Definition of go verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



, went
, gone
/ɡɔn; ɡɑn/
help Been is used as the past participle of go when someone has gone somewhere and come back.


1 [intransitive] to move or travel from one place to another + adverb/prepositionShe went into her room and shut the door behind her.He goes to work by bus.I have to go to Omaha on business.She has gone to China (= is now in China or is on her way there).She has been to China (= she went to China and has now returned).I think you should go to the doctor.Are you going home for Christmas? go to do somethingShe went to see her sister this In spoken English go can be used with and plus another verb to show purpose or to tell someone what to do: I'll go and answer the door. Go and get me a drink! The and is sometimes left out: Go ask your mom!2 [intransitive] go (to something) (with someone) to move or travel, especially with someone else, to a particular place or in order to be present at an eventAre you going to Dave's party?Who else is going?His dog goes everywhere with him.3 [intransitive] to move or travel in a particular way or over a particular distance + adverb/prepositionHe's going too fast. + nounWe had gone about fifty miles when the car broke down.4 [intransitive] go flying, singing, etc. (+ adverb/preposition) to move in a particular way or while doing something elseThe car went skidding off the road into a ditch.She went sobbing up the stairs.She crashed into a waiter and his tray of drinks went flying.


5 [intransitive] to leave one place in order to reach another synonym departI must be going now.It's time to go.Has she gone yet?He's been gone an hour (= he left an hour ago).When does the train go?6 [intransitive] go on something to leave a place and do something differentto go on a tour/a trip/a cruiseRichard has gone on vacation and won't be back for two weeks.


7 [intransitive] go to something to visit or attend a place for a particular purposeI have to go to the hospital for an go to prison (= to be sent there as punishment for a crime)Do you go to church (= regularly attend church services)?

swimming/fishing/jogging, etc.

8 [intransitive] go for something to leave a place or travel to a place in order to take part in an activity or a sportto go for a walk/drive/swim/runLet's go for a drink (= at a bar) after work.I have to go shopping this afternoon.We're going sailing on Saturday.

be sent

9 [intransitive] (+ adverb/preposition) to be sent or passed somewhereI want this memo to go to all managers.


10 [intransitive] go (from…) to… to lead or extend from one place to anotherI want a rope that will go from the top of the roof to the ground.Where does this road go?


11 [intransitive] + adverb/preposition to have as a usual or correct position; to be placedThis dictionary goes on the top shelf.Where do you want the piano to go (= be put)?12 [intransitive] will/would not go (in/into something) used to say that something does/did not fit into a particular place or spaceMy clothes won't all go in that one suitcase.He tried to push his hand through the gap but it wouldn't go.


13 [intransitive] if a number will go into another number, it is contained in that number an exact number of times (+ adjective)How many times will 3 go into 12? 4 times. go into something7 won't go into 15.


14 [intransitive] + adverb/preposition used to talk about how well or badly something makes progress or succeeds“How did your interview go?” “It went very well, thank you.”Did everything go smoothly?How's it going (= is your life enjoyable, successful, etc. at the moment)?The way things are going the company will be bankrupt by the end of the year.


15 [intransitive] used in many expressions to show that someone or something has reached a particular state/is no longer in a particular state go to/into somethingShe went to sleep.The boy went into a coma. go out of somethingThat color has gone out of fashion.16 linking verb + adjective to become different in a particular way, especially a bad wayto go bald/blind/crazy/bankrupt, etc.Her hair is going gray.The milk had gone sour.The children went wild with excitement. note at become17 [intransitive] + adjective to live or move around in a particular stateto go naked/barefootShe cannot bear the thought of children going hungry.18 [intransitive] go unnoticed, unreported, etc. to not be noticed, reported, etc.Police are worried that many crimes go unreported.


19 [intransitive, transitive] used to talk about what tune or words a song or poem has or what happens in a story + adverb/prepositionHow does that song go?I forget how the next line goes. go that…The story goes that she's been married five times.


20 [intransitive] to make a particular sound or movement + nounThe gun went “bang.” + adverb/prepositionShe went like this with her hand.


21 [transitive] + speech (informal) (used when telling a story) to sayI asked “How much?” and he goes, “Fifty” and I go, “Fifty? You must be joking!”


22 [intransitive] to start an activityI'll say “One, two, three, go!” as a signal for you to start.As soon as he gets here we're ready to go.


23 [intransitive] if a machine goes, it worksThis fan doesn't go.


