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Let's say I just turned on my computer, opened email and there is an unread message from my friend there - he sent it to me a few hours ago. First of all, I want to tell him that I didn't answer because I got it just now:

I got your message just now, sorry.

Would it be common, idiomatic phrase?

And isn't it ambiguous? The first meaning:

I received your message just now, sorry. (this is the meaning I want to convey)

The second meaning:

I understood your message just now, sorry.

(We say "I got it", "I didn't get it" meaning "I understood it", "I didn't understand it", right?)

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If you are just concerned with idiomatic conversational English, "I got your message just now, sorry," is acceptable and commonly used. The context makes it clear that it's reception of the message, not the comprehension of it, that you're discussing.

It might also be written, "Sorry, I just got your message," but that's no more or less likely to be used.

BTW, consider the word, "unionized," which has two completely different meanings in chemistry and in economics. The context makes clear which is intended, e.g. "FIAT is unionized," vs. "Argon is unionized."

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  • I would say "I've only just seen your message". – Kate Bunting Jan 28 at 9:26
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Yes, it's ambiguous, but I doubt many people would take got for understood in this context. (In an actual message, there might be another sentence that makes the context clearer, such as Before reflecting on it, I had thought that it meant... or I was unavailable because...).

Certainly it's better to avoid ambiguity by preferring receive or understand, as the case may be, over get.

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