go

1 of 4

verb

went ˈwent How to pronounce go (audio) ; gone ˈgȯn How to pronounce go (audio)
 also  ˈgän
; going ˈgō-iŋ How to pronounce go (audio)
ˈgȯ(-)iŋ;
 "going to" in sense 13 is often  ˈgō-ə-nə,
 or  ˈgȯ-nə,
or
ˈgə-nə How to pronounce go (audio)
; goes ˈgōz How to pronounce go (audio)

intransitive verb

1
a
: to move on a course : proceed
go slow
went by train
compare stop
b
: to travel to a place
goes to the office every morning
went to the gas station before heading home
c
: to travel to and stay in a place for a period of time
went to Paris for a month
plan to go to their beach house for the summer
2
: to move out of or away from a place expressed or implied : leave, depart
went from school to the party
going away for vacation
3
a
: to take a certain course or follow a certain procedure
reports go through channels to the president
b
: to pass by means of a process like journeying
the message went by wire
c
: to proceed without delay and often in a thoughtless or reckless manner
used especially to intensify a complementary verb
why did you go and spoil itgo jump in a lake
d(1)
: to extend from point to point or in a certain direction
the road goes to the lake
(2)
: to give access : lead
that door goes to the cellar
4
obsolete : walk
5
: to be habitually in a certain state or condition
go bareheaded
6
a
: to become lost, consumed, or spent
our time has gone
b
: die
c
: to slip away : elapse
the evening went quickly
d
: to come to be given up or discarded
this clutter has to go
e
: to pass by sale
went for a good price
f
: to become impaired or weakened
his hearing started to go
g
: to give way especially under great force or pressure : break
the roof went
7
a
: to move along in a specified manner : fare
everything was going well
b
: to be in general or on an average
cheap, as yachts go
c
: to be or become especially as the result of a contest
the election went in her favor
d
: to turn out well : succeed
worked hard to make the party go
8
a
: to apply oneself
went to work on the problem
b
: to put or subject oneself
went to unnecessary expense
c
chiefly Southern US and Midland US : intend
I didn't go to do it
9
a
: to have recourse to another for corroboration, vindication, or decision : resort
go to court to recover damages
b
: to be guided, governed, or regulated
We were just going by what we'd been told.
The police tried to locate the culprit, but they didn't have much to go on.
: to act in agreement or cooperation
… the echo of my girlfriend's voice comes into my head, saying, "Whatever happens, just go with it."Jason Schwartzman
10
a
: to begin an action or motion
here goes
b
: to maintain or perform a certain action or motion
still going strong
c
: to function in the proper or expected manner : run
the motor won't go
11
: to be known
goes by an alias
12
a
: to act in accordance or harmony
a good rule to go by
b
: to come to be determined
dreams go by contraries
c
: to come to be applied or appropriated
all proceeds go to charity
d
: to pass by award, assignment, or lot
the prize went to a sophomore
e(1)
: to contribute to an end or result
qualities that go to make a hero
(2)
: to be of advantage
has a lot going for her
13
: to be about, intending, or expecting something
used in a progressive tense before an infinitive
is going to leave town
14
a
: extend
his knowledge fails to go very deep
b
: to come or arrive at a certain state or condition
go to sleep
" … I finally went to pieces and couldn't stop crying for two hours. … "Gwendoline Christie
see also go into sense 2 (below)
c
: to come to be : become
the tire went flat
often used to express conversion to specified values or a specified state
gone Hollywoodgo condo
d
: to undergo a change
leaves go from green to red
15
a
: to be in phrasing or expression : read
as the story goes
b
: to be capable of being sung or played
the tune goes like this
16
: to be compatible, suitable, or becoming : harmonize
the tie goes with his suit
17
a
: to be capable of passing, extending, or being contained or inserted
will these clothes go in your suitcase
b
: to have a usual or proper place or position : belong
these books go on the top shelf
18
: to have a tendency : conduce
it goes to show
19
a(1)
: to carry authority
what she said went
(2)
: to be acceptable, satisfactory, or adequate
anything goes here
b
: to hold true : be valid
the rule goes for you, too
20
: to empty the bladder or bowels

transitive verb

1
: to proceed along or according to : follow
if I were going his way
went the conventional route
2
: to travel through or along : traverse
went the length of the street
3
a
: to make a wager of : bet
go a dollar on the outcome
b
: to make an offer of : bid
willing to go $50 for the clock
4
a
: to assume the function or obligation of
promised to go bail for his friend
b
: to participate to the extent of
decided to go halves on the winnings
5
: yield, weigh
this fish goes ten pounds
6
a
: to put up with : tolerate
couldn't go the noise
b
: afford
can't go the price
c
: enjoy
I could go a soda
7
a
: to cause (a characteristic sound) to occur
the gun went bang
b
: say
used chiefly in oral narration of speech
… I started trying to write a novel. I spent about six months on it. And at a certain point I go, "You know, I don't want to finish this. …"Quentin Tarantino
8
: to engage in
don't go telling everyone
9
of a sports team or player : to have a record of
went 11–0 last season
goer noun

see also to go

go

2 of 4

noun (1)

plural goes
1
: the act or manner of going
2
: the height of fashion : rage
elegant shawls labeled … "quite the go"R. S. Surtees
3
: an often unexpected turn of affairs : occurrence
4
: the quantity used or furnished at one time
you can obtain a go of brandy for sixpenceC. B. Fairbanks
5
6
a
: a turn in an activity (such as a game)
it's your go
b
: attempt, try
have a go at painting
7
: a spell of activity
finished the job at one go
8
: success
made a go of the business
9
: permission to proceed : go-ahead
gave the astronauts a go for another orbit

go

3 of 4

adjective

: functioning properly : being in good and ready condition
declared all systems go

go

4 of 4

noun (2)

often capitalized
: a game played between two players who alternately place black and white stones on a board checkered by 19 vertical lines and 19 horizontal lines in an attempt to enclose the larger area on the board
Phrases
go about
: to set about : to begin to do
go after
: to try to get : seek
go all the way
1
: to enter into complete agreement
2
: to engage in sexual intercourse
go at
1
a
: to make an attack on
b
: to make an approach to
went at the problem from different angles
2
go back on
1
: abandon
She went back on her word.
2
: betray
3
: fail
was afraid that his mind might go back on him
go begging
: to be in little demand
go by the board
1
: to be carried over a ship's side
2
: to be discarded
Budget cuts meant that some projects had to go by the board.
go easy
: to be sparing
go easy with the sugar
go easy on the kid
go fly a kite
: to stop being an annoyance or disturbance
told him to go fly a kite
go for
1
: to pass for or serve as
Silvered glass once went for mirrors.
2
: to try to secure or attain (something, such as a goal)
go for the prize
3
a
: favor, accept
cannot go for your idea
b
: to have an interest in or liking for
She went for him in a big way.Chandler Brossard
4
: attack, assail
my dog went for the intruder
go for broke
: to put forth all one's strength or resources
went for broke to qualify for the Olympics
go great guns
: to achieve great success
The movie was going great guns worldwide.
go hang
: to cease to be of interest or concern
go into
1
: to be contained in (something)
5 goes into 60 12 times
2
a
: to begin to be in (a specified state or condition)
The fugitive went into hiding.
"Scott went into a tizzy," she said.Lucinda Franks
I went into a deep funk over the nasty things I've written …P. J. O'Rourke
Her body began jerking violently, and she went into a coma.Patrick Rogers et al.
Seven months later Wall Street crashed and the economy went into freefall.Bill Bryson
b
: to begin (a specified kind of movement)
The plane went into a tailspin.
… the car hit a patch of ice and went into a skid …Ron Fimrite
3
: to enter (something) as a profession or occupation
She decided to go into law/medicine.
He went into business for himself.
4
: to subject (something) to examination or discussion
The auditors went into every aspect of the company's operations.
I'll explain later—I don't have the time to go into it right now.
She told me briefly what had happened, but didn't go into too much detail.
go it
1
: to behave in a reckless, excited, or impromptu manner
2
: to proceed in a rapid or furious manner
3
: to conduct one's affairs : act
insists on going it alone
go missing
chiefly British : to become lost : disappear
go one better go over
1
: examine
went over the test results
2
a
: repeat
b
: study, review
went over his notes before taking the test
go places
: to be on the way to success
go public
: to make a public disclosure
go steady
: to date one person exclusively and frequently
go through
1
: to subject to thorough examination, consideration, or study
went through the list of items one by one
2
: experience, undergo
had to go through quite an ordeal
3
: carry out, perform
went through his work in a daze
go to bat for
: to give active support or assistance to : defend, champion
go to bed with
: to have sexual intercourse with
go to one's head
1
: to cause one to become confused, excited, or dizzy
The wine went to his head.
2
: to cause one to become conceited or overconfident
Fame went to her head.
go to pieces
: to become shattered (as in nerves or health)
go to the mat
: to make an all-out combative effort (as in support of a position)
go to town
1
: to work or act rapidly or efficiently
They went to town on decorating the building.
2
: to be markedly successful
The team really went to town, winning 14–0.
3
: to indulge oneself excessively
He went to town on a big platter of beef and potatoes.
go with
1
: date
2
: choose sense 2
went with an iron off the tee
go without saying
: to be self-evident
go with the flow no go
: to no avail : useless
Attempts to get the computer running have been no go.
on the go
: constantly or restlessly active
a housewife and mother who's always on the go

