Is there a more informal and idiomatic synonym for compose/collect/organize one's thoughts? I was thinking of "get my thoughts/ it/ my head together" or "get my thoughts in order"- are these something you'd use?

Give me a minute to _______________ [get my thoughts organized, in order]

  • Have you checked a thesaurus?
    – Jasper
    Jul 24, 2018 at 21:53

3 Answers 3


"[G]et my thoughts in order" sounds natural to me. I probably would not use this expression myself, but I have known people who did.

Depending on the context, here are some less formal ways to fill in the blank:

Give me a minute to _______________.



"get my head screwed on tight"

"take this in" / "absorb this" / "process this"


"calm down" / "relax" / "chill" / "chill out"

"sober up"

"switch gears"

In these expressions, "this" refers to an event that has recently occurred, or information that has just been given to the person who needs to think.

"[S]ober up" only makes sense in a context where the person is intoxicated (perhaps because the person has been drinking alcohol). It is also metaphorical, not literal. It is therefore less formal than most of the options, but more formal than "get my head screwed on tight", "chill", and "chill out".

"[S]witch gears" implies that the person was thinking about something else, and needs to collect their thoughts about the current topic.

It is also possible to shorten the sentence to

"Give me a minute."


Give me a minute to gather my thoughts.


1 : to bring together : COLLECT • tried to gather a crowd • gathered firewood
2 b : to pick up or amass as if by harvesting • gathering ideas for the project



Give me a minute to collect my thoughts.

A collection is a group of things that share some commonality, and is typically organized in some fashion.

  • 1
    Check the question, Daniel explicitly says he's looking for a synonym of "compose / collect one's thoughts"
    – Andrew
    Jul 24, 2018 at 21:12
  • Yes. Do check the question: "I was thinking of "get my thoughts/ it/ my head together" or "get my thoughts in order"- are these something you'd use?" So, no, I wouldn't use those exact words. Collect is perfectly informal enough. Why should it be more informal than that? Moreover, what's formal about "collecting one's thoughts"? Jul 24, 2018 at 21:14

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .