Meaning of “go” in the English Dictionary

"go" in English

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uk /ɡəʊ/ us /ɡoʊ/ present participle going, past tense went, past participle gone

go verb (MOVE/TRAVEL)

A1 [ I usually + adv/prep ] to travel or move to another place:

We went into the house.
I went to Paris last summer. Have you ever been there?
We don't go to the cinema very often these days.
Wouldn't it be quicker to go by train?
Does this train go to Newcastle?
Where do you think you're going? Shouldn't you be at school?

A1 [ I usually + adv/prep ] to be in the process of moving:

Can't we go any faster?
We were going along at about 50 miles an hour.
to go down the road
to go up/down stairs
to go over the bridge
to go through a tunnel
UK figurative I've got a tune going around/round in my head (= I am continually hearing it) and I just can't remember the name of it.

A1 [ I ] to move or travel somewhere in order to do something:

[ + -ing verb ] We go shopping every Friday night.
I've never gone skiing.
They've gone for a walk, but they should be back soon.
[ + to infinitive ] She went to meet Blake at the station.
There's a good film on at the Odeon. Shall we go?
where has/have sth gone?

said when you cannot find something:

Where have my keys gone?

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go verb (LEAVE)

B1 [ I ] to leave a place, especially in order to travel to somewhere else:

Is it midnight already? I really must go/must be going.
She wasn't feeling well, so she went home early.
mainly UK What time does the last train to Bath go?
I'm afraid he'll have to go (= be dismissed from his job) - he's far too inefficient to continue working for us.
This carpet's terribly old and worn out - it really will have to go (= be got rid of).
to go US

If you ask for some food to go at a restaurant, you want it wrapped up so that you can take it away with you instead of eating it in the restaurant:

I'd like a cheeseburger and strawberry milkshake to go, please.
See also

[ I ] polite word for to die:

She went peacefully in her sleep.

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go verb (LEAD)

B1 [ I + adv/prep ] If a road, path, etc. goes in a particular direction, it leads there:

This road goes to Birmingham.
A huge crack went from the top to the bottom of the wall.

[ I usually + adv/prep ] to continue for a particular length:

The tree's roots go down three metres.

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go verb (FUTURE TIME)

be going to do/be sth

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A2 to intend to do or be something in the future:

Are you going to go to Claire's party?
He wants me to mend his shirt for him, but I'm not going to!
I'm going to be a famous pop star when I'm older.

A2 to be certain or expected to happen in the future:

They're going to have a baby in the spring.
There's going to be trouble when Paul finds out about this.
The forecast said it was going to be hot and sunny tomorrow.

go verb (BECOME)

B1 [ L only + adj ] to become:

The idea of going grey doesn't bother me, but I'd hate to go bald.
Her father's going senile/blind/deaf.
If anything goes wrong, you can call our emergency hotline free of charge.
After twelve years of Republican presidents, the US went Democratic in 1992.

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go verb (MOVE BODY)

C2 [ I usually + adv/prep ] to move a part of the body in a particular way or the way that is shown:

Go like this with your hand to show that you're turning left.

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go verb (OPERATE)

C2 [ I ] to operate (in the right way):

Have you any idea why this watch won't go?
Can you help me get my car going?
Our company has been going (= has been in business) for 20 years.

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go verb (TIME)

B2 [ I ] If a period of time goes, it passes:

I had a wonderful weekend but it went very quickly.
Time seems to go faster as you get older.
There's only a week to go before (= until) I get my exam results.

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go verb (BE)

[ L only + adj ] to be or stay in a particular condition, especially an unpleasant one :

In spite of the relief effort, thousands of people continue to go hungry.
Why do so many rapes go unreported?

in comparison with most other things of a particular type, especially when you do not think that type of thing is very good:

It was quite a good film, as horror films go.
I suppose the concert was OK, as these things go.
go to prove/show

to prove that something is true:

Your daughter's attitude only goes to prove how much society has changed over the last 30 years.

go verb (BE EXPRESSED)

B2 [ I not continuous ] to be expressed, sung, or played:

I can never remember how that song goes.
"Doesn't it go something like this?" said Joan, and played the first couple of bars on her guitar.
[ + (that) ] The story goes (= people say) (that) he was fireds after he was caught stealing company property.
A headless ghost walks the castle at night - or so the story goes (= so people say).

go verb (BE SITUATED)

[ I usually + adv/prep, not continuous ] to be put in a particular place, especially as the usual place:

The sofa went against that wall before we had the radiator put in.
I'll put it all away if you tell me where everything goes.

go verb (BE SOLD)

[ I ] to be sold or be available:

The shop is having a closing-down sale - everything must go.
The painting will go to the highest bidder.
I bought some flowers that were going cheap.
"Going... going... gone! (= Sold!)" said the auctioneer, banging down the hammer.


