go on

Idioms & Phrases

go on

  1. Happen, take place, as in What's going on here? [Early 1700s]

  2. Continue, as in The show must go on. [Late 1500s]

  3. Keep on doing; also, proceed, as in He went on talking, or She may go on to become a partner. [Second half of 1600s]

  4. Act, behave, especially badly. For example, Don't go on like that; stop kicking the dog. [Second half of 1700s]

  5. Also, go on and on; run on. Talk volubly, chatter, especially tiresomely. For example, How she does go on! The first usage dates from the mid-1800s; run on appeared in Nicholas Udall's Ralph Roister Doister (c. 1553): "Yet your tongue can run on."

  6. An interjection expressing disbelief, surprise, or the like, as in Go on, you must be joking! [Late 1800s]

  7. Approach; see going on.

  8. Use as a starting point or as evidence, as in The investigator doesn't have much to go on in this case. [Mid-1900s]

  9. go on something. Begin something, as in go on line, meaning "start to use a computer," or go on a binge, meaning "begin to overdo, especially drink or eat too much."

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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