I have come across it in Crash Course World History. It is at around 2 minute and 32 second. Here it goes:

And not to get like all Great Man History on you or anything, but the reason the Mongols came to dominate the world, really started with one guy, Genghis Khun.

I cannot understand whether it means present or impose there because the Machmillan, Longman and other online dictionaries do not give the definitions.

2 Answers 2


There is a basic idiom in contemporary colloquial English:

to go x on [adjective] someone, for example: to go crazy on someone.

It may or may not use the "on" plus adjective part of the idiom.

"I know I'm late but please don't go crazy on me."

"The boss was furious when we were late. He went ballistic [on us]."

"My friend was acting so strange. She just went weird on us."

The on + pronoun or noun means while, with or in the presence of OR towards + pronoun or noun.

In "get, like, all Great Man History on you", the verb get with the meaning of become is used instead of go. Get as in: to get angry, to get happy, to get lazy. The word like is just thrown in there. It has no useful function other than trying to sound cool in some way. It is not usually found in decent writing and should, in any case, be set off by commas. it is used in speech, not writing.

The go + adjective on someone can also be used with get and to mean become:

He got, like, crazy on me". They got weird all of a sudden.

Translation: He became crazy with me. He acted badly in some way. Great Man History is just an image that means someone who knows all about history. Similar to Father Time, an old, bearded man who represents time.

In short, the author is saying he does not want to become like a boring, old history professor to the reader [on you=to the reader], but: the Moguls, [etc.]

And, like, I hope I didn't to get too High School Teacher on you even if I sound like a textbook. :)

  • "Old Man History" is a term that does not appear in OP's question. Take a look at James's answer.
    – RubioRic
    Commented May 23, 2018 at 12:45
  • 1
    Or check this link en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_man_theory
    – RubioRic
    Commented May 23, 2018 at 12:49
  • I will repeat myself: for me, Great Man History is like Father Time, depicted as a old man.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 23, 2018 at 12:52
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    Yes, sure, great men in history. That works. But the main thrust of my answer is the point. The problem then is grammatical, Because if I go x on you, it means I am acting x with you or toward you as some person. So, it's confusing.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 23, 2018 at 12:53
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    Look, I missed that, and you missed the verb part. Let's call it a draw, shall we?
    – Lambie
    Commented May 23, 2018 at 13:26

Searching google for not to get all X on you but brings up lots of results where X cane be an adjective (e.g. sentimental) or a noun phrase (second-grade teacher). It basically means, "I don't want to appear too X, but ...". So they are saying that they don't want to seem to be promoting the "Great Man" concept of history, but sometimes there just is a great man behind it all.

(The "like" in your phrase is just filler, similar to "you know" or "uhm".)


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