B1 [ I not continuous ] to look or be acceptable or suitable:

That picture would go well on the wall in the living room.
The TV would go nicely in that corner, wouldn't it?
If I wear the orange hat with the blue dress, do you think it will go?
Just remember that I'm the boss and what I say goes (= you have to accept what I say).
My parents don't worry too much about what I am up to, and most of the time anything goes (= I can do what I want).

go verb (BE KNOWN)

[ I usually + adv/prep ] to be known (by a particular name):

He had a scruffy old teddy bear that went by the name of Augustus.
In Britain, this flour usually goes under the name of maize meal.

go verb (DEVELOP)

B1 [ I usually + adv/prep ] to develop or happen:

"How did the interview go?" "It went very well, thanks."
Things have gone badly for him since his business collapsed.

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uk /ɡəʊ/ us /ɡoʊ/ plural goes

go noun (ATTEMPT)

B2 [ C ] US also try an attempt to do something:

I've never done this before but I'll give it a go.
"This jar is impossible to open." "Here, let me have a go."
I want to have a go at finishing my essay tonight.
We can't do the work all in one go (= all at the same time).
make a go of sth UK US usually try

C2 to try to make something succeed, usually by working hard:

She's really making a go of her new antique shop.
I can't see him ever making a go of accountancy.

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B1 [ C ] US usually turn an opportunity to play in a game, or to do or use something:

Hey, it's Ken's go now! You've just had your go.
Please can I have a go (= can I ride) on your bike?
I'll have a go at driving for a while if you're tired.

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(Definition of “go” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"go" in American English

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us /ɡoʊ/ present tense goes, present participle going, past tense went /went/ , past participle gone /ɡɔn, ɡɑn/

go verb (TRAVEL)

[ I ] to move or travel to another place:

Let’s go home now.
Are you going away for your vacation?
He’s going to his country house for the weekend.
We don’t go to the movies much.
You go on (ahead) and I’ll be along in a minute.
Are you planning to go by car or are you flying?
The payroll checks went out (= were sent) a week later than usual.
I’m just going over (= making a visit) to Pete’s for half an hour.
My son is planning to go into (= get a job in) journalism.
Where did my keys go (= I can’t find them)?
A considerable amount of money and effort has gone into (= been used in preparing) this exhibition.
go back

To go back is to return:

When do you go back to school?
go back

To go back is also to have existed since some time in the past:

Their friendship goes back to when they were in college together.
go up also go down

To go up or go down is to increase or be reduced:

My rent is going up 6% this year.
go for

To be going or to go for a particular activity is to move to the place of the activity or to begin to do it:

to go for a walk/swim
Why don’t we go for a drive (= have a ride in a car)?
We’re going shopping at the mall.

[ I ] To have gone to do a particular activity is to have left to do it and not yet returned:

They’ve gone sailing on the lake.

go verb (MOVE TOWARD)

[ I ] to be or continue moving, esp. in a particular way or direction:

We were going (at) about 65 miles an hour.
I had a wonderful weekend but it went awfully quickly.
If you take the bus, you go over the bridge, but the train goes through the tunnel.
There’s still three months to go before he has surgery, but he’s already nervous about it.
The flu is going around right now (= It’s moving from person to person).
I was going up/down the stairs when the phone rang.
He went up to her (= approached her) and asked for her autograph.
On summer evenings we often sat on the porch and watched the sun go down.
go by

To go by is to move past or beyond:

We sat on the shore and watched the sailboats go by.
Several months went by, and still he had no word from her.

go verb (LEAVE)

[ I ] to leave a place, esp. in order to travel to somewhere else:

It’s time to go.
Please close the door when you go.
She wasn’t feeling well, so she went home early (= left early to go home).
She’s gone off with my umbrella (= She took it by accident).
I always go out (= leave my home and travel to another place, esp. for entertainment) on Saturday night.

[ I ] If something is gone, none of it is left:

I can’t believe the milk is gone already.

go verb (LEAD)

[ I always + adv/prep ] (of a road, path, etc.) to lead in a particular direction:

Does I-70 go to Denver?