24 [intransitive] to stop existing; to be lost or stolen synonym disappearHas your headache gone yet?

be thrown out

25 [intransitive] someone/something must/has to/can go used to talk about wanting to get rid of someone or somethingThe old sofa will have to go.He's useless—he'll have to go.

not work

26 [intransitive] to get worse; to become damaged or stop working correctlyHer sight is beginning to go.His mind is going (= he is losing his mental powers).I was driving home when my brakes went.


27 [intransitive] to die. People say go to avoid saying die.You can't take your money with you when you go.


28 [intransitive] when money goes, it is spent or used for somethingI don't know where the money goes! go on somethingMost of her allowance goes on clothes. go to do somethingThe money will go to finance a new community center.29 [intransitive] go (to someone) (for something) to be soldWe won't let the house go for less than $200,000.There was usually some bread going cheap (= being sold cheaply) at the end of the day.30 [intransitive] + adverb/preposition to be willing to pay a particular amount of money for somethingHe offered $5,000 for the car and I don't think he'll go any higher.I'll go to $1,000 but that's my limit.


31 [intransitive] go to do something to help; to play a part in doing somethingThis all goes to prove my theory.It (= what has just happened) just goes to show you can't always tell how people are going to react.

be available

32 be going [intransitive] (informal) to be availableThere just aren't any jobs going in this area.


33 [intransitive] + adverb/preposition used to talk about how quickly or slowly time seems to passHasn't the time gone quickly?Half an hour went past while we were sitting there.

use toilet

34 [intransitive] (informal) to use a toiletDo you need to go, Billy?
Most idioms containing go are at the entries for the nouns and adjectives in the idioms. For example, go it alone is at alone. 

anything goes

(informal) anything that someone says or does is accepted or allowed, however shocking or unusual it may beAlmost anything goes these days.anything goes

as people, things, etc. go

in comparison with the average person, thing, etc.
As teachers go, he's not people, things, etc. go

be going to do something

1 used to show what someone intends to do in the futureWe're going to buy a house after we save enough money.2 used to show that something is likely to happen very soon or in the futureI think I'm going to faint.If the drought continues there's going to be a going to do

don't go doing something

(informal) used to tell or warn someone not to do somethingDon't go getting yourself into trouble.don't go doing

go all out for something


go all out to do something

to make a very great effort to get something or do something
go all out for

go and do something

used to show that you are angry or annoyed that someone has done something stupid
Trust him to go and mess things up!Why did you have to go and upset your mother like that?You've really gone and done it (= done something very stupid) now!go and do

going on...

approaching a particular age or amount
My nephew is three going on four so he has a lot of energy.I was going on sixteen when we met in school.going on...

go on

(old-fashioned) used to express the fact that you do not believe something, or that you disapprove of somethingGo on—you're not forty. You don't look a day over thirty.go on

(have) a lot, nothing, etc. going for you

(to have) many/not many advantages
You're young, intelligent, attractive—you have a lot going for you!a lot, nothing, etc. going for youhave a lot, nothing, etc. going for you

a no go

(informal) not possible or allowedIf the bank won't lend us the money it's a no go, I'm afraid.a no go

not (even) go there

(informal) used to say that you do not want to talk about something in any more detail because you do not even want to think about itDon't ask me to choose. I don't want to go there.“There was a problem with his parents, wasn't there?” “Don't even go there!”not go therenot even go there

to go

1 remaining; still leftI only have one final exam to go.2 (informal) if you buy cooked food to go in a restaurant or store, you buy it to take away and eat somewhere elseTwo pizzas to go

what goes around comes around

(saying) the way someone behaves toward other people will affect the way those people behave toward them in the futurewhat goes around comes around

where does someone go from here?

used to ask what action someone should take, especially in order to improve the difficult situation that they are in
where does go from here?

who goes there?

used by a soldier who is guarding a place to order someone to say who they are
Halt, who goes there?who goes there?

