I came across this phrase in an English workbook, it doesn't have any other context:

A: What shall we do tonight? B: Let's just get a video out

It's on free time topic. I want to ask what the phrase 'get a video out' means in this sentence. Does it mean 'watch a video' or 'film and post a video'?

1 Answer 1


It's a dated expression. When pre-recorded videocassettes first became available (long before it was possible to watch films online), shops used to hire them out so that you could watch a film without having to buy your own copy of the videocassette. "Get a video out" means hire a videocassette for the night".

  • My local public library used to lend video cassettes and still lends music CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray video discs. We 'got out' video cassettes and still 'get out' DVDs. Commented Aug 23, 2021 at 10:26
  • I've never heard the construction "get a video out" and would have assumed that it was an error (and yes, I'm old enough to remember VHS tapes) - it must be exclusive to British English. In the US, we would "rent a video." Commented Aug 23, 2021 at 13:06
  • @CanadianYankee - Brits have spoken of 'getting a book out' of a public or private library for generations so it seems natural to use it about physical entertainment media. Commented Aug 23, 2021 at 14:35

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