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?

  • 1
    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
  • 1
    @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

1 Answer 1


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.

You must log in to answer this question.

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