The word ‘go’ can mean many different things. As a verb, the meaning involves movement from one place to another or to leave.

For example:

  • I’m going to Lapland on Sunday. (movement)
  • Go away! You’re being annoying. (leave)


Go is an irregular verb. The past tense is went and the past participle is gone.

idiomatic phrasal verbs

Did you know phrasal verbs are sometimes used in idioms? See if you can spot any. If you don’t know any phrasal verbs with ‘go’, click here to learn them.

idioms list with ‘go’

  • easy come, easy go – you aren’t bothered about losing something (especially money)
    e.g. My girlfriend dumped me, easy come, easy go.
  • go ape shit – become angry and violent
    e.g. My mum is going to go ape shit when she finds out I spilt wine on the sofa.
  • go at something hammer and tongs – emphatically/energetically/violently
    e.g. The cat and dog are going at it hammer and tongs, one of them will end up hurt.
  • go back a long way/go way back  – have known each other/been friends for a long time
    e.g. Chris and Chester go back a long way, they’ll soon make friends again.
  • go bananas – become crazy
    e.g. The dogs will go bananas when Rick comes home. They haven’t seen him for 3 months.
  • go belly up – go spectacularly wrong
    e.g. – My new business venture went belly up in the first 6 months. I’m back working in a factory.
  • go berserk – go crazy
    e.g. My little sister drew all over the freshly painted walls. My mum went absolutely berserk.
  • go bust – become bankrupt
    e.g. So many shops on the high street are going bust. The rent is too high.
  • go cold turkey – completely stop taking a substance
    e.g. I’ve quit smoking. It was easy, I just went cold turkey.
  • go down a storm – greatly received by the audience
    e.g. That Malibu punch you made last night went down a storm.
  • go down the drain – fail, disappear, be destroyed
    e.g. My marriage went down the drain a long time ago.
  • go downhill – deteriorate
    e.g. Grandpa is rapidly going downhill. You had better go to the hospital straight away.
  • go Dutch – split the cost equally (usually a meal)
    e.g. I insisted we go Dutch, but he paid in the end.
  • go for broke – put all your effort/resources into one thing in the hope of great success
    e.g. Rangers are going for broke in the final 15 minutes. They desperately need a draw.
  • go for the jugular – attack someone where it will hurt them the most
    e.g. Marie wanted full custody, so she went for the jugular and brought up Scott’s drug addiction.
  • go full circle – return to the original situation/circumstance where you first started
    e.g. Terry’s career is going full circle. He’s about to start managing his first ever club again.
  • go hard or go home – put in all your effort or don’t bother
    e.g. I’ve put all my savings into my new business. It’s go hard or go home.
  • go in one ear and out the other – something is heard then forgotten
    e.g. Teenagers are useless. Anything I tell my two goes in one ear and out the other.
  • go into overdrive – start working very quickly
    e.g. We’ve got two books being released this week. Our printers have gone into overdrive.
  • go nuts – become crazy/angry
    e.g. My aunt went nuts so the men in white coats took her away.
  • go off the rails – become crazy, wild, unhinged, uncontrollable
    e.g. My son has started hanging around with older boys. I’m afraid he will go off the rails.
  • go out of business – a company stops trading and closes
    e.g. If you continue to give away free products, I’ll go out of business.
  • go out of fashion – become unfashionable, stop being popular
    e.g. I wish skinny jeans would go out of fashion, they don’t suit me.
  • go out on a limb – take a risk for something you believe in
    e.g. The lawyer went out on a limb for the defendant as he knew he wasn’t guilty.
  • go out the window – disappear
    e.g. As soon as I’ve had a drink, my common sense goes out the window.
  • go out with someone – date/have a relationship with someone I’m not going out with TJ anymore. I’m going out with Sam now.
  • go overboard – be too excessive/extreme
    e.g. You’ve bought 16 bottles of wine for 5 people? You always go overboard.
  • go pear shaped – go wrong, fail
    e.g. I should have been going to Italy tomorrow, but it’s all gone pear shaped.
  • go red – your face turns red with embarrassment
    e.g. Paul went red when he forgot his lines in front of the whole school.
  • go round in circles – do something for a long time without progressing
    e.g. I can’t find a solution, I’m just going round in circles.
  • go round the houses – a very long complicated way of reaching a conclusion
    e.g. I hate Mr. Oxley’s classes. He always goes round the houses and makes it difficult.
  • go separate ways – end a romantic/business/professional relationship
    e.g. I think it’s best if they go their separate ways. They don’t gel as business partners.
  • go spare – get very angry
    e.g. Leave your wet clothes in the porch. Mum will go spare if you get the new carpet dirty.
  • go steady with someone – date one person regularly
    e.g. My son has grown up, he’s going steady with a girl and has a job.
  • go the distance – persist until the end without quitting
    e.g. He’s a great tennis player. I think he’ll go the distance.
  • go the extra mile – make an extra effort to achieve something
    e.g. Lauren is a good nurse. She always goes the extra mile to make patients feel at ease.
  • go the whole hog – be thorough, complete, extravagant
    e.g. I’ve been suspended from school. I may as well go the whole hog and get expelled.
  • go through a rough patch – experience difficulty in a business/relationship
    e.g. We went through a rough patch but now our relationship is stronger than ever.
  • go through the roof – prices/figures get extremely high or suddenly get mad/angry/excited
    e.g. Petrol prices have gone through the roof recently. I need a car with a smaller engine.
  • go tits-up – go wrong
    e.g. We were winning until the final 10 minutes then it all went tits-up. They scored 3.
  • go to one’s head – something makes you feel more important than others
    e.g. Now Richard is in charge, I’m afraid the power will go to his head.
  • go to pot – deteriorate
    e.g. My nan’s garden is going to pot, she’s too weak to cut the grass now.
  • go to seed – deteriorate, look unhealthy/unattractive/shabby
    e.g. I’m too old to do the garden, it’s gone to seed.
  • go to the dogs – deteriorate, turn bad
    e.g. My town is going to the dogs. The crime rate has risen dramatically in recent years.
  • go to the mattresses – go to war using ruthless tactics
    e.g. My aunt and uncle are going to the mattresses over custody of their kids.
  • go to town on – do something with enthusiasm/energy/speed/in excess
    e.g. I went to town on the garden, it’s now ready for summer.
  • go under the knife – have an operation/surgery (usually cosmetic)
    e.g. My knee surgery is tomorrow. I’m a little scared about going under the knife.
  • go weak at the knees – emotion/exhaustion makes you lose strength and feel unstable
    e.g. I went weak at the knees after having my belly button pierced. I nearly fainted.
  • go with the flow – not resist, follow the choice of most of the group, easy going
    e.g. I don`t mind which club we go to, I’m easy, I’ll just go with the flow.
  • go without a hitch – happen without any problems
    e.g. The CEO came today, luckily the whole day went without a hitch.
  • go-getter – an ambitious person who is determined to succeed
    e.g. I don’t think I stand a chance. All the other candidates were go-getters.
  • going places – a person who is likely to become successful
    e.g. Henry has so many business ideas. He’s going places.
  • happy-go-lucky – a happy/cheerful/carefree person
    e.g. He was such a happy-go-lucky boy. Something changed since he started big school.
  • have a go at someone – start shouting at someone because they have done something wrong
    e.g. The teacher had a go at me for throwing paper aeroplanes in class.
  • on the go – constantly moving/working
    e.g. I had lunch on the go today, I was too busy to stop and relax.
  • watch the world go by – enjoy watching people pass by
    e.g. I’m going to sit in a coffee shop and watch the world go by.