Example Sentences

Verb He went to the window and looked out at the yard. She goes to the office every morning and comes home in the evening. I'm tired. Let's go home. She went downstairs to the kitchen. The train goes from New York to Chicago. I went with my family to Rome last year. We're going to Iowa for a week. The car was going too fast. How much farther do we have to go? She went a long way to see him. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
The concept makes sense: design and develop the pieces in Germany, where people know about high-speed handling, then go build them in South Korea, where people know about cheap manufacture. Kevin Smith, Car and Driver, 4 Mar. 2023 However, the cases increasingly being diagnosed in people in their 20s or 30s will still likely go unnoticed until symptoms develop. Reynolds Lewis, NBC News, 4 Mar. 2023 The good news is that basic hygiene will go a long way. Erin Prater, Fortune Well, 4 Mar. 2023 Keep your fine Italian loafers in the closet when inclement weather threatens and go for these solid and waterproof leather wingtips. Men's Health, 3 Mar. 2023 My colleague Todd Martens visited a steampunk chocolate emporium staffed with robots (well, humans in robot costumes) and explored the history of establishments that go all in on a motif. Ryan Fonseca, Los Angeles Times, 3 Mar. 2023 Choose from two colors, both of which are classic and can go with just about any exterior color scheme. Brittany Vanderbill, Better Homes & Gardens, 3 Mar. 2023 The victim is now 19, and the money will go into a trust fund overseen by a guardian and established to pay for her ongoing treatment, care and counseling. John Lynch, Arkansas Online, 3 Mar. 2023 The legislation will go into effect later this summer. Abigail Adcox, Washington Examiner, 2 Mar. 2023
Noun
Click here to access the printable version of today’s CNN 10 transcript CNN 10 serves a growing audience interested in compact on-demand news broadcasts ideal for explanation seekers on the go or in the classroom. CNN, 5 Mar. 2023 Side access makes grabbing your camera on the go an easy feat as well. Lauren Breedlove, Travel + Leisure, 1 Mar. 2023 This vacuum has a 16-foot cord to reach every corner of your vehicle and is compact enough to store under seats or in the trunk for cleanups on the go. Megan Lasher, Popular Mechanics, 28 Feb. 2023 Better Buzz Vanilla Coffee Creamer Shots provide a convenient boost on the go, with all the delicious, creamy flavors of real vanilla. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 28 Feb. 2023 From topping avocado toast for the easiest-ever egg recipe to snacking on the go, the incredible ingredient comes in handy. Becca Miller, Good Housekeeping, 28 Feb. 2023 User-friendly and powerful enough to run programs like Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop, this portable device will be your go-to for work and play on the go. Karl Klockars, PCMAG, 28 Feb. 2023 Lake & Skye’s 11 11 fragrance bottles up these light, refreshing notes—with a hint of musk–to evoke those memories on the go. Nerisha Penrose, ELLE, 27 Feb. 2023 In homes where meat and fish were too expensive to procure, pancakes served as culinary staples that could be eaten on the go or taken back to work. Grace Linden, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Feb. 2023
Adjective
If the Cowboys opt for the poison preferred recently by Carolina, Evans — Tampa Bay’s career receiving yardage leader — could conduct a go-route clinic. Joey Knight, Dallas News, 14 Jan. 2023 This is my new go-spring treat for sunny afternoons and porch-chair traveling. Kim Sunée, Anchorage Daily News, 22 Apr. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'go.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Verb, Noun (1), and Adjective

