Green’s Dictionary of Slang

go v.

1. in the context of sexuality.

(a) [17C–18C] to have an orgasm.

(b) [mid-17C+] usu. of a woman, to perform sexual intercourse; usu. in interrog. phr. used between two men, Does she go?

2. [late 17C+] to succeed, to win approval or applause; thus goingest adj., best.

3. in the context of monetary investment.

(a) [mid-18C+] to bet, to wager; thus gone, having lost a bet.

(b) [mid-19C] to bet on; also in fig. use, to trust.

(c) [mid-19C+] to pay for.

4. [mid-19C+] to tolerate, to bear, to put up with.

5. in the context of physical collapse.

(a) [mid-19C+] (US) to be killed; to die.

(b) [1950s] (US prison) to be executed.

(c) [1960s+] (US) to go to prison.

(d) [2000s] to collapse, to fall down.

6. [mid-19C+] to deal with, to find appealing or acceptable, to like or prefer.

7. [late 19C+] (orig. US) to be accepted or carried into effect, to have authority or effectiveness, to be obeyed without question; esp. in phr. what I say goes.

8. [late 19C+] to eat or drink, e.g. I could go a couple of beers.

9. [late 19C+] to match, to get along.

10. [late 19C+] for something to work out in a specific way, esp. of a political contest, e.g. go Labour, go Republican.

11. [20C+] (Aus./US) to attack, verbally or physically.

12. [1920s+] (US) to choose, esp. to become a member of; thus go something.

13. [1920s+] to say, to talk, e.g. I go ‘How are you?’, and he goes ‘Lousy’.

14. [1900s-1940s] (US) to make an effort.

15. [1950s] to characterize, to explain, to make sense of.

In compounds

go-about (n.)

[1910s–30s] (US) a tramp; also attrib.

go-along (n.) (also go-alonger)

1. [early–mid-19C] (UK Und.) a fool [he ‘goes along’ when someone orders him].

2. [mid-19C] a thief.

go-boy (n.) (Can./Irish)

1. [1940s+] a young hoodlum, a juvenile delinquent.

2. [1970s] an escapee, successful or otherwise.

3. see gofer n.

go-’long (n.) [one has no choice but to fig. or lit. go along]

1. [20C+] (US black) consequences, inevitable developments, circumstances; thus be caught in the go-’long, to be a victim of circumstances.

2. [1920s–40s] (US black) the police truck in which arrested people are taken to the local cells.

In phrases

go... (v.)

1. see also separate entries.

2. see also under relevant n. or adj.

go after it (v.)

[2000s] (US black) to smoke marijuana.

go alone (v.)

[early 19C–1900s] to be wary or cautious, to be experienced.

go from the fists (v.) (also go from the shoulders)

[1970s+] (US black) to fight.

go from the Y (v.)

see under Y n.

go in on (v.)

[mid-19C] (US) to attack physically.

go into (v.)

[1950s] to take advantage of, to obtain money from.

go like... (v.)

see separate entry.

go one’s death (v.)

[mid-19C] (US) to do one’s utmost for, to risk one’s all on, to bet to the limit.

go out (v.)

1. to die.

2. see separate entry.

go the whole… (v.)

see separate entry.

go to… (v.)

see also under relevant n. or adj.

have someone going (v.)

[1910s–20s] to excite sexually, to render infatuated.

SE in slang uses

In phrases

don’t (even) go there (also you don’t want to go there)

[1990s+] (orig. US black) a phr. advising someone to avoid a course of action or a particular argument etc; emphasis is on an abstract ‘there’, rather than an actual place.

go backward(s) (v.) [the position of the anus + the usu. siting of the privy at the back of the house]

[18C] to visit an outdoor privy.

go beyond (v.) [‘beyond’ the world one knows]

[mid-19C] (Anglo-Irish) to suffer judicial transportation.

go by hand (v.)

[1920s–50s] (US tramp) to travel on foot (as opposed to train).

go-by-the-ground (n.)

[late 18C–early 19C] a short person.

go by the wall (n.)

[late 16C] a strong ale.

go ham (v.)

2010s US campus to put in maximum effort, lit. go hard as a motherfucker.

go hard in the paint (sfx) [basketball imagery]

[2000s+] (US campus/tee) to put in maximum effort.

go to the ground (v.)

[17C] to defecate.

In exclamations

go girl! (also Y.G.G! you go! you go girl!)

[1990s+] (orig. US black/campus) an excl. of encouragement among young women.

go there!

[1980s] (UK black) an excl. of approval.