Let’s see these idioms with pictures and meaning using real-life scenarios.

verb phrases - go
go idioms - easy come, easy go
go expressions - go ape shit
verb phrase - go at something hammer and tongs
Idioms with verbs - GO - go back a long way
Idioms with verbs - GO - go bananas
Idioms with verbs - GO - go belly up
Idioms with verbs - GO - go berserk
Idioms with verbs - GO - go bust
Idioms with verbs - GO - go cold turkey
verb phrase - go down a storm
verb phrase - go down the drain
go idioms - go downhill
Idioms with verbs - GO - go Dutch
verb phrase - go for broke
verb phrase - go for the jugular
Idioms with verbs - GO - go full circle
Idioms with verbs - GO - go getter
go expressions - go hard or go home
go expressions - go hard or go home
verb phrase - go in one ear and out the other
verb phrase - go into overdrive
Idioms with verbs - GO - go nuts
verb phrase - go off the rails
Idioms with verbs - GO - go out of business
Idioms with verbs - GO - go out of fashion
go idioms - go out on a limb
Idioms with verbs - GO - go out with someone
Idioms with verbs - GO - go out the window
Idioms with verbs - GO - go overboard
go expressions - go pear shaped
go idioms - go red
verb phrase - go round in circles
verb phrase - go round the houses
Idioms with verbs - GO - go separate ways
Idioms with verbs - GO - go spare
verb phrase - go steady with someone
Idioms with verbs - GO - go the distance
Idioms with verbs - GO - go the extra mile
Idioms with verbs - GO - go the whole hog
verb phrase - go through a rough patch
verb phrase - go through the roof
verb phrase - go tits-up
verb phrase - go to one’s head
verb phrase - go to pot
go expressions - go to seed
verb phrase - go to the dogs
verb phrase - go to the mattresses
verb phrase - go to town on
verb phrase - go under the knife
verb phrase - go weak at the knees
verb phrase - go with the flow
verb phrase - go without a hitch
Idioms with verbs - GO - happy go lucky
verb phrase - have a go at someone
Idioms with verbs - GO - on the go
verb phrase - watch the world go by


Hey, did you know the verb ‘go’ has many phrasal verbs. Since you like idioms and phrases, you obviously want to improve your fluency and speak like a native.

Am I right?


I thought you might like to learn the phrasal verbs with ‘go’ too. They are very common in informal English and great to know/be able to understand if you happen to be speaking to a native. We use them all the time, like literally ALL the time.