I can't seem to get through their thick brains.

Get through someone means: to succeed in talking to someone on the phone, but what does "get through their brain" means? Is it an idiom derived from the idiom "get through someone"? I am a little confused on where the expression comes from, and what it means exactly. Could you explain what "get through someone" can mean, and then tell us what "get through their brains" mean?

  • What is the source of the quote, please
    – James K
    Apr 16, 2019 at 14:32
  • 1
    The "quote" really should be: I can't get through to their thick brains.
    – Lambie
    Apr 16, 2019 at 14:43

2 Answers 2


It is a fairly rude way of saying

I can't get them to understand me.

It would be slightly more common as "get through their thick skulls". It says that "I can't get information into their brains".

Calling someone "thick" or saying that they have a "thick skull" or "thick brain" mean they are stupid. It is a rude comment to make about someone.


The correct idiom is: someone gets something through their thick skull or head or brain.

It is often used in anger: Why can't you get anything (something) through your thick brain?

In other words, "Why are you being so stupid?"

Similarly, one might say: "Get it through your thick head that I do not intend to go to the party tonight."

Get here means: "receive" a message through the "barrier" around your brain.

To get through something means to go through it.

Through x is a prepositional phrase.

To get through is to pass through, to permeate, to cross a barrier.

"The secret message did not get through to him." In other words, he did not receive it.

  • 1
    "Get it through your thick brain" is often used? I have never heard this phrase. Nor can Google's Ngram viewer find it "through your thick brain,through your thick skull,through your thick head"
    – Juhasz
    Apr 16, 2019 at 15:27
  • "Get that through your thick brain you retarded incel." boards.fireden.net/v/thread/453698853 Ngrams is not the place to look....
    – Lambie
    Apr 16, 2019 at 15:57
  • 1
    Sorry, I guess I didn't make myself clear. I'm not using that Ngram to try to prove that "get it through your thick brain" is not a possible English phrase. It obviously has been used by English speakers. I simply haven't ever encountered the phrase before, and thought I'd search to see if it was more common than I realized. It seems to me like it's not common, at least, not nearly as common as "get it through your thick skull," but perhaps in some communities it is. I apologize if my question appeared antagonistic.
    – Juhasz
    Apr 16, 2019 at 16:03
  • @Juhasz I understand what you are saying. And I'm saying that real speech and written text function differently. Also, writing (novels, plays, dialogues in them, etc.) function differently. That's why ngrams may be helpful or not. To say someone has a "thick head" is very common indeed. Also, to be a thickhead.
    – Lambie
    Apr 16, 2019 at 16:15

You must log in to answer this question.

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