go about something

to continue to do something; to keep busy with somethingDespite the threat of war, people went about their business as usual.go about

go about something

to start working on something synonym tackleYou're not going about the job in the right way. go doing somethingHow should I go about finding a job?go about

go after someone

to chase or follow someoneHe went after the burglars.She left the room in tears so I went after her.go after

go after someone/something

to try to get someone or somethingWe're both going after the same job.go after

go against someone

to not be in someone's favor or not to their advantageThe jury's verdict went against him.go against

go against someone/something

to resist or oppose someone or somethingHe would not go against his parents' wishes.go against

go against something

to be opposed to something; to not fit or agree with somethingPaying for a private room in the hospital goes against her principles.His thinking goes against all logic.go against

go ahead

1 to travel in front of other people in your group and arrive before themI'll go ahead and tell them you're on the way.2 to happen; to be done synonym proceedThe building of the new bridge will go ahead as planned. related noun go-aheadgo ahead

go ahead (with something)

to begin to do something, especially when someone has given permission or has expressed doubts or opposition“May I start now?” “Yes, go ahead.”The government intends to go ahead with major tax cuts. related noun go-aheadgo aheadgo ahead with

go along

1 to continue with an activityHe made up the story as he went along.2 to make progress; to developThings are going along nicely.go along

go along with someone/something

to agree with someone or somethingI don't go along with her views on health insurance.go along with

go around

1 to spin or turnto go around in a circle2 to be enough for everyone to have one or someThere aren't enough chairs to go around.3 to often be in a particular state or behave in a particular wayShe often goes around barefoot. go doing somethingIt's unprofessional to go around criticizing your colleagues.4 to spread from person to personThere's a rumor going around that they're having an affair.go around

go around (to…)

to visit someone or a place that is nearI went around to the post office.I'm going around to my sister's (= her house) later.go aroundgo around to

go at someone

to attack someoneThey went at each other furiously.go at

go at something

to make great efforts to do something; to work hard at somethingThey went at the job as if their lives depended on it.go at

go away

1 to leave a person or placeJust go away!Go away and think about it, then let me know.2 to leave home for a period of time, especially for a vacationThey went away for a few days.I'm going away on business.3 to disappearThe smell still hasn't gone away.go away

go back

if two people go back a period of time (usually a long time), they have known each other for that timeDave and I go back twenty years.go back

go back (to…)

to return to a placeShe doesn't want to go back to her husband (= to live with him again).This toaster will have to go back (= be taken back to the store where it was bought) —it's faulty.Of course we want to go back someday—it's our country, our real home.go backgo back to

go back (to something)

1 to consider something that happened or was said at an earlier timeCan I go back to what you said at the beginning of the meeting?Once you have made this decision, there will be no going back (= you will not be able to change your mind).2 to have existed since a particular time or for a particular periodTheir family goes back to the time of the Pilgrim Fathers.go backgo back to

go back on something

to fail to keep a promise; to change your mind about somethingHe never goes back on his word (= never fails to do what he has said he will do).go back on

go back to something

to start doing something again that you had stopped doingThe kids go back to school next week. [+ -ing]She's decided to go back to teaching.go back to

go before

to exist or happen in an earlier timeThe present crisis is worse than any that have gone before.go before

go before someone/something

to be presented to someone or something for discussion, decision, or judgmentMy application goes before the planning committee next week.go before

go beyond something

to be more than something synonym exceedThis year's sales figures go beyond all our expectations (= are much better than we thought they would be).go beyond

go by

(of time) to passThings will get easier as time goes by.The weeks went slowly by.go by

go by something

to be guided by something; to form an opinion from somethingThat's a good rule to go by.If past experience is anything to go by, they'll be late.go by

go down

1 to fall to the groundShe tripped and went down with a thump.2 if a ship, etc.goes down, it disappears below the water synonym sink3 when the sun or moon goes down, it disappears below the horizon synonym set4 if food or drink will/will not go down, it is easy/difficult to swallowShe tried to swallow the medicine but it wouldn't go down.5 if the price of something, the temperature, etc.goes down, it becomes lower synonym fallThe price of oil is going down.Oil is going down in price. antonym go up6 (informal) to get worse in qualityThe neighborhood has gone down a lot recently.7 (computing) to stop working temporarilyThe system is going down in ten minutes.8 (informal) to happenYou really don't know what's going down?go down

go down (in something)

to be written in something; to be recorded or remembered in somethingIt all goes down (= she writes it all) in her notebook.He will go down in history as a great statesman.go downgo down in

go down (to someone)

to be defeated by someone, especially in a game or competitionItaly went down to Brazil by three goals to one.go downgo down to

go down (to…)

to go from one place to another, especially somewhere nearby or further southShe went down to Florida to see her parents. antonym go upgo downgo down to

go down (with someone)

to be received in a particular way by someoneThe suggestion didn't go down very well with her boss.go downgo down with

