Get the sack


      • To be fired or dismissed from a job
        Used when someone is let go or terminated from their employment, often due to poor performance or a company downsizing

      • To be discarded or rejected
        Can also be used in a non-work related context, such as a romantic relationship or friendship, to indicate being rejected or dumped

    Examples of Get the sack

    • After the company's poor financial performance, the CEO got the sack.

      In this example, "got the sack" is a phrasal verb used in the simple past tense (got) to indicate that someone was dismissed from their job. This usage is called "idiomatic" because the meaning is not straightforward (it doesn't literally mean they received a sack or bag, but rather got fired).

    • The sales department has been underperforming, and it's only a matter of time before they get the sack.

      In this example, "get the sack" is used in a more figurative sense, indicating that someone or a group is at risk of being fired due to poor performance.

    • The boss warned me that if I didn't improve my performance, I would get the sack.

      In this example, "get the sack" is used as a threat, warning the speaker that they may be dismissed from their job if they don't meet the expected standard of performance.

    • I heard that the new hire got the sack after just one week on the job.

      In this example, "got the sack" is used to describe a situation where someone was dismissed from their job within a short time of beginning employment, often due to poor performance or a fit that's not quite right.In each of these examples, the use of "get the sack" adds richness and nuance to the meaning of the sentence, providing a more colorful and vivid description of the situation than simpler expressions like "lost their job" or "was fired."

    • The CEO announced that she would be letting go of five employees due to budget cuts.

      In this example, "get the sack" is used as a euphemism for being fired or laid off. It's a softer, less jarring way of saying that someone has lost their job. This phrase originated from the Middle Ages when servants were often dismissed by being given their bedroll, or "sack," to gather their belongings and leave.

    • Sarah was devastated when she found out that her boss wanted to get rid of her.

      In this example, "get rid of" is the more straightforward and common way of saying that someone wants to terminate someone else's employment. However, "get the sack" adds a historical and cultural context to the phrase, making it more colorful and memorable.

    • After several warnings about her performance, Maria knew she was in danger of getting the sack.

      Here, "get the sack" is used in the passive voice, implying that the decision to fire someone has already been made, and the person is simply waiting to hear the news. This use of the idiom adds a sense of foreboding and tension to the sentence.

    • Despite his years of loyal service, Tom couldn't help but feel embarrassed when he was asked to pack his things and get the sack.

      In this example, "get the sack" is used to convey both the act of being fired and the associated feelings of shame and humiliation. It's a way of depicting the more emotional and psychological aspects of losing one's job, rather than just the practicalities of being let go.


    The idiom "get the sack" has two main meanings, both of which revolve around being dismissed or rejected. In a work setting, it refers to being fired or let go from a job, while in a personal context it can mean being rejected or dumped by someone. Both meanings have a negative connotation and imply a sense of loss or failure.

    Origin of "Get the sack"

    The origin of this idiom can be traced back to the Middle Ages in England. During this time, workers were often paid in sacks of grain, which they would then take home to their families. If a worker was fired, they would be given their final pay in a sack, indicating that they were no longer needed and could leave. This led to the phrase "to get the sack" being used to refer to being fired.

    Another possible origin of this idiom comes from the practice of employers giving their workers a literal sack to carry their personal belongings in when they were fired. This act was seen as a public humiliation and was often done in front of other employees, further adding to the negative connotation of the phrase.

    In modern times, the idiom "get the sack" has evolved to also include a sense of rejection or dismissal in personal relationships. This could be due to the association of being "let go" or discarded in a work setting with being rejected or dumped in a personal setting. Regardless of its exact origin, the idiom continues to be used to convey a negative and often unexpected outcome in various contexts.