to knock it out.