go for someone

to attack someoneShe went for him with a knife.go for

go for someone/something

1 to apply to someone or somethingWhat I said about Peter goes for you, too.They have a high level of unemployment—but the same goes for many other countries.2 to go to a place and bring someone or something backShe's gone for some milk.3 to be attracted by someone or something; to like or prefer someone or somethingShe goes for tall slim men.I don't really go for modern art.go for

go for something

1 to choose somethingI think I'll go for the fruit salad.2 to put a lot of effort into something, so that you get or achieve somethingGo for it, John! You know you can beat him.It sounds like a great idea. Go for it!go for

go in

1 to enter a room, house, etc.Let's go in, it's getting cold.2 if the sun or moon goes in, it disappears behind a cloudgo in

go in for something

to have something as an interest or a hobbyShe doesn't go in for team sports.go in for

go in with someone

to join someone in starting a businessMy brothers are opening a garage and they want me to go in with them.go in with

go in on something (with someone) (for someone)

to share the cost of somethingDo you want to go in on a wedding present for Doug and Cheryl with us?go in ongo in on with for

go into something

1 (of a vehicle) to hit something violentlyThe car skidded and went into a tree.2 (of a vehicle or driver) to start moving in a particular wayThe plane went into a nosedive.3 to join an organization, especially in order to have a career in itto go into the Army/the priesthoodto go into teaching/medicine/politics4 to begin to do something or behave in a particular wayHe went into a long explanation of the affair.5 to examine something carefullyWe need to go into the question of costs.6 (of money, time, effort, etc.) to be spent on something or used to do somethingMore government money needs to go into the project. [+ -ing]Years of work went into researching the book.go into

go off

1 to leave a place, especially in order to do somethingShe went off to get a drink.2 to be fired; to explodeThe gun went off by accident.The bomb went off in a crowded street.3 if an alarm, etc.goes off, it makes a sudden loud noise4 if a light, the electricity, etc.goes off, it stops workingSuddenly the lights went off.The heat goes off at night. antonym go on5 to happen in a particular wayThe meeting went off well.go off

go off (on someone)

(informal) to suddenly become angry with someoneHe suddenly went off and started yelling.go offgo off on

go off with someone

to leave your husband, wife, partner, etc. in order to have a relationship with someone elseHe went off with his best friend's wife.go off with

go off with something

to take away from a place something that does not belong to youHe went off with $10,000 of the company's money.go off with

go on

1 when a performer goes on, they begin their performanceShe doesn't go on until Act 2.2 (in sports) to join a team as a substitute during a gameMiller went on for Rose just before halftime.3 when a light, the electricity, etc. goes on, it starts to workSuddenly all the lights went on. antonym go off4 (of time) to passShe became more and more talkative as the evening went on.5 usually be going on to happenWhat's going on here?6 if a situation goes on, it continues without changingThis cannot be allowed to go on.How much longer will this hot weather go on for?We can't go on like this—we seem to be always arguing.7 to continue speaking, after a short pauseShe hesitated for a moment and then went on. + speech“You know,” he went on, “I think my brother could help you.”8 used to encourage someone to do somethingGo on! Have another piece of cake!Go on—jump!go on

go on (ahead)

to travel in front of someone elseYou go on ahead—I'll catch up with you in a few minutes.go ongo on ahead

go on something

(used in negative sentences and questions) to base an opinion or a judgment on somethingThe police don't have much to go on.go on

go on (about someone/something)

(informal) to talk about someone or something for a long time, especially in a boring or complaining wayHe went on and on about how poor he was.She does go on sometimes!go ongo on about

go on (with something)

to continue an activity, especially after a pause or breakThat's enough for now—let's go on with it tomorrow.go ongo on with

go on doing something

to continue an activity without stoppingHe said nothing but just went on working.go on doing

go on to something

to pass from one item to the nextLet's go on to the next item on the agenda.go on to

go on to do something

to do something after completing something elseThe book goes on to describe his experiences in the army.After her early teaching career she went on to become a doctor.go on to do

go out

1 to leave your house to go to a social eventShe goes out a lot. go doing somethingHe goes out partying most weekends.2 when the tide goes out, it moves away from the land synonym ebb, antonym come in3 to be sentHave the invitations gone out yet?4 when news or information goes out, it is announced or published go that…Word went out that the director had resigned5 if a fire or light goes out, it stops burning or shininggo out

go out (of something)

to be no longer fashionable or generally usedThose skirts went out years ago.go outgo out of

go out of someone/something

(of a quality or a feeling) to be no longer present in someone or something; to disappear from someone or somethingAll the fight seemed to go out of him.The heat has gone out of the argument.go out of

go out to someone

if your thoughts, etc. go out to someone, you think about them in a kind way and hope that the difficult situation that they are in will get bettergo out to

go out (with someone)

