• Go


    • UK enPR: , IPA: /ɡəʊ/
    • US enPR: , IPA: /ɡoʊ/
    • Rhymes: -əʊ

    Origin 1

    From Middle English gon, goo, from Old English gān ("to go"), from Proto-Germanic *gāną ("to go"), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰēh₁- ("to leave"). Cognate with Scots ga ("to go"), West Frisian gean ("to go"), Low German gan ("to go"), gahn, Dutch gaan ("to go"), German gehen ("to go"), Swedish ("to go"), Danish ("to go"). Compare also Albanian ngah ("to run, drive, go"), Ancient Greek κιχάνω (kichanō, "to meet with, arrive at"), Avestan zazāmi, Sanskrit jáhāti).

    Inherited past tense forms (compare Old English ēode), however, have since the 15th century been replaced by forms from Old English wendan ("to go, depart, wend"); this process is called suppletion.


    1. (obsolete, intransitive) To walk; to fare on one's feet. 11th-19th c.
      • 1485, Thomas Malory, Le Morte d'Arthur, Book XII:‘As for that,’ seyde Sir Trystram, ‘I may chose othir to ryde othir to go.’
      • 1624, John Smith, Generall Historie, in Kupperman 1988, p. 129:Master Piercie our new President, was so sicke hee could neither goe nor stand.
      • Other brunts I also look for; but this I have resolved on, to wit, to run when I can, to go when I cannot run, and to creep when I cannot go.
    2. (intransitive) To move from one place to another. go
      • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, Mr. Pratt's Patients Chapter 6, She was so mad she wouldn't speak to me for quite a spell, but at last I coaxed her into going up to Miss Emmeline's room and fetching down a tintype of the missing Deacon man.
    3. Why don’t you go with us?   This train goes to Chicago.   Chris, where are you going?
    4. (intransitive) To leave; to move away. go
      Please don't go!   I really must be going.
    5. (intransitive) To be given, especially to be assigned or allotted.
      The property shall go to my wife.   The award went to Steven Spielberg.
    6. (intransitive) To extend (from one point to another).
      This property goes all the way to the state line.
    7. (intransitive) To lead (in a direction).
      Does this road go to Fort Smith?
    8. (intransitive) To elapse.
      The time went slowly.
    9. (intransitive) To start.
      Get ready, get set, go!   on your marks, get set, go
    10. To begin an action or process.
      Here goes nothing.   Let's go and hunt.
    11. (intransitive) To resort (to).
      I'll go to court if I have to.
    12. (intransitive) To change from one value to another.
      The price keeps going up.
    13. (intransitive) To end or disappear. go
      After three days, my headache finally went.
    14. (intransitive) To be spent or used up.
      His money went on drink.
    15. (intransitive) To be discarded.
      This chair has got to go.
    16. (intransitive) To be sold.
      Everything must go.   The car went for five thousand dollars.
    17. (intransitive) To die.
      • Sir Walter ScottBy Saint George, he's gone!
        That spear wound hath our master sped.
      • "Your father's gone." "Okay, okay, the Gaffer's kicked off. What happened?"
    18. (intransitive) To collapse. go
      • I wonder if I hopped up and down, would the bridge go?
    19. (intransitive) To break down or decay.
      This meat is starting to go off.   My mind is going.
    20. (intransitive) To proceed (often to indicate the perceived quality of an event or state).
      That went well.   "How are things going?" "Not bad, thanks."
      • ShakespeareHow goes the night, boy?
      • ArbuthnotI think, as the world goes, he was a good sort of man enough.
      • I. WattsWhether the cause goes for me or against me, you must pay me the reward.
    21. (intransitive) To work (through or over), especially mentally.
      I've gone over this a hundred times.   Let's not go into that right now.
    22. (intransitive) To tend or contribute toward a result.
      Well, that goes to show you.   These experiences go to make us stronger.
    23. (intransitive, often followed by a preposition) To fit. go
      Do you think the sofa will go through the door?   The belt just barely went around his waist.
    24. (intransitive) To be compatible, especially of colors or food and drink.
      This shade of red doesn't go with the drapes.   White wine goes better with fish than red wine.
    25. (intransitive) To belong (somewhere). go
      My shirts go on this side of the wardrobe.   This piece of the jigsaw goes on the other side.
    26. To be expressed or composed (a certain way).
      The tune goes like this.
    27. (intransitive) To take a turn, especially in a game. go
      It’s your turn; go.
    28. (intransitive) To attend.
      I go to school at the schoolhouse.
    29. (intransitive) To be in a state continuously.
      I don't want my children to go hungry.   We went barefoot in the summer.
    30. (intransitive) To survive or get by; to last or persist for a stated length of time.
      • 2011, June 4, Phil McNulty, England 2-2 Switzerland, England have now gone four games without a win at Wembley, their longest sequence without a victory in 30 years, and still have much work to do to reach Euro 2012 as they prepare for a testing trip to face Bulgaria in Sofia in September.
    31. How long can you go without water?   We've gone without your help for a while now.   I've gone ten days now without a cigarette.
    32. (intransitive) To move or travel in order to do something, or to do something while moving.
      We went swimming.   Let's go shopping.
    33. (intransitive) To make an effort.
      You didn't have to go to such trouble.   I never thought he'd go so far as to call you.
    34. (intransitive) To date. go
      How long having they been going together?   He's been going with her for two weeks.
    35. (intransitive) To fight or attack.
      • You wanna go, little man?
    36. I went at him with a knife.
    37. (intransitive, of a machine) To work or function. go
      The engine just won't go anymore.
    38. (intransitive) To have authority.
      Whatever the boss says goes, do you understand?
    39. (intransitive) To be valid or accepted.
      • ... every of them, being gold, whole and weight, shall go and be current in payment throughout this his realm for the sum that they were coined for.
    40. Anything goes around here.
      • Bible, 1 Sa. xvii. 12The man went among men for an old man in the days of Saul.
      • John Lockemoney should go according to its true value.
    41. (intransitive) To be told; to circulate.
      There's a story going through the town about you.
    42. (intransitive) To be known or considered.
      That goes as murder in my book.   He went by name of Sanders.
    43. (intransitive) To sound; to make a noise.
      I woke up just before the clock went.
    44. (intransitive, colloquial) To urinate or defecate. go
      I really need to go.   Have you managed to go today, Mrs. Miggins?
    45. To apply oneself; to set oneself; to undertake.I'm going to join a sports team.I wish you'd go and get a job.
      • Sir Philip SidneySeeing himself confronted by so many, like a resolute orator, he went not to denial, but to justify his cruel falsehood.
    46. (intransitive, colloquial, usually with "and") To do, especially to do something foolish.
      Why'd you have to go and do that?
    47. (intransitive, cricket, of a wicket) To be lost.
    48. (intransitive, cricket, of a batsman) To be out.
    49. (copula) To become. The adjective that follows usually describes a negative state. go
      You'll go blind.   I went crazy.   After failing as a criminal, he decided to go straight.
    50. (transitive) To move for a particular distance or in a particular fashion.
      We've only gone twenty miles today.   This car can go circles around that one.
    51. (transitive) To take a particular part or share.
      • L'EstrangeThey were to go equal shares in the booty.
    52. Let's go halves on this.
    53. (transitive) To bet or venture (an amount).
      I'll go a ten-spot.   I'll go you a shilling.
    54. (transitive) To yield or weigh.
      • This'll go three tons to the acre, or I'll eat my shirt.
    55. Those babies go five tons apiece.
    56. (transitive) To follow (a course or path).
      • I'm repeating it: I wish that you would go this path up to its end, that you shall find salvation!
    57. Let's go this way for a while.
    58. (transitive) To offer or bid an amount.
      That's as high as I can go.   We could go two fifty.
    59. (transitive) To make (a specified sound). go
      Cats go meow.
    60. (transitive, colloquial) To enjoy.
      I could go a beer right about now.
    61. (transitive, sports) To have a certain record.
      They've gone one for three in this series.   The team is going five in a row.
    62. (transitive, slang) To say (something). Often used in present tense. go
      I go, "As if!" And she was all like, "Whatever!"
    63. (transitive, slang) To think or say to oneself.
      As soon as I did it, I went "that was stupid."
    64. (transitive, Australian slang) To attack.

