Don’t Get Me Started

Meaning of Idiom ‘Don’t Get Me Started’

We say “don’t get me started” when someone brings up a topic about which we have a lot to say and are passionate about, usually in a negative way. Not to be taken literally, the idiom is more of an expression of strong feelings, whether negative or positive. More often, the intent is negative and the expression is used to express exasperation or strong dislike, etc. There may an element of warning in it: If I start talking about this, I’ll never stop!

Compare: Don’t (You) Start

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Webster's New World American Idioms Handbook
Webster’s New World American Idioms Handbook

The idiom can be used as a standalone exclamation. For example, if someone brings up anti-abortion laws to a friend who is adamantly opposed to them, the friend might simply say “Don’t get me started!”

However, the idiom is often used with the word “on” followed by the particular subject, or just the word “that.” Example: “Don’t get me started on abortion!”

Sometimes, the idiom is embellished, such as in the common variant, “Don’t get me started on that unless you have all day to listen to me!”

Examples Of Use

“Jim hasn’t done any work all day,” said Seth. “Don’t get me started!” replied Charlie.

“I wish the company gave us dental coverage,” said Melissa. “Oh, don’t get me started on our crappy medical plan,” said Harry.

Don't get me started idiom meaning


Used since at least the late 1800’s.

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