(especially of young people) to spend time with someone and have a romantic or sexual relationship with themTom has been going out with Lucy for six weeks.How long have Tom and Lucy been going out?go outgo out with

go over something

1 to examine or check something carefullyGo over your work before you hand it in.2 to study something carefully, especially by repeating itHe went over the events of the day in his mind (= thought about them carefully).go over

go over (to…)

to move from one place to another, especially when this means crossing something such as a room, town, or cityHe went over and shook hands with his guests.Many Irish people went over to America during the famine.go overgo over to

go over to someone/something

(in broadcasting) to change to a different person or place for the next part of a broadcastWe are now going over to the news desk for an important announcement.go over to

go over to something

to change from one side, opinion, habit, etc. to anotherTwo Republicans have gone over to the Democrats.go over to

go over (with someone)

to be received in a particular way by someoneThe news of her promotion went over well with her colleagues.go overgo over with

go through

if a law, contract, etc.goes through, it is officially accepted or completedThe deal did not go through.go through

go through something

1 to look at or examine something carefully, especially in order to find somethingI always start the day by going through my e-mail.She went through the company's accounts, looking for evidence of fraud.2 to study or consider something in detail, especially by repeating itLet's go through the arguments again.Could we go through (= practice) Act 2 once more?3 to perform a series of actions; to follow a method or procedureCertain formalities have to be gone through before you can emigrate.4 to experience or suffer somethingShe's been going through a bad time recently.He's amazingly cheerful considering all he's had to go through.5 to use up or finish something completelyThe boys went through two whole loaves of bread.go through

go through with something

to do what is necessary to complete a course of action, especially one that is difficult or unpleasantShe decided not to go through with (= not to have) the operation.go through with

go to someone/something

to be given to someone or somethingProceeds from the concert will go to charity.All her property went to her eldest son (= when she died).go to

go together

= go with somethinggo together

go toward something

to be used as part of the payment for somethingThe money will go toward a new car. go doing somethingPart of my paycheck went toward buying new speakers.go toward

go under

1 (of something that floats) to sink below the surface2 (informal) to become bankrupt (= be unable to pay what you owe)The company will go under unless business improves.go under

go up

1 to be builtNew office buildings are going up everywhere.2 when the curtain across the stage in a theater goes up, it is raised or opened3 to be destroyed by fire or an explosionThe whole building went up in flames.4 if the price of something, the temperature, etc.goes up, it becomes higher synonym riseThe price of cigarettes is going up.Cigarettes are going up in price. antonym go downgo up

go up (to…)

to go from one place to another, especially further northWhen are you next going up to Seattle?We went up to Montreal last weekend. antonym go downgo upgo up to

go with someone

(old-fashioned, informal) to have a romantic relationship with someonego with

go with something

1 to be included with or as part of somethingA car goes with the job.2 to agree to accept something, for example a plan or an offerYou're offering $500? I think we can go with that.3 (also go (together)) to combine well with something synonym matchDoes this jacket go with this skirt?Those colors don't really go together.4 (also go together) to exist at the same time or in the same place as something; to be found togetherDisease often goes with poverty.Disease and poverty often go together.go with

go without (something)

to manage without something that you usually have or needThere wasn't time for breakfast, so I had to go without.How long can a human being go (= survive) without sleep? go doing somethingShe went without eating for three days.go without
Usage noteUsage note: returncome back go back get back turn backThese words all mean to come or go back from one place to another.return to come or go back from one place to another: I waited a long time for him to return.note Return is slightly more formal than the other words in this group, and is used more often in writing or formal speech.come back to return note Come back is usually used from the point of view of the person or place that someone returns to: Come back and visit again soon!go back to return to the place you recently or originally came from or that you have been to before note Go back is usually used from the point of view of the person who is returning: Do you ever want to go back to China?get back to arrive back somewhere, especially at your home or the place where you are staying: What time did you get back last night?turn back to return the way that you came, especially because something stops you from continuing: The weather got so bad that we had to turn back.patternsto return/come back/go back/get back to/from/with somethingto return/come back/go back/get back/turn back againto return/come back/go back/get back home/to workto return/come back/get back safely