enter image description hereOne of the definitions for "let" on thefreedictionary.com is:

  1. let - cause to move; cause to be in a certain position or condition; "He got his squad on the ball"; "This let me in for a big surprise"; "He got a girl into trouble"

I don't understand this sentence. I know that "let" in this case means "get" as these other sentences are suggesting (and also get & have are listed as synonyms on the website). So the sentence can be "This got me in for a big surprise". The second part of the sentence could be:

be in for a (big/real) surprise —used to say that someone will be very surprised by something They are in for a (big/real) surprise when they come home.(source:Merriam Webster)

Does it simply mean that this thing was surprising to this person?

  • Nor your fault. That's a terrible example sentence. I'm a native speaker and I don't even recognize it. So many other example sentences on that page don't even have the target word "let". So amateurish. That dictionary is not reliable (it's free, and you get what you pay for). Stick with something like Merriam-Webster or Oxford Learner's
    – gotube
    Sep 12, 2022 at 19:36
  • I believed that running with scissors was safe. This let me in for a nasty surprise. Sep 13, 2022 at 10:09
  • I edited the post and provided a screenshot with the definition for "let" from thefreedictionary.com Do you guys still confirm that this entry is wrong? Sep 13, 2022 at 16:17

1 Answer 1


In the sentence "This let me in for a big surprise" the let does not mean "get" as you suggest.

The meaning here is that something (the "this") caused the person to come to a situation where they were surprised. They were previously outside the condition that would cause surprise. They were brought into the condition.

The idea is that "in" is referring to a condition or situation. It is doing so in a way that treats that situation as though it were a room. The person is being "let in" to that situation as though there were being let into a room. Since there is a surprise it would seem that the "letting in" happened either through a mistake on the speaker's part, or some trickery by somebody else.

Compare to "let the cat in." This means to open the door and permit the cat to enter the house.

Compare "let him in on the news." This means to provide information to him. Previously he was unaware of or poorly informed on "the news." He has been "let in" to the condition of being informed.

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