Middle English gon, from Old English gān; akin to Old High German gān to go, Greek kichanein to reach, attain

Noun (2)

Japanese

First Known Use

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Noun (1)

1635, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1961, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1840, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of go was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near go

Cite this Entry

“Go.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/go. Accessed 27 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition

go

1 of 3 verb
went ˈwent How to pronounce go (audio) ; gone ˈgȯn How to pronounce go (audio)
 also  ˈgän
; going ˈgō-iŋ How to pronounce go (audio) ; goes ˈgōz How to pronounce go (audio)
1
: to move on a course : proceed
go slow
go by train
2
a
: to move away from one point to or toward another : leave, depart
b
: follow entry 1 sense 4, traverse
go the whole route
go my way
3
a
: to pass by a process like journeying
the message went by wire
the prize went to the winner
b
: extend sense 4, run
our land goes to the river
c
: lead entry 1 sense 1d
that door goes to the cellar
4
: to be habitually in a certain state
goes bareheaded
5
a
: to become lost, consumed, or spent
funds going for research
b
: to slip away : elapse
where did the time go
c
: to pass by sale
went for a good price
d
: to become damaged or weakened
my hearing started to go
e
: to give way under force or pressure : break
the dam went
6
a
: to be in general or on an average
cheap, as yachts go
b
: to become especially as the result of a contest
decision went against us
7
: to put or subject oneself
go to great expense
8
: to make use of to settle a dispute : resort
go to court to recover damages
9
a
: to begin or continue an action or motion
go when the light turns
drums going strong
b
: to function properly
get the motor to go
10
: to be known
goes by a nickname
11
: to be or act in agreement
a good rule to go by
12
: to contribute to a result
qualities that go to make a hero
13
a
: to be about, intending, or expecting
is going to leave town
b
: to come or arrive at a certain state or condition
go to sleep
c
: to come to be
the tire went flat
14
a
: to be able to be placed
these clothes will go in your suitcase
b
: to have a usual or proper place
these books go on the top shelf
c
: to be capable of being contained in another quantity
5 goes into 60 12 times
15
: to be likely : tend
goes to show they can be trusted
16
: to be acceptable or satisfactory
any kind of dress goes
17
: bet entry 2 sense 1, bid
willing to go $50
18
a
: to be as expressed
as the story goes
b
: to be capable of being sung or played
the tune goes like this
goer noun

go

2 of 3 noun
plural goes
1
: the height of fashion
that dress is all the go
2
: energy sense 1, vigor
full of go
3
a
: attempt entry 2 sense 1, try
have a go at it
b
: a spell of activity
did it in one go
c
: success sense 1c
make a go of a business

go

3 of 3 adjective
: in good and ready condition
all systems are go

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