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In family guy, season 12 episode 4 the handicapped cop gives grimace a ride a along. While driving the car he stares suspiciously at grimace and says "I can't get a beat on you".

What does that expression mean?

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    It's probably "I can't get a bead on you" Commented Jul 15, 2015 at 6:43
  • It turns out "get a beat on" is also a legit saying, according to this post at Language Log: "And the Bead Goes On" Commented Jul 15, 2015 at 10:10
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    @CopperKettle That just seems like a lot of apologizing for writers who don't know their idioms misquoting speakers.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 0:50

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I would have to watch the episode in question to be 100% certain, but I'm nearly certain that he actually said "get a bead on".

'Bead' and 'beat' will sound essentially identical in many North American accents.

The 'bead' in the phrase 'get a bead on' is referring to the bead on the end of a gun with bead iron sights. Literally speaking, if you have a bead on someone, then your gun is aimed at them. Figuratively speaking, this means you know exactly where they are, or what they are doing. If you can't get a bead on someone, you either don't know where they are, or don't understand their actions or intent.

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