Origin of go

before 900; Middle English gon, Old English gān; cognate with Old High German gēn, German gehen Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for go off (1 of 4)

go off

verb (intr)

British Dictionary definitions for go off (2 of 4)


/ military /

abbreviation for

general order

British Dictionary definitions for go off (3 of 4)


/ (ɡəʊ) /

verb goes, going, went or gone (mainly intr)

noun plural goes


(postpositive) informal functioning properly and ready for action: esp used in astronauticsall systems are go

Word Origin for go

Old English gān; related to Old High German gēn, Greek kikhanein to reach, Sanskrit jahāti he forsakes

British Dictionary definitions for go off (4 of 4)




/ (ɡəʊ) /


a game for two players in which stones are placed on a board marked with a grid, the object being to capture territory on the board

Word Origin for go

from Japanese
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with go off

go off


Explode, detonate; also, make noise, sound, especially abruptly. For example, I heard the gun go off, or The sirens went off at noon. This expression developed in the late 1500s and gave rise about 1700 to the related go off half-cocked, now meaning “to act prematurely” but originally referring to the slipping of a gun's hammer so that the gun fires (goes off) unexpectedly.


Leave, depart, especially suddenly, as in Don't go off mad, or They went off without saying goodbye. [c. 1600]


Keep to the expected plan or course of events, succeed, as in The project went off smoothly. [Second half of 1700s]


Deteriorate in quality, as in This milk seems to have gone off. [Late 1600s]


Die. Shakespeare used this sense in Macbeth (5:9): “I would the friends we missed were safely arrived.—Some must go off.”


Experience orgasm. D.H. Lawrence used this slangy sense in Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928): “You couldn't go off at the same time....” This usage is probably rare today. Also see get off, def. 8.


go off on a tangent. See under on a tangent.


go off one's head. See off one's head. Also see subsequent idioms beginning with go off.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.