[ I always + adv/prep ] If something goes a particular length, it is that long:

The well goes down at least 30 feet.

go verb (BECOME)

to become or be in a certain condition:

[ L ] Her father is going blind.
[ L ] If anything goes wrong, you can call our emergency hotline.
[ L ] Because of lack of evidence, the police were forced to let him go free.
[ I ] If you keep applying ice, the swelling will go down (= become smaller).
[ I ] The computer went down (= stopped operating) twice last week.
[ I ] One of these days I’ll have to go on a diet (= start to be on one).
[ I ] I was so exhausted I went to sleep (= started sleeping) immediately.
[ I ] It was feared for a while that the two countries would go to war (= start to fight a war) over this dispute.
[ I ] It wasn’t a bad hospital, as hospitals go (= compared with the usual standard of hospitals), but I still hated being there.

go verb (CHANGE)

[ I always + adv/prep ] to do something to cause a change or create a new condition:

I’d love to come to dinner, but I don’t want you to go to any trouble (= do a lot of work).

go verb (WEAKEN)

[ I ] to become weak or damaged, esp. from use, or to stop working:

Her hearing is starting to go, but otherwise she’s in good shape.

go verb (START)

[ I ] to start doing or using something:

I’ll just connect the printer to the computer and we’ll be ready to go.

go verb (OPERATE)

[ I ] to operate:

My watch was going fine up until a few minutes ago, but then it stopped running.

go verb (MAKE SOUND)

[ I/T ] to produce a noise:

[ I ] Somebody’s car alarm went off at 3 in the morning and woke me up.

go verb (MOVE BODY)

[ I always + adv/prep ] to move a part of the body in a particular way or in the way that is shown:

Try making your foot go backwards and forwards.

go verb (DIVIDE)

[ I ] (of a number) to fit into another number, esp. resulting in a whole number:

Three goes into 12 four times.

go verb (BE SITUATED)

[ I always + adv/prep ] to belong in a particular place, esp. as the usual place:

Tell the moving men that the sofa goes against that wall.

go verb (HAPPEN)

[ I always + adv/prep ] to happen or develop:

The doctor said the operation went well.
What’s going on here (= Explain what is happening)?

[ I always + adv/prep ] If people have something going for them, that thing causes them to have a lot of advantages and to be successful:

They’ve got a happy marriage, great careers, and wonderful children – in fact they’ve got everything going for them.

go verb (BE SOLD)

[ I ] to be sold or be available:

The painting is expected to go for at least a million dollars.

go verb (BE EXPRESSED)

[ I ] to be expressed, sung, or played:

I can never remember how that song goes.

go verb (BE SUITABLE)

[ I ] to be acceptable or suitable:

Do you think my new brown scarf goes with my black coat?

go verb (BE KNOWN)

[ I always + adv/prep ] to be known by a particular name:

He went under the name of Platt, but that was not his real name.

go verb (DEPEND ON)

[ I always + adv/prep ] to have an opinion, decision, or judgment depend on something:

There were no witnesses to the crime, and so far the police don’t have much to go on.

go verb (BE FINAL)

[ I ] to be final; not to be questioned:

In my parentsday, nobody ever argued with their father – whatever he said went.

go verb (PLAY)

[ I ] to do something at a particular time or in a particular order, before or after other people; have a turn:

Who goes next?
noun [ U ] us /ˈɡoʊ·ɪŋ/

It was slow going because of ice on the roads.
noun [ C ] us /ˈɡoʊ·ɪŋ/

There were a lot of comings and goings at the apartment next door.

gonoun [ U ]

us /ɡoʊ/

go noun [ U ] (ENERGY)

the condition of being energetic and active

(Definition of “go” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"go" in Business English

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uk /ɡəʊ/ us going, went, gone

[ I ] to be sold:

The shop is having a closing-down sale - everything must go.

[ I ] to develop or happen in a particular way:

Things have gone badly for him since his business collapsed.

[ I ] to disappear:

650 jobs will go at the shipyard.

[ I ] if money goes on something, it is spent on that thing:

go on sth Most of that money goes on the purchase of equipment.
go for it

informal to do anything you have to in order to get something:

If we want something, then we go for it in the best possible way we know.
go it alone

to do something without other people:

Questions are being asked whether the record label has the stamina to go it alone.
have sth going for you

to have a quality that gives you a lot of advantages or makes it likely you will be successful:

It has everything going for it: a prime city centre site, a successful funding strategy, and a charismatic leader.

(Definition of “go” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)