    Usage notes

    Go, along with do, make, and to a lesser extent other English verbs, is often used as a substitute verb for a verb used previously or one that is implied, in the same way a pronoun substitutes for a noun. For example:

    Chris: Then he goes like this: (Chris waves arms around, implying the phrase means Then he moves his arms like this).

    Related terms

    Full definition of go



    (plural goes)
    1. A turn at something.You’ve been on it long enough—now let your brother have a go.
    2. (gaming) A turn in a game.It’s your go.
    3. An attempt.I’ll give it a go.
    4. An approval to do something, or that which has been approved.We will begin as soon as the boss says it's a go.
    5. An act; the working or operation.
      • 1598, John Marston, Pigmalion, The Metamorphosis of Pigmalions Image and Certaine Satyres, 1856, J. O. Halliwell (editor), The Works of John Marston: Reprinted from the Original Editions, Volume 3, page 211,Let this suffice, that that same happy night,
        So gracious were the goes of marriage ...
    6. (slang, dated) A circumstance or occurrence; an incident.
      • 1839, Charles Dickens, , 1868, The Works of Charles Dickens, Volume 2: Nicholas Nickleby, Martin Chuzzlewit, American Notes, page 306,“Well, this is a pretty go, is this here! An uncommon pretty go!....
    7. (dated) The fashion or mode.quite the go
    8. (dated) Noisy merriment.a high go
    9. (slang, archaic) A glass of spirits.
    10. Power of going or doing; energy; vitality; perseverance.There is no go in him.
    11. (cribbage) The situation where a player cannot play a card which will not carry the aggregate count above thirty-one.


    Derived terms

    terms derived from go (noun)

    Origin 2

    From the Japanese character , though it is usually called 囲碁 in Japanese.



    1. (board game) A strategic board game, originally from China, in which two players (black and white) attempt to control the largest area of the board with their counters.



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